The Beatles’ rooftop performance arrest ‘was a bluff’ – ‘Should have resigned’

The Beatles’ documentary directors reportedly “tried to give the police money” after the arrest threats had been made.

On January 30, 1969, The Beatles played together for the final time on the rooftop of their company’s building, Apple HQ, in London, UK. The performance was filmed by their documentarians, led by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who was filming the Let It Be movie to coincide with the release of their final album of the same name. Although they were threatened when they started playing, the police officer who was there that day has now laid down the truth.

PC Ray Dagg was just 19-years-old when he attempted to stop The Beatles’ performance on the building’s rooftop. At the time, a number of noise complaints had been submitted, potentially ruining their final public gig.

Footage of the gig showed a few police officers – including Dagg – threatening to arrest the band. However, the man himself has now claimed his words were nothing more than empty threats.

He said he was “running a bluff”, noting he could not arrest The Beatles because they were on “private property”.

He added: “At 19, I was pretty gung-ho and I think I probably might have, and taken the flak afterwards for wrongful arrest.”

The Beatles

The Beatles’ rooftop concert in London (Image: GETTY)

Paul McCartney and John Lennon visibly smirked when the police turned up to “arrest” them, but former PC Dagg now regrets his actions.

“It was just work,” he told The Mirror. “And it’s blown up into all this. I didn’t know they’d never play together again. At least there’s something on a film somewhere that will forever show that PC Ray Dagg shut down the Beatles. If that’s my lasting image of life, that’s not bad.”

Dagg, who is now in his 70s, claims he was “offered £3,000” from the Let It Be filmmakers to leave the gig. He didn’t accept the money – but he also regrets that decision.

The Beatles rooftop concert

The Beatles played the roof of their Apple HQ (Image: GETTY)

Dagg said: “If I knew then what I know now, I’d have resigned and taken the money.” He went on to quit the police force six years later in 1975, and went on to have a successful career in sales.

McCartney even started poking fun at the officers during the performance. He changed the lyrics to one of the songs to hit out at the police trying to do their jobs.

He improvised some of the lyrics after he locked eyes with Dagg and his fellow police officers.

He reportedly crooned: “You’ve been playing on the roofs again / And you know your momma doesn’t like it / She’s going to have you arrested.”

Ringo Starr later reminisced about how the band was struggling to decide where to play on that fateful day. At one point, they were not even going to play at all.

The directors of the documentary urged the band to find somewhere to play.

Eventually, they had a brainstorming session. Ringo recalled: “There was a plan to play live somewhere. We were wondering where we could go. [We said:] ‘Oh, the Palladium or the Sahara.’ But we would have had to take all the stuff, so we decided ‘let’s get up on the roof.'”