50 Years Ago The Beatles Played Their Last Live Gig on a Roof in Savile Row
On January 30th, 1969, The Beatles staged an impromptu performance on the rooftop of their record label, Apple, in Savile Row, London. The gig would last 42 minutes before being shut down by police and would mark the final time the band ever performed together live.
The footage from that historic day would make its way onto the Let It Be documentary. The band played nine takes of five songs (Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, I’ve Got A Feeling, One After 909, Dig A Pony). In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ken Mansfield (the label’s US manager at the time) recalls that their may have been 20 people on the rooftop at most. For those curious, the keyboardist is Billy Preston. Regarding the clip embedded above, the description below is direct from YouTube:
Written by John as an expression of his love for Yoko Ono, the song is heartfelt and passionate. As John told Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, “When it gets down to it, when you’re drowning, you don’t say, ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.”
During filming on the roof of Apple, two days after the recording of the track, the band played ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ right after doing two versions of ‘Get Back’ and it led straight into ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was once again directing a Beatles’ shoot. He and Paul met regularly at the tail end of 1968, while Hogg was directing The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, to discuss the filming of The Beatles’ session in January. By the time that fateful Thursday came around, the penultimate day of January would be the last time The Beatles ever played together in front of any kind of audience.
This is not the version of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ heard on the single but the version from the Let It Be… Naked album – a composite of both versions that were performed on the roof of Apple in Savile Row