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Danger Mouse on Broken Bells' Letterman Beatles tribute, infamous 'Grey Album'

Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Mercer, also known as Broken Bells, celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” Feb. 3 with a unique re-imagining of "And I Love Her" that was broadcast "The Late Show with David Letterman." (You can see the video on this page.)

The cover of Broken Bells "After the Disco" album.
Nasty Little Man

For their tribute, the duo combined "And I Love Her" with a loop of Ringo Starr's original beats from "I Am The Walrus." The performance also featured a video montage of Starr's drumming which was then edited together to sync up with Burton and Mercer's cover.

Following their performance, the band members sat down in the Ed Sulllivan Theater, where the show is taped and where the Beatles made their "Ed Sulllivan Show" debut, for an interview with Paul Shaffer of talking about how the audio/visual tribute was created and how they became Beatles fans.

“That song has been one of my favorite Beatle songs, actually,” Mercer told Shaffer. “And then Brian, you had the idea of sort of meshing it with another song.”

“The drum beat we used was from 'I am the Walrus. And so we just played with Ringo playing that,” Danger Mouse said.

“This was not only a drum loop, but syncing it up to the picture,” Shaffer commented.

“It was really just the idea it was going to be one loop and a video that just looped over and over. And my engineer, Todd, back in L.A., I said, 'Hey, can you mock this up.' I wasn't even in the studio. I came back and he had this great loop going. And it looks real homemade. And it was kind of what we wanted to do, just kind of throw it together and kind of something that didn't take too much wizardry or anything like that to do, just something that was simple,” Danger Mouse said.

“So we're just following Ringo,” Mercer added.

Danger Mouse was one of those (with Jay-Z) behind the controversial 2004 “Grey Album,” a Beatles mash-up album which was hit with a cease and desist order by EMI.

“It was just going to be an experiment and I started panicing that someone else is going to do it before me, so I had to do it really quickly. I did it in a couple of weeks. I think the reason everybody knows about it is because it was highly illegal and not allowed. I think it had many flaws to it as a piece of art, but it is what it is. But I think all the attention brought up a lot of interesting things.”

The group just released its latest album, “After the Disco” (also available on iTunes) and begins a world tour in February. You can find the full interview with Shaffer on YouTube.


Stick with Beatles Examiner for all the latest stories about the 50th and don't miss our special roundup: Beatles 101: Read all about it: Our fab stories on the Beatles' 50th anniversary.

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