On a cold day in January 1969, The Beatles, who hadn’t played live since 1966, took to the rooftop of the headquarters of Apple Records, located at 3 Savile Row, in central London. And there they played an impromptu last gig, much to the delight of Londoners on nearby rooftops … and to the chagrin of the police.
At the time, The Beatles were recording their album, Let It Be, and the rooftop show let them run through various tracks from that last effort. Songs played during the set include “Get Back,” where the Beatles were accompanied by Billy Preston on the keyboards, and “Don’t Let Me Down,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “One After 909,” and “Danny Boy.” And finally “Dig A Pony” and another version of “Get Back.”
Famously, The Beatles’ live legacy ends with the police shutting down the show (it was a noise violation, you know?) and John Lennon uttering the immortal words, “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.” That’s going out in style…
Footnote: It’s not clear which band played the first rooftop concert, but one thing is for sure. Jefferson Airplane played their own rooftop gig on December 7, 1968, and Jean-Luc Godard filmed it. Once again, the police pay a friendly visit. Watch it here.