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Paul McCartney records surprise birthday tribute in Japan (Spoiler alert)

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(Spoiler alert: If you do not want to find out about this surprise birthday tribute at this time, please revisit this article in February.)

During a recent soundcheck before a concert at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan, Paul McCartney and his band, along with a small audience, performed a celebratory birthday tribute to a well known American celebrity who will be turning 60 on January 12.

Below is a list of songs performed at the lengthy soundcheck on November 12, 2013, by McCartney, Brain Ray, Rusty Anderson, Abe Laboriel, Jr., and Paul “Wix” Wickens:

  • 01. Keyboard testing
  • 02. Jam
  • 03. Honey Don't
  • 04. Blue Suede Shoes
  • 05. Junior's Farm
  • 06. Letting Go
  • 07. C Moon
  • 08. San Francisco Bay Blues
  • 09. Happy Birthday To You > Shortnin’Bread
  • 10. Ram On
  • 11. Leaning On The Lampost
  • 12. Everybody Out There
  • 13. Bluebird
  • 14. Lady Madonna

Before “Happy Birthday,” McCartney said to those in attendance:

I don’t know if anybody knows Howard Stern ... Have you ever heard of him? ... Me neither .... He’a D.J. in New York. We’re just going to do a little “Happy Birthday” thing to him, OK? So at the end of it, if we say, “Happy Birthday, Howard,” at the camera, and we put the lights on the guys. Can we do that? Can we light up the fans?

McCartney then proceeded to perform the song, with his singing modeled after Marilyn Monroe’s interpretation, including a reference to a “Mr. President ... I mean Howard ...” After wishing Stern a happy birthday from Osaka, Japan, he led his combo into a truncated version of “Shortnin’ Bread.”

Of course McCartney was kidding when he said he hadn’t heard of “The King of All Media.” He has appeared on Stern’s radio program three times: Earlier this year, way back in 2001, and for Stern’s 55th birthday in 2009. During the latter, McCartney gave Stern an autographed Hofner bass guitar.

One of the funniest bits ever on the show was Stern’s pouting the day after McCartney gave him the instrument. Stern mock complained he was disappointed the bass was a replica, not the one he played with the Beatles. Stern has since told listeners he proudly displays it in a glass case in his home. Stern has also met the former Beatle on numerous other occasions, and McCartney even once unexpectedly called Stern at home.

Although Stern turns 60 on the 12th, the Sirius XM on-air celebration will take place on January 31 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. More information at Stern’s official site.

Keep up with Harold’s Performing Arts Examiner news columns. Just click on Subscribe above, or follow @DylanExaminer on Twitter. Harold Lepidus also writes the Bob Dylan column for Thanks for your support.


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