18th February 2019
Music student Mark Readman is living the dream; for his final year project on the Extended Diploma Music Performance and Production course he is recreating the Beatles ‘Let it Be’ album, including the groups’ iconic impromptu London rooftop concert – 50 years on, only this time at York College!
Mark, aged 18, is a massive Beatles fan. He remembers walking to school listening to the Beatles and immersing himself in their music throughout his teenage years. Stepping into the shoes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Billy Preston (electric piano), Mark (a singer and bass guitarist) enlisted the talents of fellow music students to make up the five piece band.
The Beatles' rooftop concert was their final public performance. On 30th January 1969, the band, with keyboardist Billy Preston, surprised a central London office and fashion district with an impromptu concert from the roof of the headquarters of the band's multimedia corporation Apple Corps 3 Saville Row. In a 42-minute set, the Beatles played nine takes of five songs before the Metropolitan Police asked them to reduce the volume. Footage from the performance was used in the 1970 documentary film Let it Be.
Mark says: “To recreate the rooftop performance – fifty years on, I used the same techniques, amps and stage set. Playing the full set outdoors (Get Back, Don’t Let me Down, Dig a Pony, One After 909 and I’ve got a Feeling), we overlooked the large podium deck at the rear of the College.”
Mark Readman (formerly of Selby High School)
Michael Purdie-Abbott (formerly of St Aidan’s CE High School)
James Beardsley (formerly of King James’s School)
Jack Hunter (formerly of All Saints RC School)
Rory Laws (formerly of Bootham School)
Mark’s research took him to Liverpool to see where the music began and where he made part of the film/documentary for his project. There is also a potential trip to Abbey Road Studios and to 3 Saville Row to see the original rooftop venue.
Going on to recreate the Let It Be album in its entirety, Mark will score the whole album using a collaborative approach; the York College orchestra will record the string parts, the College choir will supply the backing vocals and Mark has enlisted the help of the Wetherby Silver Band (where he plays tuba) to supply the brass sections.
Mark adds: “This project is a great way to end my studies at York College. When I left Selby High School I wanted to study the Level 2 Music course as I felt the College offered the best facilities and equipment to feed my love of music. Progressing to the Extended Diploma in Music Performance and Production course has enabled me to specialise more in the kind of projects that interest me. I am looking forward to the next stage of my studies - I hope to study a degree in Performance and Song Writing at LIPA and in the future I like the idea of becoming a college music tutor.”
Click below to listen to Mark's interview with BBC Radio York just after the gig had finished: