Original image found at LinkedIn
Every so often, I get in a mood to listen to The Beatles. I think of their popularity over the years and how they didn’t have a long history of performing live. Their last official concert was in August 1966 in San Francisco at Candlestick Park. That gets me thinking about how many people that are still alive that attended that final concert. I can’t imagine there would be that many… maybe a few thousand. To think about it, I use my own age. I was barely 3 years old at the time. People that were old enough to attend that final concert, say if they were 15 at the time, that would put them at around 66 years old. And then if they were in their 20’s, that would make them at least 86 and older.
Wow. That’s getting up there. My brother and sister remember The Beatles, but neither of them went to see them live. My sister could have, as she would have been 19 during the time of the final concert.
This then takes us to the very last live performance that the band made, which is called the Rooftop Concert. It happened on January 30th, 1969. The band was in a state of turmoil and pretty much already have decided to call it quits. A few weeks after this rooftop performance, they started recording their last album “Abbey Road”, which was not their last album released [that would be “Let It Be” in the UK and “Hey Jude” in the US] but the last one that all 4 members of the band would last spend in the studio. And as history has proven when bands spend time making an album while in a state of fighting, Abbey Road went on to be one of their most popular and well received.
Back to the Rooftop Concert. There were 5 songs played during this final performance, with 3 of the songs getting multiple takes. “Get Back” and “Dig A Pony” which were on “Let It Be”, gave those who witnessed this concert an early peak at the final songs from The Beatles.
Adding two and half years to the time from their last concert in San Francisco, we are left with even less people alive who were at this show, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr included, who are both 74 and 76, respectfully. Engineers Alan Parsons and Glyn Johns are also still around being in their late 60’s and mid 70’s.
The footage of the concert – in both photos and film – are easy to find on the web and it gives us a final parting capture of The Beatles in their last ever live performance before they broke up months later. And there have been many parodies to the Rooftop Concert by The Simpsons, U2 and LCD Soundsystem that show their respect for this final performance.
Oh to have a time machine to go back and experience these musical events live. Not possible, but sure is nice to think about.