Stars line up to pay tribute to The Beatles
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 9:51 a.m.
LOS ANGELES — There's an easy way to give pop music's most performance-hardened stars a case of the butterflies: Ask them to perform in front of The Beatles.
Many of today's top artists gathered Monday night to honor The Beatles' legacy, with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in attendance and late members John Lennon and George Harrison always in mind, at The Recording Academy's taping of “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles.”
John Legend and Alicia Keys sang “Let It Be.” Katy Perry performed “Yesterday,” while her boyfriend, John Mayer, teamed with Keith Urban on “Don't Let Me Down.” And Brad Paisley and Pharrell Williams took on the challenge of “Here Comes the Sun,” a song well-known to millions of music fans.
“We are honoring the most important band of all time, and trying to do justice to their song while two of them sit there,” Paisley said in an interview before his performance. “We know, going in, we're not going to sing like them, and we're going to try to do our own thing with it. But ... there's reasons why people get blasted when they cover Beatles songs in any situation. But here we are, we're all doing that tonight. So, I guess it's an even playing field in that sense.”
It was until McCartney and Starr took the stage, turning what had been a fairly sedate affair into an arm-in-arm sing-a-long of hits “Hey, Jude,” ''Sgt. Pepper” and “Yellow Submarine” that prompted movie stars and Grammy Award-winning musicians alike to sing along like giddy kids.
The telecast will air Feb. 9, 50 years after The Fab Four made their first appearance in front of an American television audience on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” It was a historic moment with more than 73 million Americans tuning in, changing pop culture in profound ways.
Even so, McCartney told the crowd he was hesitant to agree to commemorate it.
“What can I say about this evening, it's just amazing,” he said. “At first when I was asked to do the show, I was wondering if it was the right thing to do. Was it seemly to tribute yourself? But I saw a couple of American guys who said to me, ‘You don't understand the impact of that appearance on the show on America.' I didn't realize that.”
Grammy producer Ken Erlich said the tribute event was more than a decade in the making and was produced at the Los Angeles Convention Center with archival footage from the band's “Ed Sullivan” era as well as their psychedelic and hirsute, hipster periods.
Maroon 5 kicked off the show by re-creating the opening moments of the Feb. 9, 1964, appearance with “All My Loving,” then “Ticket to Ride.” Keys and Legend faced each other as they sat at matching black baby grand pianos. Mayer and Urban traded guitar licks, as did Gary Clarke Jr. and Joe Walsh on “As My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics reunited to play “The Fool on the Hill.”
Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne hammered deep cut “Hey, Bulldog,” and Harrison's son Dhani joined Lynne and Joe Walsh on his father's classic “Something.” Stevie Wonder performed “We Can Work It Out” twice, asking for a retake after a slow start on his first attempt.
“Fire me, sue me,” he joked with the crowd.
Starr took the stage next and marveled at Wonder's appearance: “I've got to tell you, what a thrill following Stevie Wonder.”
The drummer performed three songs alone, including “Yellow Submarine” at the request of Grohl's young daughter. McCartney took the stage next for five songs of his own before Starr returned for a finale that included a group sing-a-long of “Hey, Jude.” It was the first time the two had performed together since 2010.
“We were in a band. It's called The Beatles,” Starr said near the end of the show. “And if we play, John and George are always with us. It's always John, Paul, George and Ringo.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Samsung introduces free streaming radio service
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Steelers score with Springdale fundraiser
- Alle-Kiski car dealers ready for thaw
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Lincoln Way work finally set to begin
- Steelers restructure Brown’s contract to become salary cap compliant
- Neighbors say bright, flashing sign interferes with sleep
- Clairton Seuss Cafe just what doctor ordered for love of reading
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs