The Beatles: New Documentary Tells The Story Of The Band’s Last Rooftop Concert In London | Ents & Arts News

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The Beatles’ latest live performance, on the rooftop of 3 Saville Row, is a legendary moment in musical history and an event that Peter Jackson’s new three-part Disney documentary hits the charts.

Based on roughly 56 hours of film that remained hidden for 50 years in Apple’s coffers, the series also gives an in-depth look at the recording sessions of their album Let It Be.

After thinking about where they would perform certain songs for the first time, the group jokes about his arrest. In the sequence, Paul McCartney says, “We should do the show in a place where we are not allowed to do it, being forcibly evicted.”

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Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison in the documentary The Beatles: Get Back by Peter Jackson. Photo: Apple Corps Ltd

But, a young policeman who was there that day told Sky News that the rooftop concert was not interrupted because no one “knew what to do”.

Ken Wharfe was 21 at the time. He was on traffic duty when he got a call from his “cranky old sergeant” asking if he could hear a “terrible noise”.

“We walked up Regent Street and suddenly it became clear that I could hear Get Back music flowing across the rooftops of Soho.”

When he got to Saville Row there was a party vibe in the streets.

Ken Wharf was a 21-year-old policeman when The Beatles performed on London's Rooftop
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Ken Wharfe was a 21-year-old policeman when The Beatles performed on London’s Rooftop

Mr Wharfe said: “I remember thinking I needed some of this action, so I literally walked into number three and walked up the stairs. I remember… Ringo Starr in this kind of tangerine coat and I thought “this is the best thing ever going to happen to me in the police department.”

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon in the documentary The Beatles: Get Back.  Photo: Apple Corps Ltd
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The documentary features hours of never-before-seen footage that has been kept in Apple’s coffers. Photo: Apple Corps Ltd

“Neither of us really knew what to do … because there was no problem, there was no crime, at worst it was noise but it was a pleasant noise.”

While the group may have expressed a desire to be dragged off the stage by police, Mr Wharfe says he and his colleagues were too busy enjoying the best seats in the house.

“I think one or two of my colleagues, you know, must have taken a stand, but most of us, we were more interested in getting a better point of view and listening!

Peter Jackson, director / producer of the documentary The Beatles: Get Back.  Photo: SNPA / Ross Setford
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Peter Jackson produced and directed the documentary. Photo: SNPA / Ross Setford

“It was the last gig the Beatles ever gave, so of all the things I’ve done in my career, I have to say it’s the one thing I remember the most because it was just an amazing opportunity. “

In Beatles mythology, it stands to reason that Let It Be’s recording sessions were hectic and unpleasant.

However, the new footage shows it wasn’t as miserable as we’d been led to believe, as the band can be seen laughing and having fun making music.

Sky News spoke to one of the band’s sound engineers, Dave Harries, who was also present that day to help them record the album.


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“They were so good, so talented,” he says. “Their harmonies, you know, all the harmonies were brilliant.”

Mr Harries believes the only real conflict stems from the boys’ frustration with the registration process.

“They were not very happy that the studio was not finished and was not functioning properly … it was a shame because they deserved better.”

The documentary is a compelling preview, and one that finally gives every Beatles fan the ending they always wanted – four young friends who might be ready to go their separate ways but aren’t at each other’s throats but laugh and like to make music together.

Get Back is now available on Disney +.

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