But it was nearly five decades ago that he, along with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, sang to the screaming crowd at Candlestick Park “I Wanna Be Your Man,” one last time.
Wednesday marked the 46-year anniversary of the Beatles’ final performance in San Francisco. Actually, it was their last concert in any city as the Fab Four.
The band played an eleven-song set at the blustery former home of the San Francisco Giants to a crowd that didn’t know they were witnessing history. The Beatles would not be seen “live” again until the 42-minute set they played on top of Apple Record Studios in London in 1969.
Think of how telling it would have been if the band had performed “Tomorrow Never Knows” off their then-new LP Revolver.
That final Candlestick concert sold a paltry 25,000 tickets — far from a sell-out — at a whopping $4.50 to $6.50 a ticket. The Beatles took the stage just behind second base a little before 9:30 p.m.
Knowing it would be their last concert, Lennon brought a small camera onstage to take photos of the crowd and of his band mates. Starr would later say in an interview made part of The Beatles Anthology that Lennon had “wanted to give up more than the others. He said that he’d had enough.”
Paul McCartney asked Beatles press rep Tony Barrow to record the concert on what was then a new-fangled audio cassette recorder. Barrow held his recorder up in the middle of the Candlestick field to record the entire show, except the end of “Long Tall Sally,” which got cut off when the tape ended.
Fittingly enough, the Beatles also kicked off their first-ever US tour in San Francisco as well, playing the Cow Palace on August 19, 1964. They sold more than 17,000 tickets that night, taking the stage around 9 and opening with “Twist And Shout.”