The Beatles final live performance 3



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Contrary to popular belief, The Beatles’ last live performance was not at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966 but on January 30, 1969 on the roof of an elegant five storey Georgian mansion in Savile Row in London, that was the headquarters of Apple Corps.

It was a cold grey day with Paul McCartney prodding and coercing the other three Beatles, but it was clear John Lennon had simply lost interest over the previous two years and was trying to put himself back together again after years of alcohol abuse, amphetamines, marijuana and LSD.

George Harrison had stated after the last concert that he had had enough of being a Beatle. Ringo Starr was his usual laid back self: “Whatever you boys want is okay by me”.

Paul refused to accept that The Beatles were turning into a rotting corpse he wasn’t going to let it happen and he was sure that performing together again would cure everything. With one cajoling Paul and three disinterested Beatles things got under way.

George plugged in his Fender; to his right Yoko Ono finally disengaged herself from John who took centre microphone. A couple of feet behind John, Ringo hoisted himself on to his drum kit and to his right black session musician Billy Preston took his position behind the keyboards.

Paul, the ringmaster, strapped on his beloved violin shaped Hofner bass and strode up to the microphone just to John’s right. As Paul started singing ‘Get Back’ the others professionally joined in.

Paul’s philosophy was getting back to where they once belonged and with the cameras rolling for a documentary movie he hoped the bantering, eating and drinking together and rehearsing for the performance would be the answer. Instead it showed there was no going back there was more bickering than bantering.

Down in the street crowds gathered and traffic ground to a halt after all The Beatles’ hungry fans had not seen their idols perform in England since The NME Poll Concert on May 1, 1966 at Wembley.

Bored businessmen on the street were complaining about the disruption of business in the area, did they not realise they were witnessing history.

John took the lead on ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ before he and Paul sang together for the last time one of John’s pre-Beatles compositions ‘The One After 909’.

The final song was ‘Dig A Pony’ a nonsense lyric song written by and sang by John.

At the end John delivered the tag-line, “On behalf of the group, I hope we passed the audition” and down the stairwell he disappeared.

Ringo just wanted to get along, George wanted to pursue his own music, John just wanted his own genius to take its course and Paul wanted The Beatles to stay together but on his terms. In the end they got what they wanted but we lost the greatest group ever.

Do you like The Beatles? What’s your favourite song? Where were you when the band played its final live performance in 1969?

Benjamin Hill

I was born in Belfast Northern Ireland 1946, I attended school at Ballygomartin Secondary School until I began an apprenticeship as an Electrician in 1962 at Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders (Birthplace of the Titanic). I married Rose-Marie in 1964 and immigrated to Australia in 1970 together with our two children Anna-Marie and Ronald. I worked in various sections of the construction industry as an Electrician until retirement 2011 and now my blog about 60s music is a labour of love that I am lucky to share with all lovers of music.

  1. Went on Saturday night to see The Beatles movie. I really enjoyed it. We nearly missed the last 30 minutes, because after the credits rolled we were a given 30 minute concert recorded in the USA. Fantastic. Was almost like being there. could have watched it all night. They were the best, and still are.

  2. It’s hardly a popular belief that their last live performance was at Candlestick Park. Any Beatles fan knows about the Apple rooftop concert.

  3. I went to the Beatles movie and I thoroughly enjoyed ever bit of it especially when it took me back to my teen age days.
    Will always love there music there is no band out there to compete with this memorable group.
    I will always be a Beatle fan they rock.

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