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 Entertainment

Today’s celebrity birthdays

Fresh
tomlin

These celebrities will celebrate their birthdays on Labor Day.

in Sports

Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

Basketball

Kenneth Faried scored 22 points, Anthony Davis all of his 19 in the second half, and the U.S. rebounded from a rare deficit at halftime to beat Turkey 98-77 on Sunday in the Basketball World Cup.

in Sports

AP source: Chiefs’ Smith agrees to 4-yr extension

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) signals at the line of scrimmage behind offensive tackle Eric Fisher (72), guard Geoff Schwartz (74), and next to fullback Anthony Sherman (42) against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has agreed to a four-year, $68 million extension that includes $45 million in guaranteed money, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press.

in Sports

49er McDonald jailed for alleged domestic violence

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, foreground, stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

Police in Northern California say San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald has been arrested on domestic violence charges.

in Sports

NCAA Football: Top 25 scoreboard

football genric image

The Associated Press Top 25 scoreboard

Bellingham Traffic