The Beatles: Rooftop concert in 1969
By January 1969, it was obvious that the Beatles were on the verge of breaking up. They were recording in the studio at the Apple headquarters and wondered where to have a live – and final – concert.
Various venues were suggested including the Sahara Desert and the Cavern Club in Liverpool where their careers had started.
But eventually they decided to simply move upstairs – to the roof.
The resulting concert, which lasted less than three quarters of an hour, was filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and subsequently used in the film, Get Back. In fact, when most people are asked about the concert, Get Back is the song they remember the most.
But to me, the one in the video below shows the group enjoying themselves. Take a look and see what I mean. No-one is sure exactly when the song was written but it was certainly a Lennon composition from before their fame – more than likely from the late fifties.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney grin at each other – something that hadn’t been seen for ages. George Harrison is doing the famous leg movement that he used to do in the early days of the group. It’s as though they’d suddenly shed the dramas and arguments of recent years and were simply enjoying music again – just as they did in the old days.
There’s even an early Beatles ‘woooooo’. And they lark about at the end.
You’ll see in the video that the police had been called and it was they who ultimately broke up the concert. The band members were secretly been hoping that they would be dragged away but they were disappointed 🙂
It’s also great to see the fans who are clambering over rooftops, hanging out of windows and watching from balconies. The crowd that gathered in the streets mostly looked baffled – understandably.
Why did the Beatles split up?
In reality, there were lots of reasons. Nothing lasts forever and it was time to move on. Privately though, the other group members blamed Lennon’s obsession with Yoko Ono. Paul had recently met Linda and was in a happy relationship. Ringo was married to Maureen – George was married to Patti Boyd. And the group had always had a rule that wives and girlfriends kept away when they were recording or working.
By the time of the rooftop concert, John was ignoring this completely. Yoko was always present during recording sessions. At one time, when she had a bad back, he had moved a bed into the studio so that Yoko could be there.
However, whatever the reason, the rooftop concert was a moment in history.
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