At lunchtime on a bitterly cold January day in 1969, the strains of guitar chords could be heard in the streets surrounding London’s Savile Row. Crowds gathered – At ground level and above. People climbed onto roofs and postboxes, skipped lunch to gather and listen: For the first time in more than two years, The Beatles were playing live.
Ringing from the rooftops, disturbing the well-to-do ears of the tailors below, they upset the establishment and bewildered the police. It was filmed by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who hoped the footage would act as the finale to a celebratory TV special. When it finally surfaced, it was in the bleak, tumultuous documentary Let It Be. And The Beatles would never play live again.
Tony Barrell examines the concert within the context of its time. He speaks to those who were there: the fans, film-makers, roadies, Apple Corps staff and police. He explores the politics of 1968, when peace gave way to protest, and how music promotion began to collide with cinéma vérité and reality TV. The Beatles on the Roof makes essential reading for anyone interested in the band’s reinventions and relationships, revealing why the rooftop concert happened at all, why it happened the way that it did, and why it would never happen again.
|Publisher:||Music Sales Corporation|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||9 MB|
About the Author
Since 1997, Tony Barrell has contributed regular features to The Sunday Times on pop music, modern art, and popular culture. Topics have included The Beatles, Abbey Road Studios, the longest songs ever recorder, the history of tribute bands, the worlds strangest concert venues, and the exercise music used by celebrities. Tony has also interviewed and profiled many music stars, such as Ronnie Wood, Jimmy Page, Shirley Manson, Joan Baez, Alison Goldfrapp, Celine Dion and MIke Oldfield.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thank you to the publisher Omnibus Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley. This book focuses on the iconic performance of The Beatles on the rooftop of their company Apple Corp at 3 Savile Row in London. This took place on January 30, 1969 and wound up being the very last time The Beatles performed together in public. It also was the finale concert ending the "Let it Be" movie which documented their breakup, although it was originally intended to be a television special about them making a new album. Many people think that "Let it Be" is The Beatles' final album, but that was actually "Abbey Road". It's just that both the filming and recordings from the "Let it Be" sessions were so depressing that they sat on the shelf for awhile before "layer of sound" record producer Phil Spector was engaged to make the raw recordings sound more appealing. In the end, The Beatles went back to their stalwart producer George Martin to make "Abbey Road"...a record made "like we used to." As I always say when I review yet another book about The Beatles, I am a decades long Beatles fan and have quite an extensive Beatles library. My challenge when reading a new offering is to find out something new...another pearl or kernel of truth about them. I did find a few here, to my delight, but I won't divulge everything to spoil it for others...save this: the bright orange raincoat RIngo is wearing during the rooftop concert actually belonged to his then wife Maureen! There is commentary from various people who were in the area that day to experience this happening such as a tailor apprentice (Savile Row is famous for their pricey tailoring shops), a young business man who climbed along a pipe and across rooftops to closely witness the concert, and the policemen who responded to the noise and traffic complaints. There are many other accounts documented in the book, including from workers inside the Apple building who struggled themselves to be allowed to go up there. There were serious concerns about too much weight on the roof between the people and musical equipment. If this book were not in digital format, I would sit it cozily beside my other Beatles tomes in my treasured bookcases. To steal a line from the witty John Lennon as this concert came to a close, "This book passed the audition!"