January 30, 1969 ~
The Beatles stage their famous rooftop concert on the roof of Apple Records on Savile Row in London. After performing a few songs, including “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” the police shut them down as a large crowd gathers. It would be The Beatles’ last public performance.
No one knows exactly who came up with the idea, but heading up to the Apple rooftop was something everyone could agree on. Joined by keyboardist Billy Preston and producers Glyn Johns and Alan Parson, the band – with George and John bundled up in fur coats – launches into a brief but memorable set that blasts through the workday drudgery in the streets below. Besieged by noise complaints, the police make their way to the rooftop as a magnificently bearded McCartney belts out a third run-through of “Get Back” with the ad-libbed lyrics “You’ve been playing on the roofs again, and you know your Momma doesn’t like it, she’s gonna have you arrested!”
Ringo Starr, who grudgingly agreed to take part in the performance, is enlivened by the possibility of an arrest: “Someone was complaining and the police came up and I just thought, ‘We’re on film. Drag me off the drums, or something.’ But instead it was, ‘Well, I’m afraid you’ve got to turn it down’ and the plug was pulled. It could have been incredible. The Beatles carted off by the police. That would have been great.”