English rock outfit The Beatles catapulted to super stardom in the ’60s with hits such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Eight Days a Week.” After the release of 10 classic albums, the band called it quits in the summer of 1969. The closed the curtain on their illustrious career with a performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on August 29, 1966. The concert went on to become one of the most iconic moments in music history.
We’re taking an inside look at that legendary final show and checking in on how the Fab Four have remained just as popular 50 years later.
See The Beatles For $4?
Source: SF Gate
The capacity for Candlestick Park was 42,000. Unfortunately, the promoters (Tempo Productions) were only able to sell 25,000 for the final Beatles concert. Tickets for this concert cost a shocking $4.50 and $6.50. The money guarantee for The Beatles to perform that day was $60,000.
Loss of Money
Source: Bob Campbell, SFC
Aside from their $60,000 money guarantee, The Beatles took 60% of the overall gross. The city of San Francisco managed to take 15% of the gross, and they were able to get 50 free tickets out of the deal. Obviously, this was a major loss of money for Tempo Productions.
Source: Fred Pardini/AP
The stage was located right behind second base on the field. Something that annoyed fans very much at the event was the six-foot high wire fence surrounding the five-foot stage. This obviously meant that they couldn’t get close to their favorite band during their final performance ever.
The Supporting Acts
Source: SF Gate
The MC for the performance was “Emperor” Gene Nelson, who was the host for local radio station 1260 KYA. For their last show, The Beatles allowed some opening acts to perform. The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle, and The Ronettes had quick sets when doors opened at 8 p.m.
Their Final Setlist
Source: ABC 7
The Beatles made their way to the stage for the last time at 9:27 p.m. and played only 11 songs. Their setlist was “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.”
Did They Invent the Selfie?
Source: Beatles By Day
Most bands at that time didn’t really take photos of themselves on stage. For their final performance, John Lennon and Paul McCartney brought a camera on stage with them. After their final song, the band stood in front of the crowd and took a picture with them. This was basically a prototype “crowd selfie,” something pretty common from performers at concerts today.
Audio of the Last Concert
Source: Beatles By Day
Before heading onto the stage, Paul McCartney wanted their press officer Tony Barrow to make an audio recording of the show. With a handheld recorder in hand, he proceeded to record the show, but since he forgot to flip the tape over, he didn’t get a recording of their final song. While McCartney kept it hidden, the audio has found its way online.
A Different Kind of Performance
Source: SF Chronicle
Unlike the other performances on their final U.S. tour, their last show was a lot more energetic than usual. This show was also a lot longer than their typical 20-minute set. While their banter is tightly scripted, their final set found them going a bit loose with their dialogue.
Such a Tease
Source: Meet The Beatles For Real
After performing their final song for the evening “Long Tall Sally,” that was it for the legendary rock outfit. John Lennon wanted to joke around with the guys and the crowd by playing the first opening bars of the song “In My Life” before joining the rest of the band backstage.
It’s Really Over
Source: ABC 7
After the set, the band was taken to an airport in an armored car. They made their way to Los Angeles from San Francisco. During this flight, George Harrison was heard saying, “That’s it, then. I’m not a Beatle anymore.” The flight landed on 12:50 a.m., and that was it for The Beatles. Though The Beatles were officially finished, their presence in pop culture has remained strong to this day.
Finally on iTunes
Source: Windows Technico
The Beatles were one of the last acts from the era who didn’t have their music available on iTunes. The reason behind this was a long battle between Apple Inc. and Apple Studios, which was founded by members of the band. In 2003, Apple Studios sued Apple Inc. after they claimed there was a contract breach after the opening of iTunes. Under their old contract in 1991, Apple Inc. wasn’t allowed to go into the music distribution business under their name. In 2010, all of their albums were available on iTunes.
Streaming the Beatles
Today, streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music are the biggest way to have fans listen to music at their leisure. In December 2015, rumors about the act’s albums being available on streaming services were all over the place. On Christmas Eve, it became a reality, and The Beatles are now available on nearly every streaming service available.
Their Own Rock Band Title
In 2009, video game developers Harmonix released “The Beatles: Rock Band” for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii. The video game features 45 songs from the band’s catalog. The game sold around 3 million units worldwide. Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr made public appearances to support the game.
Cirque Du Soleil
In 2006, Cirque Du Soleil started their production Love, which finds them combining their massive stage performance with re-imagined music from The Beatles. Sir George Martin, who produced nearly every album from the band, and his son Giles Martin, were the music directors for this performance. For their 10 year anniversary in 2016, they’ve updated the performance to include new music and costumes.
The Night That Changed America
On February 9, 2014, CBS aired “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles.” The event featured performances from Katy Perry (“Yesterday,”) Eurythmics (“The Fool on the Hill,”) and Stevie Wonder (“We Can Work It Out.”) Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney also joined forces for “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Hey Jude.”
Glee Sings the Beatles
Source: Hollywood Reporter
While the TV show Glee has covered songs from The Beatles before, they delivered a ton of Beatles love with the first two episodes of their fifth season. On September 24, 2013, Fox released the soundtrack “Glee Sings the Beatles,” which debuted at number 38 on the Billboard 200 chart and number two on the Billboard Soundtracks chart.
Across the Universe
In 2007, Revolution Studios released the film Across The Universe, which is based around The Beatles’ songs. The movie, which stars Jim Sturges and Evan Rachel Wood, features 33 songs from the act’s catalog. The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and an Oscar for Costume Design.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
Source: Hollywood Reporter
In September 2016, the documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week was released in theaters and on Hulu. It was directed by Ron Howard, and it also has support from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison. Digitally remastered footage from The Beatles’ 1965 concert at Shea Stadium appears in the film.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Source: Cinema Blend
In the 2007 comedy film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Dewey Cox heads to India where he encounters The Beatles. The Fab Four were played by Paul Rudd (John), Jack Black (Paul), Justin Long (George), and Jason Schwartzman (Ringo). George Harrison’s son Dhani congratulated Long on his performance.
Kidz Bop Tribute
Kidz Bop are known for covering various songs from artists past and present. In 2009, they released “Kidz Bop Sings the Beatles” along with Kidz Bop 17. The release topped the Top Kid Audio chart. This is their only collection in their vast catalog devoted to a specific musical artist.
Sgt. Pepper, 50 Years Later
June 2, 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. The album’s cover art depicted 61 significant people, from Oscar Wilde to Marilyn Monroe. On the album’s 50th anniversary only five of those 61 are still alive, and only two of those are Beatles (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr). The other survivors are Bob Dylan, singer Dion DiMucci, and sculptor Larry Bell.