The Grammy Salute "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show". The show aired on CBS on February 9th exactly 50 years to the day, date, and time of the original event. This first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" is one of the most watched television events ever — with 74 million people tuning in to watch the group perform five songs during the variety hour. It is considered by many historians, critics, artists and viewers as one of the most important moments in music and television.
The special was taped on Monday, January, 27, the day after the 56th Annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
I was at the taping of the special. The taping was exciting and ran just over three and half hours long.
The all-star lineup featured presentations by: The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, Kate Beckinsale, Eric Idle, Jeff Bridges, Anna Kendrick, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and host LL Cool J.
Performing at the event were Gary Clark Jr., Dave Grohl, Imagine Dragons, Alicia Keys & John Legend, Jeff Lynne, Maroon 5, John Mayer & Keith Urban, Brad Paisley & Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Joe Walsh, Stevie Wonder, George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison and a one-night only reunion of Eurythmics' Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.
The performances were back by an amazing house band that included musicians such as Kenny Aronoff (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Chris Caswell (keyboard), Peter Frampton (guitar), Rami Jaffe (organ), Steve Lukather (guitar), Greg Phillinganes (keyboard), and Don Was (bass), who also served as the musical director.
Here are a few things not shown or added to the special on TV.
2. The special also added the recollections from three fans who were in the audience for the Beatles' first performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show.
3. The interviews with three people who worked at the show and were there the night the event took place was aired on video clips in between set up between the bands. However, the segments were a lot longer and included more stories about the rehearsals and the actual taping day.
4. There was only one main stage for the acts to perform so the event showed old footage of The Beatles on the video screens in between set changes.There were so many clips that made the time in between performance go by quicker. The added clips were more than likely shown to help pass the time for the audience.
5. Actor Jeff Bridges's segment was longer which included him telling a story and how after watching The Ed Sullivan show, his dad actor Lloyd Bridges purchased tickets for everyone in the family to see The Beatles play a charity event for $25.00 a ticket. The whole family went and one of The Beatles recognized his dad from the TV show "Sea Hunt".
6. Maroon 5 opened the show performing two songs "All My Loving" and "Ticket To Ride", but their performance was shorten a bit from the taping. This may be due to the fact that they were one of the few bands to perform two songs.
7. Several artists received standing ovations for their performances.The first was the duet of "Let It Be" by John Legend and Alicia Keys followed by The Eurythmics performance of "Fool On The Hill", then Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne's performance of "Hey Bulldog" then Joe Walsh and Jeff Lynne joining Dhani Harrison for "Something", Grohl and Lynne joining Gary Clarke Jr on "My Guitar Gently Weeps" and Stevie Wonder's "We Can Work It Out" before standing for the entire performances of Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.
8. Stevie Wonder was the only artist to re do his song. The producers thought it sounded perfect, but Wonder stated that he wanted a re do, so "We Can Work It Out" was re done. Producer Ken Elrich also addressed the audience in between performances, talking about the show,the artists and introducing the house band.
9. The order of appearance was taped differently then the way it was on the special. Maroon 5 still opened and Paul and Ringo still closed the show. However appearances by Stevie Wonder and Johnny Depp were towards the end of the show, while The Eurythmics, Imagine Dragons were taped early on which I think helped build the audience excitement into the next artists to follow before the encore.
10. Lastly, at the end of the performance of "Hey Jude" where all the guest returned to the stage singing with Paul and Ringo. Paul went to each artists and hugged them and said a few words to each which appeared to be a thanks before coming back out with Ringo to bow again as he said the producers wanted them to do.
Click on the slideshow to see photos of the event.