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#askNat – concerning a Beatles’ rooftop gig attendee’s likeness to Cynthia Lennon

This week on #askNat we are hearing from Jim Trawiki in Austin, Texas who has sent me this inquiry:

In the film Let It Be, there is a scene during the rooftop performance of two women sitting in the street below, near a red phone booth. One of the women is blonde, and is wearing dark sunglasses. For years I have wondered if this woman was indeed Cynthia Lennon. It’s not unlikely that Paul (or even John) but more likely Maureen (Ringo’s wife), who was ON the roof, would have told Cynthia that The Beatles were playing on the roof that day, so she wouldn’t miss their final performance. Any insights?

Thanks!

I have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical about this one at first. But then, after a few more email correspondences back and forth with Jim, I found out exactly the scene he was referring to and his curiosity started to make more sense.

During that January 30th, 1969 performance on the rooftop of Apple Headquarters in London, The Beatles played “Get Back,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “One After 909,” “Dig A Pony” and then a second run through of “Get Back.” There were actually more repeat performances but these were cut out of the film. During the performance of “Don’t Let Me Down,” the cameras scan the busy street below to show the reactions of the passers-by to the surprise lunch-hour mini-concert. It is this part of the film that Jim mentions above. Just before the camera returns to the roof and John comically flubs the first line in the final verse of “Don’t Let Me Down,” we see these two young women pictured below sitting on a street-side bench seemingly enjoying the music as they observe the crowd that is building up around them. And yes, the blonde looks a lot like Cynthia Lennon (see photo).

A blonde fan enjoying The Beatles rooftop performance up above her looks like Cynthia Lennon (?)

A blonde fan enjoying The Beatles rooftop performance up above her looks like Cynthia Lennon (?)

Cynthia Lennon (circa 1969-early 70s)

Cynthia Lennon (circa 1969-early 70s)

Looking at the picture of Cynthia to the left which is from around the same period and despite the different shade of blond, I can still see the resemblance and why Jim wonders if it is her. However, I’m sure some will say “no way!” It’s a moot point anyway though because there is nothing to substantiate that it’s her. One might also ask themselves if they think Cynthia would have even wanted to be there so soon after John had replaced her with Yoko Ono. I’m thinking “no, probably not.” However, when the Let It Be film made it’s premier at the London Pavilion on May 20th, 1970, Cynthia was in attendance, along with Paul’s ex-fiance Jane Asher. Needless to say, The Beatles themselves, with their break-up already official, didn’t bother to go themselves, which is a little sad.

Extra info: Ringo Starr’s wife, Maureen Starkey and John’s future wife, Yoko Ono, were present on the roof during the Beatles performance. I’m not sure where Paul’s fiance Linda Eastman was or George’s wife Pattie Boyd.

Thank you for a great topic for discussion, Jim! If anyone has anything to add please do so in the comments section below. Thanks all for reading!


Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:

1) There is a designated form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks), but modfied to do both BROW requests and #askNat questions.

2) If you are a Facebook user, you can submit your question right on TheBeatlesRarity FB wall at www.facebook.com/beatlesrarity. If you think about it, try to remember to flag your question with “#askNat”.

3) Similarly, if you are a Google+ user, you can submit your question on TheBeatlesRarity Google+ page at www.gplus.to/beatlesrarity. Google+ supports hashtag searchability so it will be helpful if you preface your question with “#askNat” here too.

4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.


Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase music or media related to this post:

1) John – Cynthia Lennon’s newest book (published in 2006) about the truth between her and John.

2) Let It Be 2009 remaster of original 1970 LP (CD or vinyl available). Includes three tracks from rooftop concert: “Dig A Pony,” “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “One After 909.”

3) Let It Be… Naked – 2003 issued re-working of Let It Be LP removing production by Phil Spector and allowing for “stripped-down” versions of the music (available in import vinyl or CD). Includes four tracks from rooftop concert: “Dig A Pony,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “One After 909″ and “Don’t Let Me Down.”

4) Beatles/Beatles-related Music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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20 Comments

  • JD says:

    I love ya Nat, and think this is fab..! I think only one correction: moot point.

    I LOVE THIS SITE!!!

  • Lennonista says:

    You’re right that it’s moot/mute ‘cuz we can’t be 100% certain, but as a Lennon watcher my whole life, I reeeeeally don’t think that’s Cyn. And here’s some possible evidence: The fan in the street is wearing a ring on her wedding/engagement ring finger. In January of ’69, Cyn was neither married nor engaged. She was dating Bassanini, and they were on a ski trip that month. (Don’t know the exact dates, though.)

    On a side note, I used to have a boyfriend whose birthday was January 30, 1969. Definitely the coolest thing about him. lol Alas, he and I went the way of The Fabs…

  • Andy says:

    Perhaps we can revisit this in better detail if they ever decide to release the film on Blu-ray. I do hope. . .

  • jim says:

    i sent an email to julian via his website, and asked him to ask him mom. maybe he will reply and the mystery will be solved.
    thanks,
    jim

  • Bob Dudek says:

    I dont see why it wouldnt be her. She was with Maureen Starkey the night Lennon was shot and that was 12 years later. It was John , not the rest who cut her out with surgical precision. And its well know she NEVER got over him. Julian said so just this week in an interview. Why cant she be asked? You must know someone with connections Nat.

  • Clare Kuehn says:

    We could ask her. Maybe on Twitter?

  • briligdave says:

    And is that Franzie Schwartz with her ?

  • Sarah says:

    Yes, both Cyn and the woman had similar long blond hair with bangs (very common in that time and place) and were of average build (ditto).

    It’s really hard to make a positive ID since her head is turned so far away from the camera, but what can be seen of the face does not look to me like Cyn.

    I wonder if we can see other shots of the woman in question in the Let it Be footage. That would help.

  • Giusi Mandarino says:

    i think that is her. In fact i recognized the green ring she was wearing in the footage is the same ring she wore during an interview done some years later.

  • Joe says:

    Only slightly off-topic, I could swear I see Linda Eastman in a crowd shot on the Shea Stadium video. Has this ever been addressed/raised?

  • Joe says:

    Wow–so out of 50,000 girls in the crowd dreaming of marrying a Beatle, it actually came true for two of them!

      • Steve Bruun says:

        Meryl Streep was at the subsequent Shea concert in ’66, but hasn’t claimed a Beatle of her own (yet). In the “Anthology” video, you can see her off to the side while a CBS News reporter tries (and fails) to get her friend to say that the Beatles are on their way out.

  • Jeannette says:

    I don’t think that was Cynthia or else she would’ve mentioned it at some point.
    Also, Cynthia does not do anything social media (Twitter, Facebook, so on). According to Julian, Cynthia doesn’t even know how to turn on the computer! All I know is that she currently lives in Spain as a widow for the past year

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