beatlessignCYou could say “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles”  was 50 years in the making since it marks the 50th anniversary of The Fab Four’s historic debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. In truth, it was over ten years in the making according to Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich, longtime producer of The GRAMMYs and many other music shows including “Come Together: A Night for John Lennon’s Words and Music.”

Ehrlich told the studio audience at last night’s taping that he was in talks with former Apple CEO, the late Neil Aspinall, to do a Beatles special for the 40th anniversary of the Ed Sullivan performance but it “wasn’t the right time.” Ehrlich, a self-proclaimed Beatles fan himself who said he even applied to run Apple in the 1960s, put together a stellar group of musicians to pay tribute to The Beatles just one night after The GRAMMY awards telecast.

This GRAMMY Salute to The Beatles does not disappoint — all the performances are top-notch. While the audience patiently awaits the reunion between Paul and Ringo at the end, highlights by other performers include a special Eurythmics reunion to sing “Fool On the Hill,” a duet between Alicia Keys and John Legend performing “Let It Be,” and a touching rendition of “Something” performed by Jeff Lynne and Joe Walsh joined by George Harrison’s son, Dhani Harrison, which was introduced by Johnny Depp.

Jeff Bridges, who said he got to meet the Beatles at a Hollywood charity party on August 24, 1964, introduced Ringo Starr who shouted it was “Starr Time” as he sang classic covers of songs from The Beatles’ days of “Matchbox” and “Boys.” Starr then gave a rousing rendition of “Yellow Submarine” which unified the audience in spirit.
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Sean Penn then introduced Sir Paul who took the stage with his own band. McCartney explained his initial hesitance for taking part in the show: “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,'” which convinced him to do it. He performed “Magical Mystery Tour,” “Birthday,” “Get Back,” and “I Saw Her Standing There” on his own.
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When McCartney started singing “Sgt. Pepper”, the crowd knew what would happen next. “Billy Shears,” a.k.a. Ringo joined Paul onstage to sing “With A Little Help From My Friends” making this 50th anniversary tribute a historic night on its own. Ringo then took a seat at the drums to accompany Paul on the finale of “Hey Jude.” All the performers from the night including members of The Beatles “Love” Cirque du Soleil show joined in at the end.

This Beatles show was a wonderful tribute and was reminiscent of the touching, classy performances at the Concert for George from 2002. The big difference was that it was less of a memorial and more of a celebration. However,  Ringo summed it up well when he said, “We were in a band. It’s called The Beatles, and if we play, John and George are always with us. It’s always John, Paul, George and Ringo.”
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Tune in February 9, 2014 for some more history-making performances on “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles” on CBS, you don’t want to miss it!
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FULL PERFORMANCE LIST
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Maroon 5 – “All My Loving”, “Ticket to Ride”
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Eric Idle as Nigel Spasm from The Rutles introducing Beatles biography clips
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John Mayer and Keith Urban – “Don’t Let Me Down”
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Ed Sheeran – “In My Life”
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Alicia Keys and John Legend – “Let It Be”
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Imagine Dragons – “Revolution”
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Katy Perry – “Yesterday”
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Eurythmics – “Fool on the Hill”
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Pharrell Williams and Brad Paisley – “Here Comes the Sun”
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Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne – “Hey Bulldog”
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Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh, Dhani Harrison – “Something”
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Gary Clark Jr, Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh – “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
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Stevie Wonder – “We Can Work It Out”
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Ringo Starr – “Matchbox”, “Boys”, “Yellow Submarine”
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Paul McCartney – “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Birthday”, “Get Back”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
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Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – “With A Little Help From My Friends”, “Hey Jude”
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