The date was January 30, 1969, and it was a Thursday. In London. As people wandered the streets on their lunch break, something that sounded like Beatles music came floating down toward them. Was it Beatles music? And where was it coming from? the roof? At first, no one knew.
Former location of Apple Corp LtdThen the unmistakeable voice of Paul McCartney was heard singing the words, "Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner, but he knew it wouldn't last." And people knew for certain. It was the Beatles!
I was in High School, almost certainly fast asleep during this Rooftop Concert of the Beatles that day. I didn't even hear about it until years later. But now through the magic of youtube, we can experience what we missed.
Recently in London, I went on a Beatles tour and had high hopes for lots of good, juicy Beatles gossip. The guide gave us an hour or two of Beatles trivia (not very juicy), walking us around some of the important Beatles spots. I had no idea of these spots but I was really hoping the Rooftop Concert location would be one of them. And then suddenly, as he was telling us that Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds meant LSD, we rounded a corner. Then there it was.
The address was 3 Savile Row, London UK, now the former location of Apple Records. In 1969 the Beatles were planning at some point do a live performance, but finding the right place wasn't easy. Ringo Starr said, "We were wondering where we could go—'Oh, the Palladium or the Sahara.' But we would have had to take all the stuff, so we decided, 'Let's get up on the roof'".
So, they did. Sound men carried the equipment, hooked it all up, did a quick sound check, and then Paul began. The concert lasted 42 minutes before the London police halted it (I think they were worried about traffic, or something). But for those 42 minutes people crowded onto the roof, or climbed to other roofs, or sat below and watched, in wonder at this impromptu moment in history. If you want, you can watch it too.
As the tour group gathered on that street, all these decades later, we stared upward and wished some Beatles music might float down toward us. It was fun imagining that it might. I know that the Beatles might not have been every parent's dream for their children. They might have made a mess of things here and there.
But for someone who was in High School at the time? It was sure a fun ride.
See you along the way!
photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaunwong/14329003977/">shaun wong</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>