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 February 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
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
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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
The 50th anniversary tribute will air on CBS on February 9.
(Reporting by Tim Reid; editing by Mike Collett-White)
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