The cop who broke up the Beatles’ Rooftop performance has no regrets

London Metropolitan PC Ray Dagg, then 19, was more of a Simon & Garfunkel fan

The cop who broke up the Beatles' Rooftop performance has no regrets

Published January 7, 2022

Peter Jackson’s documentary in three parts The Beatles: Come back tells of rehearsals and recording sessions that culminate in the Beatles’ iconic 1969 rooftop performance – including the moment the police arrived to break things up. Over five decades after pulling the plug on what would be Fab Four’s last live appearance, Constable Ray Dagg has no regrets about bringing his appearance to an end.

In his first TV interview since Jackson Come back was released, Dagg told CTV News about how he has received letters from around the globe about the recordings of his 19-year-old self in the documentary, which shows him patiently begging Apple Records employees to stop the source of the noise that attracted the crowds to the street and the surrounding rooftops.

Dagg, now 72, recalled when he spoke to CTV News how he had only been at work for six months, mainly in traffic service, before being assigned a concert control job on January 30, 1969. He remembered: “The sergeant said to me : ‘Before you go anywhere on your beat, go and shut that noise down, because it’s not just the noise, it’s the people on the street, thousands’. “

Dagg told the TV station that he thinks he was locked into the building because he looked young. Footage from a camera hidden in the Apple Records lobby shows him polite but determined to seek his way up to the roof. “I think I’ve been stopped here,” he said. “I think there’s a limited amount of time I’m ready to put up with it.”

When Dagg reaches upstairs, cameras capture him in conversation with the Beatles’ road manager Mal Evans as the band continues to play. Dagg recalled, “I said, ‘That’s what I’ve been very patient. I’ve tried to accommodate you, but you show no sign of stopping – tell the four of them they’re under arrest.”

“So that would have meant arresting them on private property and taking them outside,” he continued. “And then I would have had a lot of trouble, a huge amount of trouble if I had turned up at the station with the Beatles in tow … wrongfully arrested them.”

Dagg, who preferred Simon & Garfunkel over Fab Four, said he only found out that the Beatles’ rooftop show was their last appearance ever after Apple Records producers contacted him to Get movies back. “They could easily have done many more concerts together, they broke up shortly after they were on the roof,” he says of the band. “I was there by chance … pure coincidence. I feel responsible for it … no one.”

Read Exclaim!’S review of The Beatles: Come back, and watch a trailer here for the long documentary series now streaming on Disney +.

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