30, 1969 the Beatles hated each other, and they were sick of working
on their album, Let It Be inside of their cramped studios.
On a whim, they took all their equipment and moved it five floors
up to the roof, in the middle of winter. Then they performed for
about a half hour. They had last performed lived over two years
earlier. It was their last concert together ever. They
broke up shortly afterwards and never performed together again.
I say it was
a concert because people in the blocks around them quickly
began to realize what was happening. People couldnt believe
it. You see office workers climbing out of windows and down ladders
to get a better view. Women running up and down the street to try
and see better. An older man with a pipe climbing up a fire escape
to stand on a rooftop and just watch. After about ten minutes the
streets were crowded with people on the street staring up on the
roof of the building where the music was coming from. People on
the ground couldnt see the band but they knew it was them.
The effect of the Beatles singing live shut down London for a half
through, so-called reality started to hit some of the
passersby. One guy said, its a bit of an imposition
to absolutely disrupt all of the business in this area. Well
never know the name of that guy. Well never know what he was
working on in January of 1969 that was so important. Or what any
of the business in that area was that winter afternoon.
But 43 years later we still watch the video. We still listen to
of things I find interesting about this video:
A) They hated
each other. At this point the Beatles were basically over. The album
was originally called Get Back after one of the songs
in it. But they couldnt get back together and
ultimately it was called Let It Be. It was their last
released album. You can blame it on anything: Yoko, Linda, creative
conflicts, Phil Spector, Brian Epsteins death, and on and
on. But they hated each other despite the mega-success they created
B) You can
see on their faces as they get to the roof: They were never going
to perform again. Ringo looks sad. George Harrison looks particularly
upset. In fact, a few weeks earlier he and John Lennon had gotten
into a fist fight and Harrison had run out and said he was quitting.
See you in the clubs, he said as he left. The band debated
replacing him with Eric Clapton but Harrison came back. The Beatles
wouldnt be the Beatles without the four of them, McCartney
had the wherewithal to say.
hated the fact that Lennon was getting more and more detached from
the band and doing his own thing. Lennon hated Harrisons and
McCartneys music writing. (Lennon, after the album came out,
said of The Long and Winding Road and producer Phil
Spectors treatment of it: He was given the shittiest
load of badly-recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and
he made something of it.) In other words, they hated each
other. And they didnt hold back. They just simply did not
want to work with each other anymore despite the years of creative
and financial success. George Harrison joined The Beatles when he
was 14 years old. They all had grown up together.