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1969-The Final Year

Up On The Roof

The Beatles moved the film shoot back to their own recording studios later the same month. Looking for a way to end the film, the group decided to do a concert on the roof of their studios. Thinking they would just perform the songs they had been working on in the previous weeks, they began playing at lunchtime on a cold, windy day on the roof. They quickly attracted the attention of their neighbors, as well as passersby on the street. They also got the attention of the police, who soon made their way to the rooftop. “I think they pulled the plug, and that was the end of the film,” said Paul. The rooftop concert turned out to be one of the Beatles' most memorable moments as a group, with all four coming together as before, singing harmonies, and playing well. It is easily the most inspired part of the film, and helps it to end on a lighter note.

Once the dust settled on the sessions, the net result was hours of audiotape and a month's worth of film, all of which had to be sorted out. Although there was an attempt made to make a proper album out of the tapes, the Beatles weren't pleased with the results and decided to shelve the project for the time being. It wouldn't be released as an album for over a year. The album, titled Let It Be, is probably the Beatles' least successful album, but it is marked by some beautiful songwriting, including John's “Across the Universe” and Paul's “Get Back” and “Let It Be.” It has a rougher, more spontaneous feeling than most of the other Beatle albums, which was what they had originally intended. Even though a great deal of tension had developed within the band, it was obvious that their creativity hadn't been hopelessly damaged. More proof of this creativity would turn up on their final, and most polished, record, Abbey Road, which they soon began to record.

Fun Fact!

John documented his wedding to Yoko and its subsequent events in a single called “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” It was hurriedly recorded using only Paul as his accompaniment

John and Paul had both gotten married in March; Paul to Linda Eastman, an American photographer, and John to Yoko Ono. John and Yoko, ever the idealists, had decided to undertake a campaign for world peace. They used the publicity gained by their wedding to stage what they called “Bed-Ins for Peace” from their honeymoon hotel suite in Amsterdam. Assuming that the hungry press would record their every move, they decided that their space in print might as well be occupied by the theme of peace. For seven days, they remained in bed, talking day and night to reporters about the benefits of lasting peace in the world.

Through the spring and summer, as the Beatles were gradually recording the songs that would comprise their final record, it was increasingly clear that they were in the position of being nearly out of money. In spite of their being the most successful group in the history of recorded sound, Apple was losing money at an astonishing rate due to mismanagement. In attempting to solve this problem, their differences surfaced yet again, this time in their indecision over a new manager to sort out their finances. Paul wanted to use his father-in-law, Lee Eastman, while the other Beatles, especially John, were more impressed by Allen Klein, an American music manager who had helped make the Rolling Stones rich. In the end, the disputes worsened and led to the conclusion that the group was in serious trouble and could be heading for a final split. But not before they made one last great musical statement.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesThe Beatles1969-The Final Year - Inner Strife, Up On The Roof, The Last Waltz