So long and farewell: The Beatles’ last performance

Forty six years ago, on 30 January 1969, the world of live music became a lesser place as The Beatles called it a day on public performances. Their final performance wasn’t just any performance either – it was a rooftop concert atop Apple headquarters at 3 Savile Row, the Beatles’ own multimedia company. Though the group went on to record their final album Abbey Road, released 26 September 1969, they never performed live again, and later unofficially disbanded in November 1969.

As much as I love the Beatles’ music, I did not know about any of this. My curiosity was triggered by watching Across the Universe on New Year’s Eve: it made me question the likeliness of events and historical situations portrayed in the film. It was also a sheer fluke as I was doing an ‘on this day’ search to see if anything happened in January that I might be interested writing about. Sure enough, I found something. Beginners luck perhaps?

Five songs were played – three with multiple takes – in the rooftop concert including “Get Back”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “I’ve Got a Feeling”, “One after 909”, and “Dig a Pony”. One of the “Get Back” takes was the final song performed. Film crews had set cameras up at multiple locations on the rooftop to capture both the performance and the reaction of onlookers on surrounding rooftops and the street below.

The performance left an impression on film and television makers and musicians alike, with a number of tributes including that of Across the Universe. Set on the rooftops of Sadie’s New York studio, Strawberry Jam, Sadie and her band perform to the crowds in the street. Just like the Beatles’ original performance the fictional New York studio and performance was stormed by local police.

Unfortunately, I can’t teleport us back to 1969, and the Beatles’ stronghold on their media remains so I’m unable to show you any original footage or images without breaking copyright laws. You can, however, search YouTube to find several audio and visual recordings.

The Fab Four c.1963: Ringo, George, John, Paul

Seen here six years prior to their final live performance in their slick suits, a new look for them in 1961, and their very own boot named none other than the Beatle boot. Despite their style and fashions during the Sergeant Pepper’s and Abbey Road years, this iconic look is how I picture the Beatles.

Are you a Beatles fan? Do you have a favourite member? George is my favourite, followed by Paul. Or do you not like them at all?


One thought on “So long and farewell: The Beatles’ last performance

  1. Katie Writes Stuff says:

    How amazing would it have been to be alive in the sixties? I’m sure there are a lot of things we would have missed – and not everything would have been easy – but it must have been an incredible whirlwind of change and music. Always the music. While I certainly don’t know all of the Beatles’ songs, I love that almost everyone can join in when they hear one.

    (I’m kind of in love with the last photo with the Beatles jumping. That’s something I’m going to have to suggest for future silly photo shoots with my friends.)


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