Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January 30, 1969; the rooftop concert

I didn't realize that this very notable anniversary (the last live performance by The Beatles, fifty years ago today, on the London rooftop of the Apple building) had arrived, until seeing today's Washington Post piece about it, below. (In fact, I thought the event had taken place in 1970.)

The rooftop concert lasted forty-plus minutes. The piece in the Post includes a video of the group performing "Don't Let Me Down." 

Here, too, is a longer version of the concert (twenty-plus minutes), which includes images of Londoners listening from the street, and watching from other buildings.

The Beatles by the way, were accompanied, during the rooftop performance, by the keyboardist Billy Preston.  Preston played with The Beatles near the end of the group's career.  He is heard on various "Let it Be" recordings--such as "I've Got a Feeling," "Get Back," "Dig a Pony," and "Let it Be." He also played on two "Abbey Road" recordings: "Something," and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)." 

Preston also played on the recording of "Don't Let Me Down," which was the B-side of the 45 version of "Get Back."  The 45, at the time of the rooftop concert, had not yet been released.  Wikipedia notes:  "In April 1969, [the] single 'Get Back' was credited to 'The Beatles with Billy Preston', the only time such a joint credit had been given on an official Beatles-sanctioned release (as distinct from an unsanctioned reissue of some Hamburg-era recordings on which they were the backing group for Tony Sheridan)."

On February 9th, by the way, it will be fifty-five years since The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan's Sunday night program.  At the time, in 1964, I was eight.  Watching The Beatles' television appearance, that night, was not simply an exciting experience; it was utterly thrilling.