News

McCartney, Starr sing Beatles classics to mark U.S. TV debut

McCartney, Starr sing Beatles classics to mark U.S. TV debut

50 YEARS LATER: Paul McCartney (L) and Ringo Starr perform during the taping of "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles", which commemorates the 50th anniversary of The Beatles appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show." Photo: Reuters

By Tim Reid

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr led a star-studded rendition of the classic Beatles song “Hey Jude” in Los Angeles on Monday night as they commemorated 50 years since the record-breaking British band first appeared on U.S. television.

In a rare joint appearance singing Beatles numbers, McCartney and Starr were flanked on stage by artists including Stevie Wonder, R&B singer Alicia Keys and country singer Keith Urban to celebrate the night in 1964 when The Beatles were watched by 73 million Americans on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In a concert being filmed for “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles,” McCartney and Starr paid special tribute to their former band members, John Lennon and George Harrison. Lennon was shot and killed in 1980. Harrison died of cancer in 2001.

“We were in a band called The Beatles and whenever we play George and John are always with us,” Starr told the crowd. McCartney said: “Tonight we are remembering our beautiful friends John and George.”

The Beatles, wearing black suits and mop top hair, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, to screaming crowds in what became a seminal moment for the British band, and U.S. television. Nearly 50 percent of American households with televisions tuned in.

Technicians on the Ed Sullivan set 50 years ago were broadcast at Monday night’s tribute explaining that the “crowd shot” was born that night in 1964. The teenage audience was so hysterical that a camera was devoted entirely to their reaction, a television first.

McCartney, playing guitar, and Starr on drums, brought Monday night’s tribute to a rousing close both with “Hey Jude” and another classic Beatles song, “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

They were watched by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, 80, and Harrison’s widow, Olivia. The last time McCartney and Starr performed Beatles songs together was to celebrate Starr’s 70th birthday, in 2010.

In a three hour tribute before they appeared, a series of artists performed Beatles numbers.

British pop duo Eurythmics – singer Annie Lennox and musician Dave Stewart – reunited to perform “The Fool on the Hill”, and U.S. singer Katy Perry sang a version of “Yesterday”.

Oscar-winning actors Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges and Sean Penn were among a Hollywood crowd which danced along to the music.

Even the Beatles’ backing musicians were not anonymous journeymen: they included The Eagles’ Joe Walsh and singer-songwriter Peter Frampton.

The 50th anniversary tribute will air on CBS on Feb. 9.

(Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Recent Headlines

in Music

Arcade Fire confused by fans’ love for free downloads

Win Butler and Reed Parry of Arcade Fire perform at the 2014 Big Day Out Festival.

Arcade Fire are baffled by the avalanche of online file-sharing because fans will regularly buy expensive coffee but expect to get records for free.

in Viral Videos

Mini Dominoes break World Record

Mini Dominoes

The challenge gets bigger as the Dominoes get smaller!

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: How to cool a drink in two minutes

Cold Drinks

Never drink a lukewarm beverage again! Check out this helpful summer trick.

in Music

The Beatles wanted to film ‘Lord of the Rings’

FILE- This is a 1967 handout image from Parlophone of The British group, The Beatles,. From left, are: Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney; and George Harrison. The woman who as a child was the basis for the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is gravely ill. It was thought by many at the time that the psychedelic song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band was a paean to LSD because of the initials in the title, but it was actually based on a drawing that John Lennon's young son Julian brought home from school. He told his father the drawing was of Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Lucy Vodden, now living in Surrey just outside of London _ drifted apart after schoolyard days, but they have gotten back in touch as Lennon has tried to help Vodden cope with Lupus, a life-threatening disease.

Peter Jackson reveals John Lennon could have played Gollum in a Stanley Kubrick directed LOTR adaptation.

in Viral Videos

Baby elephant meets a cat

Elephant Meets Cat

Maybe this elephant is more of a dog lover?