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  • Writer's pictureRock Tour London

look up, #3 Savile row

Updated: Dec 2, 2021




So, can you picture this? You decide to head out to lunch...you're walking down the street, minding your own business...maybe thinking about how boring life is at the moment. I mean, it's a Thursday in January in London; what happened to that thing they call the sun?


Well, that's months in the future...then you hear it...wait? Where is that music coming from? You look up. You find yourself on Savile Row...in front of #3. You know this is the base of Apple Corps; the Beatles moved their "business" in here a couple of years ago but...could it be? THEY ARE PERFORMING ON THE ROOF!!!


The Beatles' rooftop concert was the final public performance of the band. On 30 January 1969, the band, with keyboardist Billy Preston, surprised the central London office and fashion district with an impromptu concert from the roof. In a 42 minute set the Beatles played nine takes of five songs before the Metropolitan Police Service asked them to reduce the volume.


That setlist was: Get Back (take one), Get Back (take two), Don't Let Me Down (take one), I've Got a Feeling (take one), One After 909, Dig a Pony, I've Got a Feeling (take two), Don't Let Me Down (take two) and Get Back (take three)


When the Beatles first started playing, there was confusion from spectators watching from the street below. As news of the event spread, crowds of onlookers began to congregate in the street and on the rooftops of local buildings. While most responded positively, the Metropolitan Police Service grew concerned about noise and traffic. Apple employees initially refused to let police inside but ultimately reconsidered when threatened with arrest.


As police ascended to the roof, the Beatles realized that the concert would soon be shut down but continued to play for several more minutes. Paul McCartney improvised the lyrics of his song "Get Back" to reflect the situation, "You've been playing on the roof again, and you know your momma doesn't like it, she's gonna have you arrested". The concert came to an end with the conclusion of "Get Back" with John Lennon saying the famous line "`I'd like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition."


Footage of the performance was used in the 1980 documentary film Let It Be.


Apple Corps eventually sold the building in October 1976. Today it's an Abercrombie and Fitch clothing store.


I still can't imagine what it would have been like to be on the street that day...must have been unreal.




#3 Savile Row is in the Mayfair neighborhood of London. It is a short walk from the closest underground station which is Piccadilly Circus (see map)








London rock and roll history. Stay tuned for details on future Rock and Roll Tours of London brought to you by RockTourLondon.com


©RockTourLondon


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