"Don't Let Me Down": 50 years and two rooftops later.

Hey Hooligans, it's Rob again!


We've recently released a cover of The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down", as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of their unnanounced rooftop concert, which ended up being their final live performance as a band.




As the resident music historian of Grawlix, I've always loved sharing cool tidbits with the band. At the tail end of 2018, we began jamming on a version of "Don't Let Me Down". As we practiced the tune, I remembered that January 30, 2019 would be the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' rooftop concert, which featured the song. I presented a challenge to the band: Record and release a cover of "Don't Let Me Down" and post it on the actual 50th anniversary.


To my pleasant surprise, everyone in the band was on board. Cisco then upped the ante by suggesting that we not only record a cover, but film a rooftop video as well! We proceeded to spend most of January rehearsing our own arrangement, adding in a guitar/bass solo section featuring Connor, Josh, Cisco, and myself. For those who are unfamiliar with the events that led up to The Beatles' rooftop performance, I can say for sure that Grawlix's month learning that song was a LOT happier than it was for the Fab Four.



- The Beatles at Twickenham Film Studios, January 2-15, 1969.

- Photos: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.


At the beginning of January 1969, The Beatles got together in a cavernous film studio to rehearse and jam new and old material as part of an ill-fated attempt at touring again after not being on the road since August of 1966. "Don't Let Me Down" was one of the first songs brought to the table. After spending the past couple years making increasingly complex psychedelic recordings with dense layers of overdubs, The Beatles sought to "Get Back" to basics: Live performances, no overdubs, keeping the music stripped down. Documentary camera crews captured just about every moment on film and audio.


Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a harmonious time for the band turned tense as arguments and egos cast a shadow on the first three weeks. The worst moment by far was George Harrison's week-long departure from the band itself after several heated arguments with Paul McCartney and John Lennon.


Luckily, George agreed to return, but only if the notion of touring was dropped, and that the band instead properly record their new songs at their Apple Corps recording studio. Joined by keyboard legend Billy Preston, the group reconvened in the cozy basement studio, where they spent the remaining 11 days of the month recording almost all of the material that wound up on the eventual "Let It Be" album in 1970, as well as continued jamming of covers and originals.



- Recording in the Apple Corps basement studio, January 21-31, 1969.

- Photos: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.



Although the concept of a tour was dropped, the idea of performing a single show for the film cameras was presented instead. At the suggestion of either John Lennon or producer Glynn Johns, the band decided on January 30th, to perform on the roof of Apple Corps. The five songs recorded, (some multiple times), were "Get Back", "I've Got A Feeling", "The One After 909", "Dig A Pony", and of course, "Don't Let Me Down".



- The final live performance, January 30, 1969.

- Photos: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd.


As for Grawlix, we first recorded a basic version of "Don't Let Me Down", in our own basement studio for playback purposes the night before our video shoot. We then set out on a blisteringly cold Saturday afternoon, to film ourselves playing the song on a scenic roof. Some of us even tried to dress similarly to The Beatles on that day: Cisco as George, Josh as Paul, Mario as Ringo, and myself as John.


Unfortunately, there were a few hiccups in our plan: Connor Hart, one of our lead guitarists, was unable to make the video shoot due to unfortunate circumstances. However, his part was recorded along with the basic track and his presence is certainly felt on the recording, (That's his Union Jack guitar propped up in our video). I was also just coming down with a whopper of a head cold and being on a cold rooftop normally wouldn't be an advisable decision. But there was no way I was going to let anybody down.


Any worries or concerns we had were quickly alleviated and we had a lot of fun with the filming/recording. Thanks to the efforts of videographer Rick DiMichelle and almost a dozen of our close friends and family, our time spent on that frigid roof filming and singing were well-worth the effort.



Once we had the footage filmed, I bunkered down and worked on the editing, mixing, and mastering of the audio track. While occasional drop-ins and sweetening were necessary, the large bulk of the recording is live and stripped down, just as The Beatles intended, in January 1969. I also cannot thank Kelsey enough for she spent hours editing the video footage into the finished product and her hard work shows!


So I hope you all enjoy watching our tribute to my favorite band of all time, and if you like what you see, please subscribe to our youtube channel. There will be more new videos coming soon!


- Rob


#Grawlix #TheGrawlixMusic #TheBeatles #DontLetMeDown #IndieRock #CTMusic-

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