The death of The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein in 1967, had eliminated the one person who mediated the group’s disagreements and the four musicians, left to their own devices, set off in individual artistic directions and quarreled frequently. They had planned a concert before a live audience during their Get Back sessions in January 1969, disagreement between the band members over the location and nature of the show led them instead to play on the roof over the Apple’s headquarters in Savile Row joined by Billy Preston on keyboards.
It is uncertain who had the idea for a rooftop concert, but the suggestion was conceived just days before the actual event. On January 30 in a 42-minute set, the Beatles played nine takes of five songs before the Metropolitan Police Service forced them to stop. Footage from the performance was later used in the 1970 documentary film Let It Be. At the end of the performance John Lennon said, “I’d like to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition!” This comment was later spliced on to the end of the Let It Be album.
The rooftop concert turned out to be their final live performance as a group.