January 30 – You Saw The Movie, 53 Years Ago Was The Real Thing

To borrow from another popular group of the day, The Doors, “this is the end.” Or almost for the 1960s 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. Or, more likely, you probably saw them do that in last year’s well-reviewed documentary, Get Back

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. Behind the scenes, Yoko Ono’s presence with John was irritating the others and the death of manager Brian Epstein had left them feeling a little adrift.

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 with co-writing one of their originals, “Get Back.”) Plans to perform a show to record and introduce new material at on a cruise ship or at an African ampitheatre in the desert fell through, resulting in them donning fur coats and playing the set in 45-degree windy weather on their roof. As well as “Get Back” they introduced songs “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Dig A Pony” to the sometimes confused people below. They perhaps might have played longer but London bobbies (police) were trying to get them to shut down due to noise complaints…and given how cold it was, they didn’t seem to complain that much!

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. And recently, the entire concert has been released to streaming services.

10 thoughts on “January 30 – You Saw The Movie, 53 Years Ago Was The Real Thing

  1. I still have the 2nd half of the 3rd episode to watch. One positive thing that came out of my watching: after awhile Yoko faded into the woodwork 🙂 I saw a youtube of the cop who shut it down and that idiot showed no remorse. I wish they would have done the show in a big park, but I’m glad they taped it at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing that surprised me about the police is how young the first 2 officers were yet they gave no indication of knowing who The Beatles were. Oblivious or just all-professional, play no favorites, I don’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    They went to the place with the less trouble…the roof. They are also showing them in IMAX in some places…the entire rooftop concert.
    I do wish they would have went somewhere more controlled…not in the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s