“Get Back” – The Beatles, Rooftop Concert
On January 30th, 1969, on a cold winters day in London, The Beatles played what would ultimately be their last live concert. The performance was filmed on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, London and was not publicized, but crowds formed quickly as passersby soon realized what was going on. People climbed fire escapes and gutters to get a better view of the boys from Liverpool giving a free concert.
The band had been coming apart at the seams for some time, with financial and creative differences forcing wedges between all of the members. The recording of the The Beatles (more commonly known as the White Album) had been very difficult, with each song being produced by an individual member of the band. Describing the album John Lennon said, “Every track is an individual track; there isn’t any Beatle music on it. [It’s] John and the band, Paul and the band, George and the band. However the White Album was a massive success as were the next two albums, with Abbey Road and Let It Be becoming some of the bands most beloved work.
The band was suffering at every recording however, and Lennon announced his departure from the band on September 20, 1969. Shortly thereafter McCartney announced his departure as well over creative differences and with that, The Beatles were no longer a band. Legal disputes continued long after the break up, and the dissolution was not finalized until January 9th, 1975.
Many, many compilations and other Beatles records have been released since the bands break up, including 1, a compilation of all the bands #1 hits from America and Great Britain. The album is the fastest selling of all time, selling 3.6 million in its first week. The Beatles were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, their first year of eligibility. Harrison and Starr attended the ceremony with Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and his two sons, Julian and Sean. McCartney declined to attend, citing unresolved “business differences” that would make him “feel like a complete hypocrite waving and smiling with them at a fake reunion.”
Although the Beatles break up was tragic, the music they produced in their time together is truly timeless. They changed the face of music, and they continue to shape music today. The greatest band ever.