January 30 – Beatles Got Back To Their Roots Then Left The Building

To borrow from another popular group of the day, The Doors, “this is the end.” Or almost for the 1960s and for the decade’s musical kings, The Beatles.

If you happened to be in London this day in 1969, around Seville Row, and looked up, you would have seen the Fab Four playing a 40-minute concert up on the roof of their non-descript five-storey Apple Records office. It was the first time they’d played together in public for over two years and would turn out to be their last public performance. They were still doing well commercially, with the “White Album” selling huge quantities but critics were starting to question their creativity and direction and the band had gotten to the point they could barely stand each other. They had an idea to use the song “Get Back” as a nucleus for a straight-ahead, live rock album but their time together working on that was according to George Harrison “the low of all-time” and he actually quit the band for several days before being cajoled back with the help of Billy Preston (who is the only non-Beatle to ever get credited as a co-performer on one of their songs, “Get Back.”) Plans to perform the show on a cruise ship or at the Egyptian pyramids fell through, resulting in them donning fur coats and playing the set in 45-degree windy weather on their roof.

Fans looking for the building  will be disappointed to find that Apple Records headquarters are now an Abercrombie and Fitch store. They won’t be disappointed to find that “Don’t Let Me Down”, a popular new song they performed in the set that wasn’t on Let It Be (unlike “Get Back”) is now readily available online and on Beatles compilation albums. Nor will they be displeased there’s a documentary on the band’s final days, called Get Back, due out this year.


10 thoughts on “January 30 – Beatles Got Back To Their Roots Then Left The Building

  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    You know I think the reason the footage from the new one is happy is when they started at Twickenham studios they were miserable…when they moved to the Apple building everything perked up and brightened. I think that first week is the reason people think the whole session was tense…. Come to think of it…you can tell a cloud was lifted when they moved there in the original Let It Be film. Everyone seemed to be happy.

    Twickenham was a vast studio and they were in the middle of it and it was cold and empty. Location location location…it can make a difference…and Billy Preston.
    I can’t wait for the movie. I would go now and wear three masks to see it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You may be right… the footage in that sneak preview looks surprisingly upbeat. Perhaps they had resigned themselves to being done as a band and couldn’t bother with fighting, just look back on the good? I don’t know. Definitely looking forward to that film

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Well I just put that together…here is the rub Dave…they put together plans AFTER Abbey Road for another album…they said it was going to be four songs to Lennon, four to McCartney, and 4 to Harrison…Paul didn’t like that. He thought it was too much like the military. All of this is on a 40 minute tape that you can listen to….it is interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Even when the wheels were falling off there must have been a decent desire to get up on a roof and play together. it would have been all too easy for one of ’em to just say ‘screw this’ and stay in the warm. So a little of the old camaraderie must have still flickered. Like Max I look forward to the new footage Peter Jackson will air.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That should be a good movie… I want to see it too. Yes, you’re right… I suppose they were like the (rare) divorcing couples you come across that can’t stand to be together anymore but still halfways like each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hanspostcard

    I’ve been there- actually from down on the street there isn’t much to see anyway- you just look up- and yes- they were on the roof playing… now I wouldn’t have minded being able to go up ON the roof…. It’s too bad that The Beatles best concert performances were before Beatlemania. I would love to go back to the Cavern in the early 60’s…. love the roof top concert though-they were able to perform without all the hysteria. Can’t wait to see the new Peter Jackson doc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it should be a good one ! the rooftop seemed a good place for them to wrap up …kind of symbolic and free to the lucky masses going by but without the hysteria that would have accompanied a publicized one from a ground level stage.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: May 1 – Beatles Say ‘Hello Goodbye’ To UK Crowds – A Sound Day

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