Saturday 30 January 2016


#‎OTD‬ 1969, Thursday. Rooftop, Apple Studios, London.
Recording Don't Let Me Down (amongst others).
"The Beatles had wild discussions of a Let It Be climax live performance anywhere from the QE2 to the Pyramids, but in the end they decided on what became their infamous final gig - a surprise performance on the roof of the Apple Records building at Savile Row." 
In a 42-minute set, the Beatles were heard playing nine takes of five songs before the Metropolitan Police Service asked them to reduce the volume. Footage from the performance was later used in the 1970 documentary film Let It Be.


Written by John as an expression of his love for Yoko Ono, Don´t Let Me Down is heartfelt and passionate. As John told Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, “When it gets down to it, when you’re drowning, you don’t say, ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.”
This is not the version of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ heard on the single but the version from the Let It Be… Naked album – a composite of both versions that were performed on the roof of Apple in Savile Row:


During filming on the roof of Apple, two days after the recording of the track, the band played ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ right after doing two versions of 'Get Back’ and it led straight into 'I’ve Got A Feeling’. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was once again directing a Beatles’ shoot. He and Paul met regularly at the tail end of 1968, while Hogg was directing The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, to discuss the filming of The Beatles’ session in January. By the time that fateful Thursday came around, the penultimate day of January would be the last time The Beatles ever played together in front of any kind of audience.

Although the concert was unannounced, the Beatles had planned on performing live during their Get Back sessions earlier in January.It is uncertain who had the idea for a rooftop concert, but the suggestion was conceived just days before the actual event.The group Jefferson Airplane had performed at lunchtime on the roof of the Schuyler Hotel in Manhattan and had been filmed by Jean-Luc Godard the month before; it is unknown whether or not the Beatles were aware of this. George brought in Preston as an additional musician, in the hope that a talented outside observer would encourage the band to be tight and focused. Ringo remembered:

"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'".
The audio was recorded onto two eight-track recorders in the basement of Apple by engineer Alan Parsons,and film director Michael Lindsay-Hogg brought in a camera crew to capture several angles of the performance—including reactions from people on the street.
When the Beatles first started playing, there was some confusion from spectators watching five stories below, many of whom were on their lunch break. As the news of the event spread, crowds of onlookers began to congregate in the streets and on the roofs of local buildings. While most responded positively to the concert, the Metropolitan Police Service grew concerned about noise and traffic issues.Apple employees initially refused to let police inside, ultimately reconsidering when threatened with arrest.
As police ascended to the roof, the Beatles realised that the concert would eventually be shut down, but continued to play for several more minutes.Paul improvised the lyrics of his song "Get Back" to reflect the situation, "You've been playing on the roofs again, and you know your Momma doesn't like it, she's gonna have you arrested!" The concert came to an end with the conclusion of "Get Back", with John saying, "I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition."

Set list

The rooftop concert consisted of nine takes of five songs, including:
  • "Get Back" (three takes)
  • "Don't Let Me Down" (two takes)
  • "I've Got a Feeling" (two takes)
  • "One After 909" (one take)
  • "Dig a Pony" (one take)

The Beatles Rooftop Concert 1969 London (HD) from lordcris on Vimeo.

The Beatles 1 Video Collection is Available on AMAZON:


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