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

2 hours ago in Sports

Super Bowl 50: Broncos vs. Panthers, coverage begins at 11:00 a.m. on KPUG!

Westwood One Panthers Broncos Super Bowl 50

You can hear all the action from Levi's Stadium beginning at 11:00 a.m. Sunday on KPUG!

8 hours ago in Sports

Favre, Stabler, Harrison, Greene, Pace, Dungy voted to Hall

halloffame

The announcement was made Saturday, a day before the Denver Broncos face the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.

8 hours ago in Sports

Warriors win 41st straight home game, 116-108 over Thunder

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30), Draymond Green (23) and Klay Thompson (11) walk up court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, in Dallas. Curry had 29-points, Green had 20-points and Thompson had 25-points in the 105-98 Warriors win.

Stephen Curry scored 26 points and the Golden State Warriors won their 41st straight regular-season home game, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-108 on Saturday night.

9 hours ago in Sports

MVP Newton, Watt, Rivera, Berry big winners of NFL awards

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton

Newton, the Carolina Panthers star, won The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year awards Saturday night.

10 hours ago in Sports

Denver brings dominant defense into Super Bowl 50

bradybroncos

The "Orange Rush" finished first in the NFL in sacks, yards per play, pass defense and total defense.

Bellingham Traffic