The Beatles: The Way Listeners Reacted to ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ Upon 1st Release

The Beatles‘ rooftop concert is one of the most famous concerts in the history of classic rock. During an interview, Paul McCartney revealed the concert was designed to anger a certain type of listener. Notably, The Beatles played “Don’t Let Me Down” during the concert. The song garnered a different reaction at the concert than it did on the pop charts.

The Beatles' Paul McCartney holding a guitar
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney | PA Images via Getty Images

Paul McCartney didn’t care that not everyone enjoyed the rooftop concert

The Guardian reports several businessmen were in the vicinity of The Beatles when they performed their rooftop concert. One of these businessmen said The Beatles’ concert disrupted his work. Paul compared this man to a character in A Hard Days’ Night who got upset at the Fab Four and commented that he fought in World War II for “your lot.” Ringo Starr retorted “I bet you’re sorry you won!”

“There’s always the guy in the bowler hat who hates what you’re doing,” Paul said. “He’s never going to like it, and he thinks you’re offending his sensibilities. But you’ve got to remember, as we always did, there’s the people who work for that guy. There’s the young secretaries, the young guys in the office, or the tradesmen or the cleaners. Those are the people who like us. Also, a lot of the bosses too. 

“We always knew that there’s the establishment, then there’s the working people,” Paul added. “And we were the working people. Working people tended to get us, and understand what we were doing. And occasionally, you would get the kind of snob who would get angry. In a way, that was part of the fun.” 

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The way the world reacted to The Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’

“Don’t Let Me Down” is one of several famous songs The Beatles played during their rooftop concert. The track became a massive hit, even if not everyone at the concert enjoyed it. “Don’t Let Me Down” peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for four weeks. The Beatles initially released the song as a stand-alone single; however, it later appeared on the compilation album 1967–19701967–1970 reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 182 weeks.

On the other hand, “Don’t Let Me Down” did not have as much of an impact in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the song did not chart there. Meanwhile, 1967–1970 reached No. 2 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 131 weeks in the 1970s. It later charted at No. 4 in the 1990s.

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The impact of the rooftop concert

Beyond solidifying “Don’t Let Me Down” in the memories of many fans, The Beatles’ rooftop concert had a major impact on pop culture. Both The Simpsons and the Beatles jukebox musical Across the Universe referenced the iconic event. Footage of it appeared in Peter Jackson’s documentary The Beatles: Get Back. Even if it was meant to annoy some listeners, the rooftop concert still rocks over 50 years later.

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