Beatles Apple rooftop Concert Anniversary
The concert will take place on Friday, January 30, at No. 3 Savile Row, London W1, and the band will be trying to get as close to the original timings, starting the concert around 12:00.
The final live performance by The Beatles, the original unannounced rooftop concert was recorded and filmed, for the Let It Be film, on January 30, 1969, on top of the Apple Records office in London. The full performances included Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, I’ve Got A Feeling, One After 909, Dig A Pony, and God Save The Queen, which later surfaced on a German bootleg.
The Beatles played until the concert was broken up by the London police, saying they were causing a ‘distraction’ to the local businesses and making too much noise.
According to the source, celebrities, including some from the world of the Beatles, are expected to be in attendance at the anniversary event.
On a personal note, I can say that I was outside no. 3, Savile Row on the 23d of December, and the building seemed to undergo refurbishments. So it’s probably good timing to have this anniversary concert while no company is busy on the inside. Let’s just hope the neighbours and the police are a bit more “with it” this time.
A similar concert was held on the 30th anniversary in 1999 by tribute band The Bootleg Beatles.
About the original Beatles rooftop concert:
Much was commercially used from the 42 minutes on the roof, in the Let It Be film and on the Get Back (unissued) and Let It Be albums. What follows is a detailed description of the full rooftop repertoire, as preserved on EMI’s eight-track tapes, with a guide to how it was made available.
1. Setting-up. Michael Lindsay-Hogg shouts, “All cameras, take one!”. The first song is a rehearsal of Get Back, the end of which is greeted with fairly polite applause which clearly reminds Paul of a cricket match, so he steps back to the microphone and mutters something about Ted Dexter (Sussex and England player of the time). John says, “We’ve had a request from Martin Luther.”
2. Another version of Get Back. (The Let It Be film has a well-matched edit of these first two Get Back versions.) At the end of the song John says “Had a request for Daisy, Morris and Tommy.”
3. Don’t Let Me Down (Let It Be film), straight into…
4. I’ve Got A Feeling (Let It Be film and LP), with John saying at the end, “Oh, my soul… [applause]… so hard”. (George sings a little on I’ve Got A Feeling; he is otherwise vocally silent during the rooftop performance.)
5. The One After 909, ending with John sarcastically reciting a line of the 1913 standard Danny Boy. (Let It Be film and LP, Get Back LP and Let It Be…Naked LP.)
6. Dig A Pony, with a false start (“one, two, three, hold it [John blows nose] one, two, three”). Ends with John saying “Thank you brothers… hands too cold to play the chords.” (Let It Be film and LP, although for the latter producer Phil Spector edited out the song’s opening and closing “All I want is” vocal lines. A different mix of the same take is presented on Let It Be…Naked.) The eight-track tape also has a brief rehearsal of the song before it began, and John asking for the words. In the film an assistant can be seen kneeling before him with the lyrics attached to a clipboard.
7. Second engineer Alan Parsons has changed tapes, the first one being full. While waiting, the Beatles and Billy Preston have strummed through a quick version of the national anthem, God Save The Queen. The new tape catches a few seconds of this, but it is neither released on record nor seen in the film.
8. I’ve Got A Feeling, second rooftop version. (Not seen in the film, but Let It Be…Naked uses parts of this performance and parts of the other performance of the same song to create a new version.)
9. Don’t Let Me Down, second rooftop version. (Not released on record or seen in the film), straight into…
10. Get Back, the third rooftop version, somewhat distracted owing to police presence, seeking to bring the show to a close. The song almost breaks down but lurches to a finish, with Paul ad-libbing “You’ve been playing on the roofs again, and you know your Momma doesn’t like it, she’s gonna have you arrested!” At the end Paul acknowledges the fervent applause and cheering from Ringo’s wife Maureen with “Thanks, Mo” and then John, having stepped away from the microphone, returns to add, somewhat hammily, “I’d like to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition!” (Paul and John’s comments, but not this Get Back song, were included on the unreleased Get Back LP. The Let It Be LP employs a skilful crossfade from the 28 January “single” version of Get Back to these rooftop ad-libs, implying that the song itself was from the roof performance. The Let It Be film is the only publicly available true recording, with the lurching version of Get Back and the closing ad-libs.)
Listen to the Beatles’ Original Rooftop Concert on this podcast from Norwegian Wood Radio.
Links to all the wogblog posts about the Concert at Savile Row Anniversary: