WUMB March Program Guide

The Beatles: Up On the Roof

It was January 30, 1969; The Beatles traveled up a few flights of stairs to perform for the very last time in public.

It has since become a historic day in Beatles’ history.

Thousands upon thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to London each year (at least before COVID-19) to see exactly where it happened 52 years ago!

Taking The Beatles time machine back, it was a very cold and very windy January day in London’s Business District where the Apple Records building was located.

The Beatles and crew were preparing to film the finale of their movie Let It Be.

It was so cold that John wore Yoko’s fur coat and Ringo wore his wife’s red raincoat.

It was so windy that the microphones needed windscreens. A young engineer was tasked to go to a women’s store down the street to buy panty hose. He told the salesperson at the store that the size did not matter.

That young engineer was Alan Parsons!

Prior to that day there was a lot of discussion about where to film the finale.

Ideas included performing the finale on a cruise ship, at a Roman amphitheater; they considered a club called The Roundhouse in London. In fact, the show was even booked there!

The Beatles considered an outdoor free concert much like Woodstock.

But at that point in The Beatles story, they found it very hard for all four to agree on anything.

Finally, someone had the idea to just play upstairs on the roof of the Apple building.

In fact, a few minutes before The Beatles walked onto the roof it almost didn’t happen!

George did not want to do it and Ringo said he didn’t really see the point.

But John took charge and as the leader of The Beatles said, “Oh, [expletive here] — Let’s Do It.”

The Beatles performed for 42 minutes; rehearsing songs and filming the performance to the delight of some of the people down below on the street.

But being in the financial district, some of the store owners down below were angry that The Beatles were interrupting commerce. People were gathering below to listen as traffic began to accumulate. Word began to spread that the greatest band ever were performing at that very moment!

So, it had to happen – someone called the police!

But The Beatles had already considered they might be shut down for the impromptu performance. They thought it would be a great way to end the movie with all four Beatles being taken away by the Police.

A fantastic finale, right?

But that did not happen. The police were actually fans and held out as long as they could before they had to pull the plug.

It would not a good PR move for the police to arrest The Beatles.

There is a story that perhaps the front desk got a call from the police saying they were on the way and you may want to hide the drugs. An interesting story if it turns out to be true.

Interesting to note that although Let It Be was the last official Beatle album to be released, it was not the last Beatles album to be recorded.

The decision was made to put the Let It Be tapes on the shelf and despite the bit of
infighting going on, The Beatles regrouped and recorded what many believe
is their greatest album ever, Abbey Road.

But The Beatles still had trouble agreeing on things. The Abbey Road album was to be originally called “Everest.” They considered taking a picture at the foot of Mount Everest for the album cover. In the end they just were too lazy and didn’t want to travel.

They decided to go outside and cross Abbey Road.

The simplicity of The Beatles inventiveness is the creative genius that many bands only wish they could achieve.

That is why the brilliance of The Beatles still lives with us today and is loved by millions all over the world.

Now we look forward to the re-release of “Let It Be/Get Back” later this year!

~ ChaChi Loprete

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