As Beatlemania flooded fans in America and the U.K. throughout the mid-1960s, The Beatles were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of screeching fans at all of their performances. Around that same period in their career, the band pursued a more serious style of music away from the two-minute, radio-friendly pop songs of their early days and opting for a more psychedelic and immersive approach on albums like Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. With screaming fans drowning out the music, and the more comprehensive orchestration required to pull off their newer material, The Beatles ultimately opted to end touring once and for all in 1966.
It was 56 years ago today when The Beatles played their last-ever performance at the famed Candlestick Park, the former stadium of the San Francisco Giants. Though fans didn’t know it would be the final show, there was already talk of the band’s unreasonable live shows among their true fans. The band knew that it was time, with John Lennon especially eager to work in the studio in lieu of playing shows on the road.
The show itself saw the band play eleven songs in total: “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”. Paul McCartney had asked their publicist Tony Barrow to record the show, equipping him with a hand-held recorder to copy the footage onto an audio cassette. Unfortunately, the cassette-only lasted 30 minutes on each side, and Barrow never flipped the tape over, so the final song—”Long Tall Sally”—is cut off in the final recording.
Fortunately, that record still survives, and we can enjoy the Beatles’ final performance a full 56 years later after it happened. Listen in below.
The Beatles – Candlestick Park – San Francisco, CA – 8/29/66
[Video courtesy of elevatorsfan]
Of course, the final years of The Beatles’ reign are well documented. The Candlestick Park show wasn’t the last time the band ever played before an audience, as they famously played on the rooftop of Apple Records a full three years later. However, considering that this was the last-ever official ticketed concert that The Beatles ever played, we thought it important to honor such a momentous shift in rock and roll music.