The spectacular star-studded event aired at the exact same time in the exact same place as where The Beatles made their debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. A huge lineup of Grammy and award winning musicians hit the stage to play some of The Beatles' biggest hits.
Across the past five decades, the entire Beatles catalog has shaped the tapestry of our lives and continues to draw new generations of fans into the infamous Fab Four fold. We still mourn the shocking death of John Lennon via a calculated act of violence and George Harrison’s tragic loss of his battle with cancer. They were represented there by their widows, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.
Each and every tribute was duly reverent and exquisitely executed. Standouts included Katy Perry’s emotionally vulnerable rendition of “Yesterday,” Ed Sheeran’s soft and silky “In My Life,” John Mayer and Keith Urban’s mind-bending guitar riffs and beautiful vocal blends on “Don’t Let Me Down,” and Alicia Keys and John Legend’s haunting “Let It Be.”
Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr capped off the incredible performances by doing their own separate sets and then joined forces to sing an amazing rendition of “Hey Jude,” that had the whole audience on their feet.
Overall, the two-and-a-half hour special painted a vivid musical portrait of where these four young Brits came from as they ultimately came together to make an indelible artistic imprint that would forever alter the music landscape.
Perhaps then, the most impressive thing about The Beatles is the ongoing legacy continues to shape and inspire a new legion of artists who have emerged in every decade following the 1964 Ed Sullivan appearance that started it all. Most anyone who’s anyone in today’s music scene cites The Beatles as one of their musical influences.
Here are 10 celebrity quotes about The Beatles which were featured in the show or in video clips on the CBS special website.
“They were kind of my soul influence just for music, for everything.”
"For me, a George Harrison song is important because he, to me, was the Beatle I most identify with because he just always had the guitar. He was always the guy playing those licks."
“It’s pretty incredible when you think about it that The Beatles still hold the number one rank on all these lists of greatest performances. You would think that at some point The Beatles on Ed Sullivan would leave the number one spot, but it doesn’t. It’s the seminal moment. It’s the infancy of television and the infancy of rock and roll and they sort of go together. And, if you’re a third, fourth generation rock fan like I am, you look back at the first generation and you go, that’s incredible.”
"I grew up in a house with predominantly all country music. My dad didn't have any Beatles records –it was crazy. I don’t know why. So I discovered them, more so in my teenage years and I was hooked immediately.”
Ben McKee (Imagine Dragons)
"We are all just the biggest Beatles fans that you could ever find on the planet. The only music I have on my iPhone is the entire Beatles library. Pop music would be unrecognizable as it is today if it weren't for The Beatles."
"To be asked to perform a Beatles song, it was a really incredibly moving thing to be asked to do. They’re 20th century contemporary equivalent of Beethoven, Mozart, all the greatest – their contribution to music is timeless."
Jesse James Rutherford (The Neighbourhood)
"A lot times nowadays people don’t want bands to change. They want every album to stay the same. Whereas you look at The Beatles and they’re an inspiration in terms of growth. Their first album to their last album they took you on a journey."
"I wouldn’t be doing what I do if The Beatles had not done what they do, which is incredible."
"I don’t think anyone who’s in America will understand how big it was for us to come here. How, in our souls we wanted to come to America.”
"There’s all sorts of lucky things came together, amazing little coincidences; amazing skills added to those coincidences. It was a lot of stuff that came together to make The Beatles."