You 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.
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.