The Real Reason No George Harrison Songs Were Featured In The Beatles' 1969 Rooftop Concert

By the time The Beatles played their now-iconic rooftop concert at the Apple Records headquarters in London on January 30, 1969, the bandmates' relationships were already somewhat frayed. Like many relationships that were once great but eroded over time as people grow and change in different directions, The Beatles were hoping to recapture the simplicity of their early days; just four musicians (plus Billy Preston) and their instruments banging out some new songs for whoever happened to be walking by five stories below. 

But according to Salon, just weeks prior as the band was rehearsing  — something they hadn't done in years since they'd stopped touring — George Harrison and Paul McCartney got into a disagreement that ended in Harrison saying he was quitting the band and walking out of the rehearsal. The other members of the band carried on, maybe not believing Harrison would really quit. Or as Salon reported John Lennon said, they'd "just get Clapton" to fill in. 

Still, as history showed, Harrison did not quit. He played the 42-minute rooftop show, but none of his songs made the cut, according to Mental Floss, who reported it was because Lennon, McCartney, and Ringo Starr weren't sure if Harrison was going to be part of the show or not. But there are other theories too.

George Harrison said they might have played more songs if not for the cops

According to Rolling Stone, the show was cut short because the cops showed up to break up the surprise final concert — The Beatles first live performance in two years — because it lacked the required permitting. There were even instruments on the rooftop that were never used for any of the nine songs (via Beatles Bible) The Beatles played that day. 

As for Harrison's songs, Rolling Stone reported another fan theory is that he asked that his songs not be played, though why he would do that is unclear. Another factor that may have led to The Beatles skipping Harrison's songs like "For You Blue" was that the song wasn't loud enough to be heard on the windy rooftop. 

Later, Harrison showed no animosity about the show or the lack of his songs being represented. He is quoted in "The Beatles Anthology" as saying, "We recorded four or five tunes and we might have played a lot more if they hadn't switched us off — but that was enough."