Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will perform together on “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America – A Grammy Salute.”
The primetime entertainment special, presented by The Recording Academy, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS, will celebrate the remarkable legacy of the seven-time Grammy Award-winning Beatles and their groundbreaking 1964 first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Originally slated to be a two-hour event, the special has added an additional half-hour with the overwhelming success of the taping, a wealth of archival material, and new interviews. The show will be broadcast exactly 50 years to the day, date and time of the original event, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday on the CBS Television Network.
The all-star lineup for this historic event features performances and presentations by The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, Kate Beckinsale, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark, Jr., Johnny Depp, Dave Grohl, Eric Idle, Imagine Dragons, Alicia Keys and John Legend, Anna Kendrick, David Letterman, LL COOL J, Jeff Lynne, Maroon 5, John Mayer and Keith Urban, Katy Perry, Brad Paisley and Pharrell Williams, Sean Penn, Ed Sheeran, Joe Walsh, Stevie Wonder, and a one-night-only reunion of Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.
The house band for the event includes notable musicians Kenny Aronoff (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Chris Caswell (keyboard), Peter Frampton (guitar), Rami Jaffe (organ), Steve Lukather (guitar), Greg Phillinganes (keyboard) and Don Was (bass), who also served as musical director.
The special will feature David Letterman interviewing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at the iconic Ed Sullivan Theater; recollections from three fans who were in the audience for the Beatles’ first performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”; and interviews with three people who worked at the show and were there that night.
“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America – A Grammy Salute” will commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the most historic moments in music and television. Featuring today’s top artists covering songs performed by the Fab Four that momentous evening in 1964 and other Beatles classics through the years, the show will also include footage from that landmark Sunday night, as well as other archival material. In addition, various presenters will help highlight and contextualize the musical, cultural and historical impact of the group and this legendary performance, according to a news release.
The Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” is one of the most-watched television events ever, with 74 million people tuning in to watch the group perform five songs during the variety hour. It is considered by many historians and critics to be one of the most important moments in music and television.
My excellent colleague George Lang chatted with KOMA on-air personality Ronnie Kaye and other local luminaries about the 50th anniversary. To read his fascinating feature, click here.