This week, January 30, marks the 54th anniversary of The Beatles’ legendary rooftop concert at Apple Corps HQ in London’s Savile Row which took place in 1969. It was the final live show The Beatles ever played, and also brought an end to their then-upcoming documentary and final album, Let It Be. But once the Fab Four started playing loudly, police attended after receiving some noise complaints. And before long, arrests were threatened.
Kenneth Womack, a Beatles scholar, recalled that the band’s road manager, Mal Evans, was told the police were going to intervene unless the music stopped.
He explained: “The police demand that [The Beatles] turn down the sound or stop the concert. They tell Mal they intend to arrest The Beatles. At that point, Mal turns off George Harrison’s amplifier.”
However, after he turned off Harrison’s amp, he was screamed out by the quiet Beatle, prompting him to turn it back on.
Evans, who was The Beatles’ road manager, then recalled in his diary how he was then arrested by the police who were trying to shut down the live performance.
Hundreds of Beatles fans amassed in the streets to watch the legendary Fab Four perform.
Of course, at the time, the crowd of lucky fans did not know this would be the final time The Beatles would ever play together.
John Lennon finished off the impromptu gig by calling out to his fans: “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we’ve passed the audition.”
Amused by Lennon’s quip, the Fab Four laughed as they left the makeshift rooftop stage. After that, the band were rarely in the same room together again, let alone playing music together.
Ringo Starr later recalled the band struggling to decide where to play their final show.
He said in 2000: “We were wondering where we could go. [We thought:] ‘Oh, the Palladium or the Sahara.’ But we would have had to take all the stuff.”
Eventually, Starr revealed, the band decided to just get on the roof and start playing their instruments to the actual airwaves in an attempt to be as simple as possible.