Keith Urban, Brad Paisley among performers on Beatles TV special
Stephen L. Betts
Photo: Image by Getty Images for NARAS
Keith Urban and Brad Paisley were just two of the artists who took part in a special tribute to the musical legacy of the Beatles' Monday night (Jan. 27) in Los Angeles. The Fab Four's two surviving members, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, were in attendance as the Recording Academy taped the upcoming TV special, "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles." The special will air Feb. 9, 50 years after the group's first appearance on the "Ed Sullivan Show," which drew 73 million viewers and is widely considered as one of the most important moments in popular music history.
Keith was joined by John Mayer for "Don't Let Me Down" and Brad teamed up with Grammy winner Pharrell Williams (still rocking the hat he wore during Sunday night's Grammys -- and which now has its own Twitter hashtag, #PharrellsHat) for "Here Comes the Sun."
"We are honoring the most important band of all time, and trying to do justice to their song while two of them sit there," Brad said in an interview before his performance. "We know, going in, we're not going to sing like them, and we're going to try to do our own thing with it. But ... there's reasons why people get blasted when they cover Beatles songs in any situation. But here we are, we're all doing that tonight. So, I guess it's an even playing field in that sense."
Among the crowd-pleasing hits Starr and McCartney offered up were ''Sgt. Pepper," "Yellow Submarine" and "Hey Jude," where they were joined onstage by all of the evenng's performers. It was the first time the two Beatles had performed together since 2010.
Other acts on the upcoming special include Maroon 5, Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons, Alicia Keys and John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Gary Clark Jr. and Joe Walsh, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart who reunited as Eurythmics, Dave Grohl, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison's son Dhani.
"We were in a band. It's called the Beatles," Starr said near the show's end. "And if we play, John and George are always with us. It's always John, Paul, George and Ringo."
"The Night That Changed America" airs Feb. 9 on CBS.