The Beatles On The Roof



When the world’s greatest pop band played their final public concert in January 1969, there were no tickets or posted printed. When John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr emerged at lunchtime from the headquarters of their own company, Apple, five storeys above London’s Savile Row, only a select group of people know what the hell was happening.

The rooftop concert was the final public performance of The Beatles. On 30 January 1969, the band, with keyboardist Billy Preston, surprised a central London office and fashion district with an impromptu concert from the roof of the headquarters of the band’s multimedia corporation Apple Corps at 3 Savile Row. In a 42-minute set, the Beatles played nine takes of five songs before the Metropolitan Police asked them to reduce the volume. Footage from the performance was used in the 1970 documentary film Let It Be.

The rooftop concert was one of the Beatles’ most spontaneous acts. The Beatles on the Roof studies the rooftop concert in penetrating detail, uncovering new truths and debunking old myths about the event. Nobody knew it yet- not even the band- but this was the last time they would play live to the public.

224 pages

Price: £14.99  $19.99

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.

Additional information

Weight 0.649 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.6 × 1.7 cm


Barrell’s thorough research, including several eyewitness interviews, adds flesh to the story and corrects a few mistruths (we learn definitively just which member of the band wore a winter coat borrowed from a spouse), and it’s an undeniably evocative telling.
-Record Collector
If you are a Beatles fan, you will probably already know some of this, but there are a lot of new details about the roof performance, that you won’t have read about. This also takes in the sights and sound of the time, so you get a flavour of what it was like to be there. I really enjoyed this book.
-Amazon Review
Just finished this excellent book charting the iconic rooftop performance / recording by The Beatles in 1969. I'm not a massive Beatles fan to be honest but this book is as interesting on the peripheral detail as the event itself making it a fascinating and illuminatory read. Tony manages to capture the spirit and mood of the late sixties with small vignettes of British life interspersed with the groups desire to deliver something bold and innovative. I immediately went online to watch the footage which matched exactly with the tone of the book. Highly recommended.
-Amazon Review