On the crisp, blustery afternoon of January 30, 1969, The Beatles taught the world one last lesson: how to “let it be.” In their first public performance since ’66, that day also marked the group’s final live performance.
45 years ago today, that historic show, dubbed “The Rooftop Concert,” served as a fitting swan song to their triumphant career as a group. The once-in-a-lifetime event took place on the rooftop of their Apple Records headquarters at 3 Savile Row in London.
The Beatles, along with Billy Preston on keys, played an electric set – which brought the city of London to its knees. Swarms of people devoured the streets and traffic was severely disrupted. Despite the miserable and wintery conditions, traffic ceased and the adjacent buildings opened their windows to witness the magic.
Even though the crowd likely could not see much of the performance, they knew something special was in their midst. But you can’t please everyone – the police quickly arrived and ordered The Beatles to stop playing.
The plug was soon pulled – literally – but they defied the authorities and plugged them back in to finish their spontaneous jam session, which was captured in the 1970 documentary Let It Be.
Lennon appropriately concluded the show with an unforgettable closing statement, exclaiming, “I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition." The Fab Four certainly did.
Check out photos from the historic concert on The Beatles’ official website here.