On March 21, 1967, a short way into the The Beatles “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” session for the Paul McCartney song “Getting Better”, John Lennon announced he was feeling ill and was taken onto the roof of Abbey Road Studios for some fresh air by George Martin.
Unbeknownst to Martin, Lennon was actually experiencing and acid trip. Martin recalls:
“I was aware of them smoking pot, but I wasn’t aware that they did anything serious. In fact, I was so innocent that I actually took John up to the roof when he was having an LSD trip, not knowing what it was. If I’d known it was LSD, the roof would have been the last place I would have taken him. He was in the studio and I was in the control room, and he said he wasn’t feeling too good. So I said, ‘Come up here,’ and asked George and Paul to go on overdubbing the voice. ‘I’ll take John out for a breath of fresh air,’ I said, but of course I couldn’t take him out the front because there were 500 screaming kids who’d have torn him apart,. So the only place I could take him to get fresh air was the roof. It was a wonderful starry night, and John went to the edge, which was a parapet about 18 inches high, and looked up at the stars and said, ‘Aren’t they fantastic?’ Of course, to him I suppose they would have been especially fantastic. At the time they just looked like stars to me.”
This is what the roof of Abbey Road Studios looks like.
In 1970 John Lennon recounted the incident for Rolling Stone Magazine in 1970:
“I never took [LSD] in the studio. Once I did, actually. I thought I was taking some uppers and I was not in the state of handling it. I took it and I suddenly got so scared on the mike. I said, ‘What is it? I feel ill.’ I thought I felt ill and I thought I was going cracked. I said I must go and get some air. They all took me upstairs on the roof, and George Martin was looking at me funny, and then it dawned on me that I must have taken some acid. I said, ‘Well, I can’t go on. You’ll have to do it and I’ll just stay and watch.’ I got very nervous just watching them all , and I kept saying, ‘Is this all right?’ They had all been very kind and they said, ‘Yes, it’s all right.’ I said, ‘Are you sure it’s all right?’ They carried on making the record.”
So much history in one building. Here’s the google satellite link to the Abbey Road roof.
The Beatles did lots of things on rooftops.