Sunday 30 January 2022


On 30 January 1969, the Beatles performed an unannounced concert from the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters at 3 Savile Row, within central London’s office and fashion district. Joined by keyboardist Billy Preston, the band played a 42-minute set before the Metropolitan Police asked them to reduce the volume.

Other than those in earshot of Apple Corps headquarters, no one anywhere else had any idea what was about to transpire on what was clearly a very chilly Thursday afternoon in the heart of London.

While the Beatles were being filmed as they were recording songs which would eventually become the Let It Be album, they wanted to finish the movie with a live concert and they decided on the rooftop, five stories above street level.

10 cameras were used to shoot the show, five were on the Apple rooftop; one was positioned on a roof across the street; three were on ground level outside the building to capture the public reaction; and one was hidden in the reception lobby at 3 Savile Row. 

One of those officers was London Metropolitan PC Ray Dagg who was 19 at the time. To his colleagues he was known as Police Constable 574C but to the legions of fans who have now watched Peter Jackson’s documentary, he’s the London cop who pulled the plug on the last live gig of one of the greatest bands in history.

As luck would have it, Dagg, who had been on the job for six months mostly waving traffic, walked into the police station that day and…“The sergeant said to me: ‘Before you go anywhere on your beat go and shut that noise down because it’s not just the noise, it’s the people in the street, thousands,’” recalled Dagg. The sergeant also said fans had gathered on neighboring rooftops to get a glimpse of the Beatles and it was dangerous. Imagine! You’re 19 and your one job is to shut down the greatest rock group of all time!

As Dagg told, once on the rooftop there was an exchange with the road manager that no one else could hear. “I said, ‘Right that’s it, I’ve been very patient I’ve been trying to accommodate you but you show no sign of stopping – tell the four of them they’re under arrest,’” he recalls.

What the Beatles and their entourage likely didn’t know at the time, according to Dagg, is that police had no power of arrest on private property for the offenses they were committing on the rooftop. “So it would have meant arresting them on private property, taking them outside, “ he explained, “and then I’d have gotten into a lot of trouble, a huge amount of trouble if I had turned up at the station with the Beatles in tow…wrongfully arresting them.”

Thankfully, PC Dagg didn’t follow through with his bluff that day and, as a result, music fans across the globe have a visual record of one of the greatest moments in music history to watch over and over.

The songs performed by The Beatles on the Apple rooftop:

    ‘Get Back’ (rehearsal)
    ‘Get Back’ (take 1)
    ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ (instrumental excerpt)
    ‘Get Back’ (take 2)
    ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (take 1)
    ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ (take 1)
    ‘One After 909’ (rehearsal)
    ‘One After 909’
    ‘Danny Boy’ (excerpt)
    ‘Dig A Pony’ (rehearsal)
    ‘Dig A Pony’
    ‘God Save The Queen’ (jam)
    ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ (take 2)
    ‘A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody’
    ‘Get Back’ (false start)
    ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (take 2)
    ‘Get Back’ (take 3)















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