What would music be without the Beatles? It’s a question we certainly don’t like to ponder, because the legacy The Beatles created in just 10 years is nothing short of astronomical. Interestingly, however, their success was created in a relatively short period of time, and their years of performing live were even shorter. As one of the bands who rarely played live after finding their audience, every performance carries weight.
So, after researching which movie is still available to the public, we’ve rounded up just five of these standout performances. Read and watch some unforgettable performances from Britain’s most beloved mops below.
1. Arenatearten Theater in Stockholm, Sweden, October 30, 1963
By the end of 1963, the Beatles had only released their first studio album, Please make me happy with their second release, With the Beatles, on my way. The group, however, watched their fanbase grow at an unprecedented rate. So when they had the opportunity to perform live on the Swedish TV show drop-in, they stood just on the precipice of world fame. For their drop-in performance, recorded at the Arenatarten Theater, the Beatles would have played two more songs after their first two-song set. Watch the Beatles perform “She Loves You,” “Twist And Shout,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “Long Tall Sally” below.
2. The Ed Sullivan Show in New York, New York on February 9, 1964
It wasn’t until 1964 that the Beatles performed before an American audience. On February 9, the band played a live set on The Ed Sullivan Show for approximately 73 million viewers. It was a turning point in the Beatles’ international career as well as a career high for Sullivan. This show even inspired other musicians, including Billy Joel.
3. Shea Stadium in New York, New York, August 15, 1965
In 1965, Beatlemania was in full swing. On top of that, The Beatles’ performance at Shea Stadium saw the biggest crowd of the band’s career to that point with 55,600 in attendance. And, predictably, it rained chaos on the stadium. The cheers from the crowd are thunderous and the venue’s security guards were often busy with fans desperately trying to reach the stage.
4. Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California, August 29, 1966
At Candlestick Park in 1966, the Beatles gave their last concert in front of fans. By this time, the Beatles had had enough of touring, and Lennon’s infamous “more popular than Jesus” had sparked deep anger among faith-based populations in the United States. The band therefore decided that Candlestick would be their swansong on tour.
“It wasn’t fun anymore,” McCartney said in the The Beatles Anthology documentary. “And that was the main point: we had always tried to keep a bit of fun to ourselves. In everything you do, you have to do it, and we were pretty good at it. But even now, America was starting to weaken because of the conditions of the tour, and because we had done it so many times. So, at Candlestick Park, it was like, ‘Don’t tell anyone, but this is probably our last gig.’
5. The roof of the Apple Corps headquarters in London, England, January 30, 1969
The real and last performance of the Beatles took place only a year before their official disbandment. Concocted in secret and unannounced, the famous rooftop concert was filmed for what would first appear in the 1970 documentary So be it. It was probably the end of an era.
Photo courtesy of Apple Corps Ltd.