Other than the Beatles I really hadn’t thought about how many bands have played exclusive gigs on rooftops. But there are quite a few, here is a top ten, but I am not brave enough to rank them, so they are in chronological order. The list includes 4 British acts, 4 US artists, 1 Brazilian and an Irish band. Five of the rooftops, were in the US, four in the UK and one in Brazil. Sadly I never witnessed any of these rooftop shows firsthand, but I have been lucky enough to see six of these acts play live 🙂
1955 Elvis Presley – Porky’s Rooftop, Newport, Arkansas, USA – did the King kick it all off?
1967 Roberto Carlos – Copam Building, São Paulo, Brazil – not the footballer with the same name, this fella was known as the King of Latin Music
1968 Jefferson Airplane – The Schuyler Hotel, Manhattan, NYC, USA – way before they converted to a Starship, they laid the foundations for the city they built on rock ‘n’ roll
1969 – Beatles – Apple Building, Saville Row, London, UK – the last live show the Fab Four ever played. The title of this post is a John Lennon quote from that gig.
1987 U2 – Apple Studios, Los Angeles, USA – part of the ‘Rattle And Hum’ shenanigans I think
2010 Bon Jovi – O2 Arena, London, UK – Jon, Richie and the boys stepped onto the roof of the venue they were playing a residency at
2011 Kasabian – Skylight West, NYC, USA – the Leicester lads play a set to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, or maybe the 40th anniversary of Mulberry, or maybe both!
2012 Madness – Buckingham Palace, London, UK – the Nutty Boys played for Her Maj on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee – Brian May also played the rooftop. Hardly the Pistols riverboat trip back in ’77, but I suppose it’ll do.
2013 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Dick’s Drive In, Seattle, USA – I so wish they had played on the roof of a “Thrift Shop”. This wasn’t their only rooftop gig that year, check out the video below.
2021 Bull – EMI Head Office, Kings Cross, London, UK – one of York’s finest showcased their debut album ‘Discover Effortless Living’ with a fab show which was streamed earlier tonight. A small roof for a band, a giant leap for bandkind! Terrible pun I know, but trust me, Bull really are destined for great things!
Given that it was 1955 and there was no social media there appears to be no footage of Elvis’ roof top gig. Bull’s marvellous set is not on YouTube yet, but click here and it might still be available on their Facebook page 🙂
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