Monthly Archives: January 2018

January 30th 1969 Up on the Roof – The Beatles Last Live Performance

The Beatles last ever live performance took place on the roof of 3 Savile Row, the Beatles’ ‘Apple’ HQ, on January 30th 1969. However, things could have been very different, and almost didn’t take place at all!

The Beatles were in the middle of a project initially called ‘Get Back’. Paul McCartney wanted the Beatles to do a huge live performance of their new album, which would be heard for the first time at the gig. The Beatles were to film the rehearsal for the concert, the took place at Twickenham Film Studios. That location was chosen as the head of Apple Films, Dennis O’Dell, was about the start work there on the film ‘Magic Christian with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.

However, things went badly from the start when the Beatles convened at Twickenham on January 2nd 1969. Twickenham was a large, very cold film studio, and not great for playing music. The main problem, however, was the tension in the Beatles, which got worse as time went on. There was no agreement on where to do the big concert. One suggestion was a Roman Ampitheatre in the middle of the desert in Tunisia. So many bizarre suggestions were made, that John Lennon was heard to mutter, ‘I think we should do it in a lunatic asylum’,

Finally the tension got too much for George Harrison. Over lunch on January 10th, he walked out of the session and said to the others ‘See you ’round the clubs!’

Finally, after days of negotiations, George agreed to return to the Beatles, but only if the sessions ended at Twickenham, and instead continued at their own Apple Studio at Savile Row.

The recording sessions certainly went better than at Twickenham, even though the film crew still followed their every move. However, the film didn’t have a climax, and Paul McCartney was determined to play live somewhere. It was decided to play a few songs on the roof of their own building – this took place on 30th January 1969.

An hour before the session technicians were testing the mikes and having real problems, as the strong wind was making a horrendous noise. Therefore Alan Parsons was sent around to a local branch of Marks and Spencers to buy some stockings to put over the mikes to stop the wind getting in. As Alan remembers, “It was very strange walking into the lingerie department and the assistant asking ‘what size?’ – and me answering ‘doesn’t matter’, ‘what colour?’ ‘doesn’t matter’ – they thought I was really odd.”

Even though they couldn’t be seen from the street, the Beatles could be heard for miles around and lots of people started gathering in the street below. Of course, the Beatles knew this was going to happen, so they had cameras placed all around and many passers-by were interviewed about their reactions. Beatles fans loved it – the group hadn’t played live in the UK for nearly 3 years. However, the local tailors were not amused by their business being disrupted by the concert. They called the police to get the Beatles to stop.

The nearest police station, West End Central, is only 150 yards from 3 Savile Row, at the other end of the street. However, the first policemen that arrived actually came from a police box in Piccadilly Circus, about three times the distance to 3 Savile Row than the police station! Ken Wharfe, then a young police officer, got a call on his radio saying that the Beatles were making too much noise and to tell them to turn it down. Ken and his colleague were huge Beatles fans and couldn’t believe their luck when they arrived on the roof and saw the Beatles playing live. They had no intention of stopping them.

This was a disappointment to the Beatles as they actually wanted to be arrested as it would have been a great climax for the film. They were allowed to finish the last song they were playing – which was ironically Get Back. The ‘rooftop session’ ended when John came to the microphone and said, “I’d like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.” It was to be the Beatles’ last ever live performance.

On the 40th anniversary of the rooftop concert, I managed to get my Beatles tour group up on the roof for the first and only time. The event was covered by CNN


The view from the roof

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles tour guide in London. For more info on his tours, see

How Stella McCartney followed her Father into Transcendental Meditation

Stella McCartney reveals how she relies on the A-list Transcendental Meditation guru who helped Oprah and Tom Hanks – as she follows in the footsteps of her father Sir Paul

  • Fashion designer Stella McCartney practises Transcendental Meditation (TM)
  • She adopted the practice following the death of her mother Linda in 1998
  • The practice was popularised by father Sir Paul and The Beatles in the Sixties 
  • Stella, 46, now relies on A-list TM teacher Bob Roth, who taught Oprah Winfrey

Stella McCartney has revealed how she relies on the help of an A-list meditation guru after turning to the practice following her mother’s death.

The fashion designer, 46, practises Transcendental Meditation with Californian teacher Bob Roth, who also counts Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman and Tom Hanks among his glittering list of clients.

For more click here


A Day in the Life– Paul McCartney, Victor Spinetti, and a Magical Mystery Tour

October 2nd 2012 – a day I will never forget. A day I attended 2 very memorable events, with Paul McCartney at both!!

The afternoon was the memorial service to Victor Spinetti at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden. Victor had died a few weeks before. I had got to know Victor quite well through various Beatles conventions, and interviewed him for the British Beatles Fan Club at the City Barge pub, that features in Help! I later found out that my birth mother was born only a mile or so from Victor in South Wales, and used to buy fish and chips in the Spinetti family’s fish and chip shop!

Victor had a profound effect on me, especially when I first met him at the 1981 Beatles Convention in Liverpool. I was very sad to hear about his passing, and was determined to attend his memorial service. I rang the church a few days before and told of my family connection, and was invited along.

I was amazed when I got there to see so many famous faces.

It was a lovely occasion, moving at times, but in the main, a wonderful fun celebration of Victor’s life. The tone was set by Fr. Simon Grigg, who said that during his life, Victor was an atheist – but now he knows different!
The programme was a mixture of song and readings, plus very nice tributes to Victor from Barbara Windsor and Jim Davidson.
The musical highlight was Michael Ball singing ‘In My Life’. As he put it, with one of the composers sitting feet away from him.
Fenella Fielding read John Lennon’s poem, Fat Budgie, to celebrate Victor’s collaboration with John on the play ‘In His Own Write’.
Paul McCartney arrived at the church just before the service started. It seems that he initially didn’t think he was going to make it, and sent a written tribute to be read out. Instead he read it himself.
He remembered at one of the Beatles first meetings with Victor, he told them to look at a cloud in the sky and that he would make it go away – and it did! Paul said that, when thinking of Victor that morning, he tried to do the same thing. However the cloud he got didn’t go away, it just got bigger and bigger. Paul joked that it was actually Victor.

Barbara Windsor, who was one of Victor’s best friends, remembered when they were both in a touring stage show, and due to lack of rooms, had to share a bed in a hotel. Barbara, then the ‘sex bomb’ of the ‘Carry On’ films etc, said she never felt so safe in her life! Of course, Victor was gay.
The service lasted about an 75 minutes and we left the church to a recording of the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.
Afterwards I was mingling outside, when Paul McCartney came up to me, shook my hand and said “Hi Richard, how are you going, haven’t seen you for a while.” It’s nice he remembers me :>)

Although everyone was sad about Victor’s passing, the service was very funny in places – and Fr. Grigg said at the end that he’d never heard so many ‘F’ words in a church before!
A lovely service for a lovely man.

A section of the service – including Paul  McCartney’s speech

You can see me in the audience at about 7 mins 4 seconds :>)

A report on the service

Paul McCartney arriving at St Paul’s Church
The Programme for the memorial service

Attending the service would have been a highlight of most day’s – but mine didn’t end there. That evening, I attended a special gala screening of Magical Mystery Tour. I was the guest of Jeni Crowley, who was on the original Magical Mystery Tour coach, and appears in the film. Sitting with us were Sylvia Bodhi Hillier, and Leslie Cavendish, who were also on the coach, and Roy Benson, who edited the film.
Amongst the celebrities in the audience were Liam Gallagher, Paul Weller, Neil Innes, David Walliams, Peter Asher, Barry Miles, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, Mark Lewisohn, and Joe Boyd. Paul McCartney was there too, and gave a short speech before the screening. He seemed surprised to see me again so soon :>) I was sitting right in front of Liam Gallagher, and I could hear him singing along to I am the Walrus.
At first we saw the BBC ‘Arena’ programme about the making of Magical Mystery Tour, and after a short break, the film itself. Magical Mystery Tour looked and sounded great on a big screen, and it was wonderful seeing it with so many of the people that appeared in it.

…A Day in the Life!!!

Paul with Liam Gallagher and son after the screening

BMG acquires rights to iconic 60’s TV show Ready Steady Go!

BMG has acquired rights to the name. branding and to certain surviving audio visual broadcast footage from iconic Sixties TV pop show Ready Steady Go!

It now plans to explore the legacy of what was arguably the most influential UK music TV show of all time in a series of new audio, video and book releases.

The first fruits of the deal is the 60-track, 3CD set Ready Steady Go – The Sixties. BMG plans to tell the story of the iconic programme in documentary, book and exhibition form as well as through CD and DVD releases based around the world-famous artists that performed on the show. For more click here

Blogger note – The Beatles appeared on Ready Steady Go on many occasions. The previous owner of the rights was Dave Clark.

How The Beatles tried to escape the ‘rat’s nest of fame’ in India

In 1968, The Beatles and a crew of hangers-on traded hip London threads for kurtas and wreaths of marigold, trudging through dense forest to an ashram in Rishikesh, India, where they spent weeks writing songs.

There was George Harrison, a devoted follower of Transcendental Meditation; John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who had started to feud over the band’s direction; and Ringo Starr, the band’s drummer, who was so perturbed by India’s famously spicy food that he packed a reserve of beans for his stay at the ashram. He lasted 10 days.

“Scan all the photographs of Ringo in Rishikesh, and you’ll find few in which he’s smiling,” says Raju Gusain, a local journalist who has become something of an expert on the band’s trip to India.

These days, the forest has swallowed up the ashram’s crumbling buildings, obscuring traces of celebrity from their halls. But the complex is set for a revival, with renovations planned for many of the structures, long unused and only recently reopened to the public.

For more of this great article, click here

The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour of London – Step Right this Way!

My Sunday Beatles Magical Mystery Tour of London can now be prebooked. It would make a great present for any Beatles fan coming to London.

It is a Magical Mystery Tour of the Beatles’ London haunts:

their Apple offices, where the group played the famous ‘rooftop session’
Paul McCartney’s offices where Paul can be seen occasionally
the well known London theatre which became ‘birthplace’ of Beatlemania
the site of John’s infamous ‘bigger than Jesus’ interview
what John Lennon was doing outside some public toilets in 1966!
the studio where Hey Jude was recorded
the shopping street that was the heart of ‘Swinging London’
Abbey Road Studios and the famous Abbey Road crossing
The tour ends at ‘Helter Skelter’ the Beatles Coffee Shop, where you can buy a range of Beatles souvenirs including The Guide to the Beatles London


You can prebook the tour Here

Or just turn up and pay cash on the day.

for more details on this and my other Beatles walks, see

Tour costs £10 for Adults or £8 for students.


New Yellow Submarine Book to be Released in June

A whole new generation will be climbing aboard this sunny, psychedelic storybook, while nostalgic Beatles fans of all ages will be clamoring for a ticket to ride.

Once upon a time (or maybe twice), some 80,000 leagues beneath the sea, there lay a colorful land of song and laughter called Pepperland, where Sergeant Pepper’s Band was always playing your song — until the Blue Meanies burst on the scene and chased all the music and magic away. So began the classic 1968 film Yellow Submarine, inspired by a song and hailed as an avant-garde amalgam of pop art, Beatles music, and highly innovative animation. Now that film’s dazzling images — and its lighthearted, witty tale — is showcased in a glorious picture book sure to be savored by fans and readers of all ages.

To order this book on Amazon – go to
Yellow Submarine: A Panorama Pop (Panorama Pops)

Cilla – The Musical Still Getting 5 Star Reviews

Cilla – the Musical is still getting 5 star reviews on its tour around the UK – and deservedly so. This week it is in York – and got this Fab review in the local newspaper

It has lots of Beatles-related content, and brilliant performances by Kara Lily Hayworth as Cilla and Andrew Lancel as Brian Epstein. If it comes to a theatre near you – go to see it!

Kara Lilly Hayworth with Blogger, Richard Porter

Valentines Day Wall at Abbey Road Studios

From the 1st February Abbey Road Studios  are giving you all the chance to cover the Abbey Road wall with love letters to the people that mean the most to you. The wall will be specially prepared and ready to be adorned with loving messages.

So come to the studios armed with a pen in hand and a loving sentiment in your heart this February and show someone how much they mean to you.

Use the hashtag #AbbeyRoadInLove online and share your message with the world.

The wall was being painted today in preparation for the event.