Apple books the Royal Albert Hall for a potential Beatles live performance

Thursday, September 26, 1968

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On September 14, 1968, Paul McCartney announced to music magazine Melody Maker that The Beatles “will be doing a live TV show later in the year

On this day, according to Barry Miles in “The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years“, Apple booked the Royal Albert Hall for several days in December, in preparation for a possible live performance by The Beatles, alongside other Apple artists like Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax.

The New Musical Express reported this news in its October 5, 1968 edition.

The NME understands that via their Apple Company, The Beatles have booked the Royal Albert Hall, London, for a live concert in December.

There are reports that other Apple artists – possibly Mary Hopkin – will also take part.

If finalised, the London date will be the Beatles’ first performing public appearance in Britain since the NME concert at Wembley on May 1, 1966.

Recently Paul McCartney has been quoted as saying he would like to perform on stage again, following the reaction to the in-person TV appearance of the Beatles singing “Hey Jude“.

No confirmation of the concert was available from Apple as the NME went to press this week, however.

From New Musical Express, October 5, 1968

This idea to use the Royal Albert Hall would be called off on October 12, 1968, in various press articles.

From New Musical Express, October 5, 1968
From New Musical Express, October 5, 1968

Music magazines would give various updates on this “live TV show” project between September 1968 and early 1969. The project would morph a few times and would lead to the “Get Back / Let It Be” sessions in January 1969, the Beatles’ last live performance on the rooftop of the Apple building, and the release of the “Let It Be” film in 1970.

Timeline of events:

  • September 14, 1968 – Paul McCartney said to Melody Maker that The Beatles “will be doing a live TV show later in the year
  • September 26, 1968 – Apple booked the Royal Albert Hall for several days in December, in preparation for a possible live performance by The Beatles, alongside other Apple artists like Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax.
  • October 12, 1968 – New Musical Express and Melody Maker reported that the plan to use the Royal Albert Hall was no more and that London’s Chalk Farm Roundhouse was now the likely venue for a Beatles live TV special.
  • November 6, 1968 – Apple announced that the Beatles had booked the London Roundhouse to play three successive nights (a run-through, a dress rehearsal and a final show), between December 14 and 21, 1968.
  • December 1968 – The live show was postponed to January 18, 1969, with a rehearsal and a run-through possibly on January 16 and 17. The Roundhouse was not considered anymore and the venue was still undecided. More rumours came through : that the show could be held in Liverpool, that American singer Andy Williams could join.
  • January 2 – The “Get Back / Let It Be” sessions started at Twickenham Film Studios.
  • January 4 – Melody Maker reported that the Beatles planned their first-ever “live” album, to be taped at the special live TV show. No more dates or potential venus were mentioned anymore.
  • January 19 – Melody Maker reported that the Beatles were rehearsing, and that a documentary film would be made from those sessions, in addition to the live album already mentioned.

Last updated on September 15, 2021

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