And eventually the police showed up, much as it had been anticipated they would. Mal Evans had had the foresight to put a camera in the lobby, which captured the bobbies coming in and waiting politely to be escorted onto the rooftop. According to Bob Spitz,

The police were friendly but insistent: “Honestly, the music has got to go down, or there’s going to be some arrests,” they avowed. No one was being threatened, they assured Mal. “But can you please turn it down? Can you turn it off, please? Thank you.

Please and thank you – what a colossal letdown. Ringo was especially crestfallen. “When [the police] came up, I was playing away and I thought, ‘Oh, great, I hope they drag me off,’ ” he recalled. Ringo fantasized about being physically restrained “because we were being filmed and it would have looked really great, kicking the cymbals and everything.” No such luck, but they still achieved their purpose by having the police interrupt the concert. The Beatles against the establishment: it would look great on film.

“I’d like to say thanks on behalf of the group and ourselves,” John mugged into the camera, “and I hope we passed the audition.”

And that’s how The Beatles’ live career, and the Let It Be movie, end — not with a bang but a whimper. But truth be told, despite all the accompanying stress and hassle, The Beatles (and in this case by The Beatles I mean Paul) actually did pretty much accomplish what they’d set out to do back at the beginning of the month. Their live performances were superb, and several tracks recorded today ended up being the ones that appeared on the album. And the movie too was eventually finished — though by the time any of this saw the light of day, The Beatles would be a thing of the past, like a supernovaed star whose light finally reaches Earth.