It was 41 years ago today (May 19th, 1979) that a select group of party-goers witnessed the closest thing to a live Beatles reunion when Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr reunited to jam at Eric Clapton’s wedding reception at his English estate.
The impromptu performance marked the one-and-only time that the three former-Beatles had played in public together since the group’s final performance on the Apple Rooftop on January 30th, 1969, also on 3 January 1970, George, Paul and Ringo met at Abbey Road Studios to work on the track with producer George Martin.
Clapton had married Harrison’s ex-wife Pattie Boyd, and set up an outdoor stage for a mammoth jam session which featured the three ex-Beatles, a reformed Cream, the Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman, Elton John, David Bowie, and many more. John Lennon was living in the U.S. at the time, and was not present.
Although the three former “Fabs” also took part in a makeshift sing-a-long jam at Starr’s wedding in 1981, the Clapton wedding reception marks the only time that the former Beatles made music onstage in a somewhat professional manner.
Among the many songs reported to have been performed that day were the Beatles’ 1967 classic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.”
The celebration included a stage set-up, where guests could take the stage and jam. Photo by Zak Starkey, it shows Zak (on guitar),Jim Capaldi on drums and #PaulMcCartney on bass (playing a right-handed bass guitar).