Live: 3 Saville Row (Rooftop Concert)
On January 30th 1969, The Beatles performed together publicly for the last time on top of Apple Headquarters, at 3 Saville Row, London.
John, Paul, George and Ringo were joined by friend and keyboardist Billy Preston for an impromptu concert lasting 42 minutes. The Beatles and Preston played nine takes of five songs before being approached by the Metropolitan Police Service to turn the volume down.
It was so cold on the Apple rooftop that John Lennon was forced to borrow Yoko's fur coat, while Ringo Starr wore his wife Maureen's jacket.
Footage from the rooftop concert was later used in the Let It Be documentary, while several of the performances were released on subsequent Beatles' albums including: Let It Be, Anthology 3 and Let It Be... Naked.
"We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there. It was a nice little social study.
We set up a camera in the Apple reception area, behind a window so nobody could see it, and we filmed people coming in. The police and everybody came in saying, 'You can't do that! You've got to stop.'" - George Harrison
"It was good fun, actually. We had to set the mikes up and get a show together. I remember seeing Vicki Wickham of Ready, Steady, Go! (there's a name to conjure with) on the opposite roof, for some reason, with the street between us. She and a couple of friends sat there, and then the secretaries from the lawyers' offices next door came out on their roof.
We decided to go through all the stuff we'd been rehearsing and record it. If we got a good take on it then that would be the recording; if not, we'd use one of the earlier takes that we'd done downstairs in the basement. It was really good fun because it was outdoors, which was unusual for us. We hadn't played outdoors for a long time.
It was a very strange location because there was no audience except for Vicki Wickham and a few others. So we were playing virtually to nothing - to the sky, which was quite nice. They filmed downstairs in the street - and there were a lot of city gents looking up: 'What's that noise?'" - Paul McCartney
"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.' We had Mal and Neil set the equipment up on the roof, and we did those tracks. I remember it was cold and windy and damp, but all the people looking out from offices were really enjoying it." - Ringo Starr
- John Lennon – lead/backing vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – lead/backing vocals, bass guitar
- George Harrison – backing vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Billy Preston – electric piano
- 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)
"In the end it started to filter up from Mal that the police were complaining. We said, 'We're not stopping.' He said, The police are going to arrest you.' 'Good end to the film. Let them do it. Great! That's an end: "Beatles Busted on Rooftop Gig".'
We kept going to the bitter end and, as I say, it was quite enjoyable. I had my little Hofner bass - very light, very enjoyable to play. In the end the policeman, Number 503 of the Greater Westminster Council, made his way round the back: 'You have to stop!' We said, Make him pull us off. This is a demo, man!
I think they pulled the plug, and that was the end of the film." - Paul McCartney