The Beatles Rooftop Concert began at about lunchtime, on January 30, 1969 where many passersby stopped to listen. The musicians included the Beatles and Billy Preston. The last concert that the Beatles had given together as a group was on August 29, 1966. The weather was cold and windy and it took everything that the Beatles had to try to keep warm. John Lennon borrowed Yoko Ono’s fur coat, while Ringo borrowed his wife, Maureen’s red raincoat. It was to be the Beatles’ last live performance for an audience, not counting the reels of live tape that were still be filmed for the film, “Let It Be.” The concert took place on the roof of the Apple Corps. building at Apple building 3 Savile Row, London.
Songs Performed at the Beatles Rooftop Concert:
- Get Back (five versions) (McCartney)
- I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Lennon)
- Don’t Let Me Down (two versions) (Lennon)
- I’ve Got A Feeling (McCartney)
- One After 909 (Lennon-McCartney)
- Danny Boy (Traditional)
- Dig A Pony (two versions) (Lennon)
- God Save The Queen (Traditional)
- A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody (Irving Berlin)
There were many reasons for the rooftop concert atop the Apple building, but the significant purpose was to have an ending for their documentary film, “Let It Be” (also known early as the Get Back Sessions). According to George Harrison,
We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there. It was a nice little social study.
We set up a camera in the Apple reception area, behind a window so nobody could see it, and we filmed people coming in. The police and everybody came in saying, ‘You can’t do that! You’ve got to stop.’
Ringo also had something to say about the concert:
There was a plan to play live somewhere. We were wondering where we could go – ‘Oh, the Palladium or the Sahara.’ But we would have had to take all the stuff, so we decided, ‘Let’s get up on the roof.’ We had Mal and Neil set the equipment up on the roof, and we did those tracks. I remember it was cold and windy and damp, but all the people looking out from offices were really enjoying it.
At the end of the set, John Lennon spoke his now infamous words:
“I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.”
As a self-proclaimed Beatlemaniac since the age of three, I’ve got to say that the Beatles Rooftop Concert must have been so exciting for Beatles fans – even more exciting than the reserved British crowd seemed to exude. Beatlemaniacs scream for the Beatles, Beatles fans just watch.
“The Beatles Rooftop Concert” was written by Brenne Meirowitz. Copyright Brenne Meirowitz 2014. All Rights Reserved.