When it comes to famous rooftop concerts, the most famous is probably that iconic performance by the Beatles, atop Apple Corps studios in London. But this was actually not the first concert to leverage the drama and technical challenge of a rooftop performance–or the last! Here’s our list of a few others you may not have seen or heard of–video clips included. In chronological order:
1. Roberto Carlos, Copam Building Rooftop, São Paulo, 1967
Singer and songwriter Roberto Carlos sung atop a roof more than a year before The Beatles did. A leader in Brazil’s 1960s rock-n-roll scene, he’s also known by the title King of Latin Music. Check out his rooftop living room set filmed with an artsy flair, and plenty of sullen women staring down the camera.
2. Jefferson Airplane, Schuyler Hotel, 1968
Jefferson Airplane, a psychedelic rock band took to the roof of the Schuyler Hotel to perform a free concert. They got through a 42-minute set before the police showed up.
3. The Beatles, Apple Studios Building, London, 1969
As mentioned, The Beatles played what is sometimes referred to as their final concert in January 1969, atop their recording studio in London. Footage from the rooftop concert was televised in the 1970 documentary Let It Be.
4. U2, Apple Studios, Los Angeles, 1987
Decades later, another epic concert took place on another world-famous band’s studio rooftop: U2. It created quite the stir with police, passersby, and the local community, and you can enjoy it all here:
5. Madness, Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, 2012
The band who sang “Our House” graced the rooftop of the Royal Family’s abode, seeing to the crowd in the courtyard below. This video incorporates other footage as well for more of a music video feel.
6. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Roof of Dick’s Drive-in, 2013 This concert had a lot of hype in the Seattle area, particularly because it features Mackelmore, Ryan Lewis, and friends performing on the roof of a popular local hangout. The event was set up for use in the music video for their song “White Walls”, though if you watch that video it’s only in there for a few seconds. Still, very cool!
So that’s our list, and hopefully it inspired you, but remember that these concerts were on flat roofs, so don’t get too inspired or carried away while working those steep roof lines! Maybe it reminded you that we’re all working in a fun and essential industry–after all, someone roofed every one of the buildings-turned-stages featured on this list. Any rooftop concerts we missed? Feel free to add those in the comments.