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50 Years Ago:

The Beatles Last Public Performance

The unannounced, rooftop concert at Apple Records was to be the big finish to a film that was designed to reunify its members – but it ended up being the last straw.

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Why the Roof?

  • The Beatles struggled for a location for the last scene of the film, considered filming in the Sahara desert or QE2 cruise ship.
  • Decision to play on the London rooftop made just days before.
  • It was 45° in London. Lennon & Starr borrowed their wives’ coats.
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How It Played Out

  • Joined on the keys by Billy Preston, who’s credited with keeping the band together during this time, they played for 42 mins.
  • Included iconic songs “Get Back” & “Don’t Let Me Down”.
  • The Beatles, being filmed for their movie, hoped the police would arrest them, but it didn’t happen.
  • Police, many fans themselves, just asked them to turn it down.
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“I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition.”

John Lennon before ending The Beatles' final public concert on January 30, 1969. The film & album recordings from that day would end up becoming their swan song, "Let it Be".
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By September of that year, the group had unofficially disbanded with John Lennon (who was 29 years old at the time) informing other members he was leaving the group.

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