Today in History: The Beatles Say Goodbye

There was a big talk at Candlestick Park that this had got to end. At that San Francisco gig it seemed that this could possibly be the last time, but I never felt 100% certain till we got back to London. John wanted to give up more than the others. He said that he’d had enough—Ringo Starr, Anthology

After a couple hundred live shows over five years—lunchtime shows at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, long nights in Hamburg’s red light district, world tours, three annual tours of America—The Beatles took the stage at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on this date 50 years ago. It was the nineteenth and last show of their latest American tour, and the four men on stage and a few others knew one other thing about it: it was going to be their final live performance as the Beatles.

No announcements were made from the stage regarding this, but the group set up a camera to snap a few photos and asked their press officer, Tony Barrow, to record the show with a handheld tape recorder.

The show was unremarkable in almost every other way: it started at 8:00, the Beatles did not take the stage until 9:30 p.m. and only played eleven songs in a half an hour, it was a Monday night show, so tickets remained unsold—only 25,000 tickets out of 42,000 available were purchased.

The eleven songs they played: “Rock And Roll Music,” “She’s A Woman,” “If I Needed Someone,” “Day Tripper,” “Baby’s In Black,” “I Feel Fine,” “Yesterday,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Nowhere Man,” “Paperback Writer,” and “Long Tall Sally.”

Tony Barrow forgot to flip the cassette after it clicked off at the 30-minute mark, so the recording ended during “Long Tall Sally.” He made a copy for himself and gave the cassette to Paul McCartney. Both men kept their tapes under lock and key, and then “bootleg” recordings of the show started to appear on the market. They ended with a complete rendition of “Long Tall Sally,” which marked the recordings as fake, cobbled together from other sources.

And then a bootleg appeared that ended in the middle of “Long Tall Sally,” a detail that only Tony Barrow and McCartney would have known about. Barrow (who died at age 80 in May of this year) and McCartney have both always maintained that they do not know how the tape wound up on the market. But it did:

“If you hear a bootleg version of the final concert that finishes during Long Tall Sally it must have come either from Paul’s copy or mine, but we never did identify the music thief!”—Tony Barrow.

The Beatles performed live one more time: in 1969 from the roof of their Apple Corps headquarters on Savile Row in London.

* * * *
The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) published the following bulletin on this date in 2005:

1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina reached peak strength—Category 5—and overnight made its second landfall, along the Gulf Coast from New Orleans, Louisiana, to the east eleven years ago today. In the early morning hours of August 29, the eye-wall crossed Buras-Triumph, Louisiana. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the city of New Orleans for the first time in that beautiful city’s history. Up to 20% of the city’s residents could not make it out and shelters were established, including at the Louisiana Superdome, which sheltered more than 25,000 individuals for the next several days. The highest casualty estimates are that up to 1836 people died in Katrina’s wake, 1500-plus in Louisiana.

* * * *
Éamon de Valera died in 1975 on this date. Lowell Thomas died 35 years ago today. Ingrid Bergman died on this date in 1982; it was her 67th birthday.

* * * *
John Locke was born on this date in 1632. Ingrid Bergman was born on this date in 1915. Charlie Parker was born in 1920 on this date. Richard Attenborough was born 93 years ago today. Charles Gray was born on this date in 1928. James Brady was born on this date in 1940. Michael Jackson was born 58 years ago today.

* * * *
Senator John McCain is 80. Elliott Gould is 78. Robin Leach is 75. Bob Beamon is 70. Dr. Temple Grandin is 69. Diamanda Galás is 61.

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  1. vermontbookworks · August 29, 2016

    Reblogged this on Vermont Book Works and commented:
    I can remember this, like it was yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. vermontbookworks · August 29, 2016

    Great article. I put it up on my blog site as well. I and some friends had a band around the same time. Those were fun times.
    Vermont Book Works

    Liked by 1 person

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