Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited once again during last night's telecast (February 9th) of the CBS Grammy Awards Beatles tribute show, The Night That Changed America. The star-studded special, which taped in L.A. on January 27th -- the day after last month's Grammy Awards, aired at 8 p.m. -- 50 years to the day and hour that the Beatles made their debut appearance in America on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Dhani Harrison took the stage to play his late father George Harrison's masterpiece "Something" with ELO's Jeff Lynne and Joe Walsh. Although Sean Lennon was visible throughout the show singing and clapping along in the audience, he did not perform. After playing show closing solo sets, Ringo Starr joined McCartney's band to sing lead on his signature tune "With A Little Help From My Friends" before drumming on the show's finale, "Hey Jude."
Throughout the special, David Letterman, who tapes his Late Show at the same studio where the Beatles shot their Sullivan Show appearances, interviewed McCartney and Ringo both together and on their own. He was with them as the pair stood together on the theater stage for the first time since they taped their final performance for Sullivan on August 14th, 1965: "(Ringo): No, I was just so excited -- I mean, even coming back yesterday. . . (Letterman): Yes. . . (Ringo): Coming back, I've been back, a hundred times . . . (Letterman): Uh-huh (Ringo): I've done the show with you, but it's like I'm getting involved in the excitement of it all then. Y'know, it's not like we go around and say, 'oh that day. . .' Now I'm here, I'm looking out the window, I'm in the Plaza (Hotel) and all the kids were down there. (McCartney): Mmm. (Ringo): And now we're back on this stage again. The memory I have, if we weren't standing here, was it was four times bigger than this. (Letterman): Oh yeah. (Ringo): Y'know what I mean -- you felt there was thousands of 'em but, really no. (Letterman): Well, there was another balcony. . . (Ringo): Ah, okay. (Letterman): There was a third level of about 150 more seats. So, it wasn't that many more -- but enough to make a difference. (McCartney): But it's like going back to your old school, isn't it? (Letterman): Yeah. Well, that's right, yeah. (McCartney): It looks little now, but it was huge when you were. . . yeah."
Among the high profile artists saluting the "Fab Four" were the evening's core house band, which consisted of Peter Frampton and Toto's Steve Lukather -- who is also current All Starr Band member -- on guitars, producer and musical director Don Was on bass, longtime Eric Clapton keyboardist Gregg Phillenganes, and John Mellencamp and John Fogerty drummer Kenny Aronoff.
The setlist for CBS' Grammy Awards Beatles tribute show, The Night That Changed America was:
"All My Loving" and "Ticket To Ride" - Maroon 5
"We Can Work It Out" - Stevie Wonder
"Here Comes The Sun" - Brad Paisley, Pharrell Williams, and the troupe from Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles LOVE
"Something" - Joe Walsh, Jeff Lynne, & Dhani Harrison
"Yesterday" - Katy Perry
"Don’t Let Me Down" - Keith Urban & John Mayer
"In My Life" - Ed Sheeran
"Let It Be" - Alicia Keys & John Legend
"Revolution" - Imagine Dragons
"The Fool On The Hill" - The Eurythmics
"Hey Bulldog" - Dave Grohl & Jeff Lynne
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - Gary Clark Jr., Joe Walsh, and Dave Grohl
"Matchbox, "Boys," and "Yellow Submarine" - Ringo Starr
"Birthday," "Get Back," and "I Saw Her Standing There " - Paul McCartney
"Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" - Paul McCartney
"With A Little Help From My Friends" - Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr
"Hey Jude" - Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, all the evening's performers, and the troupe from Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles LOVE