Beatles’ Insider Ken Mansfield, Witness to Their Rooftop Concert, Dies

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Ken Mansfield, a longtime record label executive, including serving as U.S. manager for The Beatles’ Apple Records, died Nov. 17, 2022. His death, at age 85, was announced by former Apple assistant, Chris O’Dell, in a Facebook post. In her announcement, O’Dell noted “there are only two of us left from the roof audience.” She is referring to The Beatles’ legendary 1969 performance on the Apple roof in London, the subject of the acclaimed 2021 film from Peter Jackson, The Beatles: Get Back. (The other employee that O’Dell referred to must be Alan Parsons, who at the time worked as an engineer at Abbey Road Studios.) Neither Mansfield’s cause of death nor the location was disclosed.

In 2018, Mansfield wrote a book, The Roof: The Beatles’ Final Concert. Publisher Post Hill Press described it as “a touching and comprehensive look back on one of rock ’n’ roll’s most significant events, while bringing an insider’s perspective to the days leading up to those 42 fascinating minutes of the Beatles’ monumental rooftop concert.”

As the U.S. manager of Apple, Mansfield was on the scene in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the event.

In The Roof, Mansfield “shares his insights into what brought The Beatles up onto that cold windswept roof and why one of the greatest bands of all time left it all on the stage that day,” said the announcement. It continued: “The Roof offers a unique view of that day through crafted personal stories, a look at the fascinating cast of characters surrounding the Beatles at the time, and an account of the events…of January 30th, 1969, but also a gentle and deep understanding of the smallest nuances of that day.”

Watch the Beatles perform “Get Back” on the Apple roof

Related: We look back at the Beatles’ legendary rooftop concert

Mansfield began his record label career in his late ’20s in 1965 as a promotion manager, collaborating with local radio stations to get airplay for such acts as The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Bobbie Gentry and the Steve Miller Band. When The Beatles started Apple, they hired him as their U.S. label manager, including its output for such acts as Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and James Taylor.

After serving in executive roles for several other labels, Mansfield helped to popularize the Outlaw movement in his role as a producer for such acts as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and others. He later authored many books; The Roof was the last.

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  1. Tom
    #1 Tom 19 November, 2022, 09:58

    There were lots of employees, crew and associates milling about up on the rook. But the other person from the “audience” that’s still with us would be Yoko

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  2. TyStick
    #2 TyStick 19 November, 2022, 10:40

    The Roof was a very good book. I enjoyed every minute of it. RIP Ken Mansfield. You were a great engineer and promotional producer. The Greatest Rock generation are leaving us way too fast.

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