Video Du Jour: The Beatles
On this day in January, 44 years ago, The Beatles climbed to the rooftop of Apple Studios in London to give what would be their last public live performance.
The unannounced live show was a bit of a stunt, and an improvised ending to the documentary movie they were filming at the time, Let It Be. The movie was to be a fly-on-the-wall look at the Fabs working in the studio, cranking out songs for the planned Get Back album. What it turned out to be was a look at the world’s most famous rock band deteriorating in front of our eyes.
The rooftop show was a temporarily happy ending – the short set included “Get Back,” with Billy Preston on keyboards, “Don’t Let Me Down,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “One After 909,” a snippet of “Danny Boy,” “Dig A Pony,” then finally another run-through of “Get Back.”
We all know what happened: the cops came up and shut ‘em down for making too much noise in the middle of a busy work day. And John Lennon’s signoff “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition” neatly capped the era for the Beatles.
That quote appeared at the end of the Let It Be album from 1970, released after the group had already broken up. But in reality, the 1969 rooftop concert wasn’t the Beatles’ last work. They eventually got together in the spring and summer of that year to record what would become Abbey Road, arguably their best album.
YouTube: The 1969 rooftop concert (Part 1)
YouTube: The 1969 rooftop concert (Part 2)