Cover Image: The Beatles on The Roof

The Beatles on The Roof

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As a Beatles fan, I really enjoyed this. Even though it's one of the most famous bands in the history of music, I haven't been lucky enough to encounter many remarkable books to read about it, so this one did a nice job for me.
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How do you write an entire book about an incident that last only a couple of hours? By using the moment as the center point and moving outward, like the ripples in a pond.

I've been seeing a fair number of books about The Beatles in the last few years and I suspect there's a bit of a rush to gather as many first-hand accounts as possible before we lose access to those who were there for The Beatles' various moments. This is no exception and author Tony Barrell nicely captures the memories of as many people involved in the actual performance on the rooftop, the people who worked in the the Apple Records building at the time, people who worked in the offices around Apple Records whose afternoon was interrupted by the loud music, and those who were either passing by or those who rushed to the scene when word got out that The Beatles were playing some new songs, live at the Apple Records building.

For those of us who have even a modest interest in The Beatles (and if you didn't why would you consider this book?) we probably now a few basic things about the 'concert on the roof.' First, 'concert' is a bit of a misnomer.  It wasn't a concert as much as it was a recording session. And filming was a means to an end ... a way to fulfill an obligation for a film.  But it was quite spur of the moment, and we get some good inside information from those who worked at Apple.  Sometimes the information is contradictory, but that definitely adds to the 'realness' of the moment.

Things we don't often think about when we talk about an event such as this are the non-players who are affected.  Reading about the neighbors who were annoyed by the loud music and the disruption caused by people standing around to watch and listen at first seems inconceivable, but of course it makes a certain amount of sense.  Only those of us who are Beatles fans would prioritize the impromptu concert/recording session over any other daily business.

I enjoyed reading about some of the other people who were there at the recording. From secretaries who wanted to be a part of this momentous occasion to assistant engineer Alan Parsons.  Barrell even manages to get comments from some of the police who we remember from the film coming to stop the playing.  What I didn't know before this was that someone had previously checked in with the local police station and were told that if the owners of the building didn't complain, they wouldn't have a problem with it.  Since the Beatles owned the building, they assumed they were good to play.

When I've watched the film, I've wondered why there weren't more people around (aside from the smaller space) and this is addressed as well (concerns about the roof being able to support the weight).

This was an interesting book and while the distinction is slight, this was more about a moment in time, featuring The Beatles, than it was about The Beatles specifically. We don't really get as much about the Fab Four themselves as we might in many other books written about the group.  But we do get a number of first-hand accounts about what it was like being there, and the reactions to this group who didn't perform in public much any more, making a surprise rooftop appearance.

Looking for a good book? The Beatles On the Roof by Tony Barrell explores reactions from many different people to The Beatles' noted rooftop concert.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
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A wonderful read on an ‘impromptu’ concert whose legend has passed the test of time. The author really did his homework, and the book shines due to its extensive input from key actors and spectators of the event.’
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This one is for every Beatles fan!  Each time I read anything about John, Paul, George and Ringo I fall in love all over again.
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Author and music journalist Tony Barrell provides a comprehensive look into the atmosphere and influences that led to the Beatles’ historic last music session spontaneously held on Apple Records rooftop at a time when fans believed the band to have already broken up. Chock-full of interesting backstory and little-known tidbits about the bestselling band's history including song inspiration, lows, loves and why this final legendary concert even happened. A quick and good read well worth this Beatles fan’s time.
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Great book for  all the millions of international  Beatles fans. The story before and after the famous rooftop concert and the ways the Beatles innovated music industry, the way we enjoyed music and the way we felt about it.   I remember the excitement there was about that event but we, of course, didn't know it was to be the last appearance together of that famous band. Great research by the author.
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Arc provided from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I am a huge fan of the Beatles and this really satisfied my need. This book kept me interested all throughout, and I learned a lot of new things.

I loved how it interviews people who were there and helped make it happen. It was nice to see people’s opinions on it. I also liked how he didn’t sugarcoat anything that was happening at the time during the Beatles’ life. 

I also really loved the pictures at the end! It was a very nice touch. I’d defiantly recommend this book to any Beatles fan or just anyone looking for a good nonfiction read!
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As a Beatles fan and an historian, I absolutely adored "The Beatles on the Roof."

This charming books delves deeply into the unique moment of the Beatles' so-called roof performance, explaining why it wasn't really a gig nor as spontaneous as many people believe. It places the event in context, giving the background to what was going on at the time. Since it's such a targeted book, there's a lot of detailed tidbits you won't find in broader histories.

Reading more like a novel than a text book, this engaging work is a must read for any Beatles fan.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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An interesting book for any Beatles fan, but also for any music lover. I would recommend it to friends.
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"Most people call it the “rooftop concert”, so that’s what I usually call it. However, while it certainly took place on a rooftop, it wasn’t really a concert. When you go to a concert, the musicians don’t usually play a public sound check followed by a rehearsal of a song and then a proper version of it. But that’s what The Beatles were doing: they were doing takes of their songs. That’s what you do in a recording session, which is what it was. Except that it was more than that, as well."

The author weaves in all the current news stories, events going on at the same time, funny comments, reminiscences and memories, creating a book nostalgic and ideal for Beatles' fans.
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Many thanks to tony Barrell, Omnibus Press, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. This book was such a breath of fresh air to this huge Beatles fan! I'm so used to getting a rehash of their career. Instead I read about the "spontaneous event" that occurred on the roof of Apple Studios on January 30, 1969, a day that lives in the memory of so many people to this day and has not stopped inspiring other artists such as U2 and Blur. The angst of the Let It Be sessions bleeds from these pages. It's just heartbreaking and brutal. The pressure the mates was under cannot new measure. More concerned with jamming on oldies than writing new songs, it seemed as if no new albums would ever be released. No one was satisfied. It was agreed that the recording process would be recorded for the fans, but it just wasn't getting off the ground. So many ideas were tossed around. And then BAM!!! The rooftop! So Savile Row wasn't too happy; neither were the police. I think my favorite cop quote has to be,"Do you know that this is louder than a transistor radio?" Bahahaha really, officer? There is a beautiful photo section at the end. I particularly like the one of Paul meeting Linda for the second time in his life. Barrell did an outstanding job of allowing the reader to live these weeks again with the band. I definitely see myself repeatedly reading this book, and I'm overjoyed to have this as part of my memorabilia collection.
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I loved this book! I thought it was a super entertaining look into the beginning of the end of my all-time favorite super group, The Beatles. It was full of little tidbits that I found fascinating, both about The Beatles, but also about other happenings in London and the rest of the world that gave some insight into the band’s decision making that ultimately led to their last live performance on the roof top of 3 Savile Row. The book contains interviews from all sorts of people, from the police officers that came in to Apple Records to address the noise complaints from the bowler hat neighbors, to passerby’s who were in the right place at the right time to witness this historic event first hand. I highly recommend this book to any Beatlemaniac, like myself, or to anyone who has an appreciation for classic rock.
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As a huge Beatles fan I found this a well written and interesting read.  There will never be another band like them. I would loved to have been there but sadly too young!
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I learned a lot about The Beatles and this famous concert. They have always been my favorite band and I loved learning more about them. Thanks for the ARC.
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I loved this book The Beatles on The Roof by Tony Barrell. Reading this was having my dad back in the room again as he was a big fan of the Beatles. The author Tony Barrell has done a brilliant job writing this book. He writes with so much care and attention on this wonderful world of music and the history of this time 1060's of the individual lives of the Beatles.
My dad would of loved this book.

Thank you to the publisher Omnibus Press who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.
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The Beatles on The Roof is a delightful, focused account on that time and event in Beatle's history that elevated their final concert to the rooftop of Apple Records.

Author, Tony Barrell, does a fantastic job of bringing the time period into focus.  With detailed care he weaves world and music history into the moments that led to the concert so that the reader is brought into the late 1960's with a deep understanding of what was going on in society as the individual lives of the Beatles and their life as a band.

In addition he brings together facts that reveal more than I have read about this time period, and lifts some of the assumptions made if one sees or is told about the "Let It Be" film.  For instance the book details George Harrison's part of the deliberations about a concert and being the hold out about not going to some exotic local.  This, as well as his argument with Paul McCartney sends him, as Ringo did earlier, walking away from the band for a period.  Not shown in the film, but in the book is the soon realization that George is a "key" member of the Beatles and thus when he is brought back, he is given a new respect that leads to his music inclusions on the later Abbey Road album.

Finally with all of the difficulties the band was having the inclusion of Billy Preston (a Harrison suggestion) they begin playing "nice," which leads to the rooftop concert.  I was also surprised that the concert almost did not happen until moments before it did.

Through the internet I was able to stream Let it Be after reading this book, and what used to be a "downer" film was suddenly a winner.  The band playing together on the roof was a reminder that "they could still do it."  That they four, with Billy, still gelled.  

As a Beatle fan I cannot sing the praises of this book enough.  Whether you want a detailed look into this history or just want a glimpse into the life of the Beatles this book is worth the read.
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It's difficult to find a new angle when the subject has been covered exhaustively over the last 50 years. More so when two of the main players, and many of the supporting cast are no longer with us.

I had such high hopes of this one. I love music biographies. But there was nothing about this book to move me from being just a casual Beatles fan to an enthusiast
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“Why Don’t We Do It …..On The Roof?”

As an avid Beatles fan and collector of both music and books by the band I found this to be an interesting read. It was helpful in providing context for the last ever appearance by the Beatles and perspectives from a number of individuals who to my knowledge had not been captured by previous music historians. The casual reader may find this a shade ‘anorak’ but I’m glad that Tony Barrell put in the effort to document this important event.
This book was provided as an advance copy by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Note : This book was reviewed as above on on 6 July 2018
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This was a short, easy read, full of interesting facts, informative asides, and rife with anecdote, detailing the rather depressing period leading up to the street-clogging Beatles "concert" on the roof of their Savile Row office building in London's toney Mayfair district. What they were actually doing is making a documentary about making an album, and they had ascended to the roof to record some songs, which is why they played some of them more than once - although the video release of the occasion doesn't make this clear. The film though, in many ways, became a documentary about the disintegration of the Beatles, and Let it Be became their swan song, even though they went on to record an equally famous (if not more so) album directly afterwards, called Abbey Road.

It was perhaps a fittingly cold day - especially on the roof where the wind blew across a London unfettered by the plethora of skyscrapers which have sprouted there more recently - to reflect the chill between the fab four, each wanting their own life, their own way, their own recognition. John was into heroin and even more into Yoko. He seemed completely lethargic, leaving it all on Paul to try and keep things moving, which made the latter seem like a drill-sergeant at times. George was disillusioned with being treated as third string after the internationally famous song-writing duo of Lennon-McCartney.

Ringo, whom the other Beatles called Ritchie - which after all was his name! - was annoyed by the constant bickering. He took off for a two week holiday. Later, George announced he was quitting and walked out. Eventually they all came back together, perhaps never more so than on the roof that day, when everything was forgotten but the band and the music, and they rocked out just like they had a mere half-dozen years before, at the start of their distress-flare career which arced so brightly over the sixties.

Paul really wanted to do a live concert and record that for the album. They talked about places they could do it - such as Tunisia or Russia, or even some venue in London, but George was dead set against performing live again. As each new suggestion was tossed out, one or other of them would veto it until the idea arose, parodying the words of a McCartney song, "Why don't we do it on the roof?" And after having people come in an put up scaffolding so the roof would not collapse under the weight of the people and equipment, they did it on the roof on a day that will be remembered in fame.

This book makes for a fascinating read (although I could have done without being reminded yet one more time that Paul's Höfner violin bass still had the playlist stuck on it from their last (real) concert in San Francisco's Candlestick Park from several years before.

The book had some ebook issues of the type which are common in Amazon's crappy Kindle app. In this case the issue was that the um was removed from the laut! I'm joking, but what I mean by that is that, the umlauts are off to the right of the letter they're supposed to be hovering above! I have no idea how that happened, but it was consistent throughout the ebook.

Presumably this will be fixed before the published version is released. I didn't even know it was possible to separate them like that, but I promise you if the Kindle-izing process can screw up an ebook, it will. You can't submit anything to this system except plain vanilla text if you don't want it mangled. My recommendation is to use the Nook format or a PDF. But note that I am highly biased against Amazon for its business practices and for personal reasons.

Apart from that, I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it as a worthy read.
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I suggest ALL Beatles fans read this book. It is a great addition to your collection. Well written and interesting.
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