The Beatles on the Roof
On 30 January, 1969, The Beatles took to the roof of their Mayfair headquarters and created one of the most iconic moments in music history. At lunchtime on a bitterly cold January day, the strains of guitar chords could be heard in the streets surrounding London's Saville Row. Crowds gathered at ground level and above. People climbed onto roofs and postboxes to get a better view and skipped lunch to gather and listen.
The rooftop concert was The Beatles' first public performance in over two years. They played new songs, proved they hadn't split up, upset the establishment and bewildered the police. The event seemed utterly spontaneous but had been a year in the planning, with technicians and roadies slaving to make it happen. And, they would never play live again.
The Beatles on the Roof by Tony Barrell, published by Omnibus Press in 2017, examines the concert within the context of its time.
As Tony writes in his preface to the book, 'This story does have a personal dimension for me. I was a small boy in short trousers when I heard that The Beatles had played an unannounced concert in London, and I was inconsolable. Why couldn't they have given me, one of their biggest fans, some warning that they were doing it? It would surely have been worth skipping primary school to go to London for. Ever since then, I've wished I had been there that day, and I've developed a fascination for the event that won't go away.'
The Beatles' rooftop concert was captured at the time by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. The footage will be part of Peter Jackson's highly anticipated Get Back TV series, set to be released via Disney Plus on the 25th November.
The Beatles on the Roof tells the extraordinary story of the rooftop concert and the wider Get Back period of Beatles history, making it an ideal accompaniment to the series.
In a blog post from 2017, Tony Barrell talks through his inspiration for writing about the Beatles on the Roof: https://www.tonybarrell.com/raising-the-roof/