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Friday, January 29, 1999 Published at 18:34 GMT


Fab Four tribute raises the roof

The Bootleg Beatles on the roof of 3 Savile Row

A Beatles tribute band turned back the clock by performing a show on top of the former Apple Records building in London, almost 30 years after the Fab Four did it for real.

On 30 January, 1969, The Beatles appeared on the roof of the building at 3 Savile Row - better known for its tailors' shops - and performed an impromptu gig.

But the concert, which featured US soul star Billy Preston on organ, came to an abrupt halt after just 42 minutes when angry neighbours called the police.

Friday's show did have police permission - it was part of a charity fundraiser organised by the building's new occupants, the Building Societies Association.

In the audience was Sliding Doors director Peter Howitt, a friend of the group's George Harrison-lookalike Andre Barreau, who was fiming the performance.

'Used to play on roofs in 1970s'

He said: "We met 25 years ago when we were both news information clerks at the BBC. We used to go up on roofs back then and pretend to play guitars together. We had a kindred Beatles spirit.

"Andre actually went on to become one and I didn't, and I just followed them around. I'm just making the documentary of Andre's never-ending Beatle life."

Also in the audience was 50-year-old Steve Lovering, who witnessed the original performance when he was an art student.

"I was visiting a friend when we heard somebody tuning up. We were both in bands ourselves and when we heard them start playing I thought, 'I know this one,' and we nipped out there," he recalled.

Crowds gathered

"I stood on the same spot on the street as I did then and I realised what a crap view I must have had, but the major thing back then was the fact they were actually playing something together again after all the rumours they were splitting. It really took me back."

Just like 30 years previously, crowds gathered in the street, on windows, and on the roofs of nearby buildings.

The group played for around 25 minutes with songs like Revolution, Hey Jude, Get Back, and Don't Let Me Down - although only the latter two were in the set list at the original show.

The Bootleg Beatles have survived longer than the original Fab Four did - and the group's John Lennon, Neil Harrison, hoped they would still be together to recreate the event in another 30 years.

"It's lasted nearly 20 years, so I don't see why it can't last another 30 years," he said.

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