The Beatles Could Have Been Arrested In Their Final Show, Police Officer Recalls

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The famous rooftop concert of the Beatles marked the ending of the legendary band’s live performances. Former police officer Ray Shayler who shut down the show looked back on time during a recent interview with Daily Mail. Apparently, now 77-year-old Shayler doesn’t regret interrupting an iconic Beatles moment.

Although there are countless monumental moments in the Beatles’ one-decade-long career, their show at the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters in central London, on January 30, 1969, has got to be in the top 5. It was an unannounced concert that aimed to represent their return to live performances, but instead, it was their very last live show. 

The band played a 42-minute set before the Metropolitan Police interrupted them. They were concerned about the noise and traffic issues that would occur after people realized it was the Beatles who were performing at a rooftop. While Apple employees initially kept the police officers in the reception and refused to let them up to the roof, they had to let them go after being threatened with arrest.

During the band’s second take of ‘Don’t Let Me Down,’ police officers were spotted at the roof entrance. Then the Beatles started shooting the final take of ‘Get Back,’ with Paul McCartney improvising the song’s lyrics to, ‘You’ve been playing on the roofs again / and you know your momma doesn’t like it / she’s going to have you arrested!’

Shortly after the band finished the song, their rooftop concert came to an end. While the band did record one more album, ‘Abbey Road,’ the rooftop concert marked the end of an era as they disbanded soon after. The police officer who stopped the Beatles that day named Ray Shayler recently looked back on that time during an interview.

Apparently, Shayler liked their music at the time despite not being a huge fan. However, he had a job to do that day when he stepped on the rooftop, which was more important than his personal opinions.

According to Ray Shayler, he wasn’t the one who stopped the Beatles from performing, at least not directly. He only kindly asked them to stop the concert, and the musicians listened to him. However, the band members could have been arrested in another scenario if they refused to oblige.

According to Daily Mail, Shayler said:

“I didn’t like the Beatles much when they went a bit Hare Krishna but we had a few Beatles records and LPs at home. I liked their music. But when I got on the roof, I had a job to do and I thought, ‘Well, we’ve got to try and stop this.’ Someone asked me how I felt being the man who stopped the Beatles’ concert, but I wouldn’t say that was true.

I didn’t stop the Beatles. I merely suggested it would be a good idea if they didn’t carry on. If the Beatles had got stroppy or were determined to carry on, then things might have been different. But that wasn’t the way we worked in those days, and I always tried to resolve issues without arresting people.”

If Ray Shayler hadn’t stopped them, probably somebody else would at some point as what the band members were doing was illegal even though it went down the history of rock music. However, it’s great to have a record of McCartney’s whimsical writings skills when he first saw the officers as well as the officers who let the Beatles finish their song.

You can watch the moment Paul McCartney improvised.