Watch The Beatles Perform Their Famous Rooftop Concert: It Happened 50 Years Ago Today (January 30, 1969)

On Jan­u­ary 3oth 1969, The Bea­t­les 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 (a coda to their final offi­cial con­cert at Can­dle­stick Park on August 29, 1966), 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 those ses­sions. 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” (above), “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 cer­tain. 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.

Learn more about the Bea­t­les’ his­toric per­for­mance by pick­ing up a copy of the recent­ly-released book, The Roof: The Bea­t­les’ Final Con­cert, or down­load it from Audi­ble through this free tri­al offer.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Audio: The Bea­t­les Play Their Final Con­cert at Can­dle­stick Park, 1966

A Vir­tu­al Tour of Every Place Ref­er­enced in The Bea­t­les’ Lyrics: In 12 Min­utes, Trav­el 25,000 Miles Across Eng­land, France, Rus­sia, India & the US

Musi­cian Plays Sig­na­ture Drum Parts of 71 Bea­t­les Songs in 5 Min­utes: A Whirl­wind Trib­ute to Ringo Starr

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.