LONDON (WHTM) — It was 1969 and the Beatles, the group which dominated the rock and roll music scene for most of the 1960s, were working on their latest record album, “Let it Be.” They were also planning their first live concert since 1966. And they had filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg and his crew on hand shooting a documentary about the whole thing.

But the recording sessions weren’t going all that well. Personal friction between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr was building up, and some of them weren’t too happy with the idea of doing a live concert for the conclusion of the film. (Long story short, the behavior of some of the crowds at their last live shows had them concerned for their safety.)

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Then someone had the idea to perform on the roof.

The headquarters for Apple Records, the Beatles’ recording label, was located at Number 3, Saville Row, a five-story building in central London. The Beatles were working in their studio in the basement; a rooftop concert was the shortest, simplest, and quirkiest way to record live audio and get the climax everyone wanted for the film.

Lindsay-Hogg set up a 10-camera shoot, with crews on the roof, across the street, and down on the ground to get reaction shots.

And around lunchtime on Thursday, Jan. 30, 1969, the Beatles and organist Billy Preston got up on the roof and started playing. During a 45-minute set, they played:

“Get Back” (short rehearsal take, featured in the Get Back documentary)
“Get Back” (take one)
“Get Back” (take two)
“Don’t Let Me Down” (take one)
“I’ve Got A Feeling” (take one, later released on the Let It Be album)
“One After 909” (later released on the Let It Be album)
“Dig A Pony” (later released on the Let It Be album)
“God Save The Queen” (a short jam while the engineers changed tapes)
“I’ve Got a Feeling” (take two)
“Don’t Let Me Down” (take two)
“Get Back” (take three, later included on Anthology 3)

As word got around that the Beatles were playing, people jammed the streets. So did people who had no idea who was up on the roof, but just stopped to listen. (Local shopkeepers, annoyed by the noise, called the police, some of whom actually got up to the roof. In the end, though, nothing came of that.)

As they wrapped the concert. John Lennon stepped up to the mic and said “I’d just like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition.”

Let it Be the record was released on May 8, 1970. Let it Be the movie premiered on May 13. The Movie won an Oscar in 1971 for Best Music, Original Song Score, and a 1971 Grammy for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.

By then, though, the Beatles were no more. After recording another album, Abbey Road, in the second half of 1969, John Lennon privately informed the other three he was leaving the band, and Paul McCartney announced his own departure in April of 1970. Let it Be became the group’s 12th and final album.