Fifty years ago, on February 9, 1964, the Beatles were introduced to America on the Ed Sullivan Show and in order to celebrate, the “Grammy’s Salute to the Beatles” was televised marking the reunion of the remaining Beatles – Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr after their prolonged break-up. As a Beatles fan, this writer was glued on TV and was mesmerized watching the show.
The nostalgic musical show started with snippets of childhood memories of the late John Lennon and George Harrison, followed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It also looked back at how they were influenced by the rock music of both Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley when they formed the “Fab Four.” Their initial performances on stage placed their songs “Ticket to Ride, “All My Loving,” “’Til There was You” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” on top of the billboard charts and Beatlemania albums as well as merchandise flourished worldwide.
Keith Urban and John Mayer paid tribute by showing their guitar prowess playing a rendition of the Beatles’ song “Don’t Let Me Down.”
Thereafter, the guest appearance of Stevie Wonder playing the jazzy rendition of “We Can Work It Out,” was a standing ovation and on his video testimonial, Stevie recalled that it was “the first Beatle song I heard when I was just 15 years old.”
Garbed in a kimono-inspired gown in salmon and black,with her hair in an updo, Katy Perry sang her rendition of “Yesterday,” one of the Beatles’ most popular songs, which was once this writer’s favorite Beatles song. In the background were Circue Du Soleil’s dance interpretation of the song which included aerial trapeze dancers swinging from the ceiling and this was such an awesome scene.
Host Kate Beckinsale also introduced snippets of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr’s recent surprise visit on the David Letterman show where they recalled their first rousing performance on the same stage at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, which now houses the David Letterman show.. Both Paul and Ringo admitted to Dave Letterman that “at the time, they all wanted to come to America and they made it” and that they were all surprised by the tremendous reception of fans who went crazy from the airport to their performance at the show..
A piano duet of “Let It Be,” were sang and played by both Alicia Keys and John Legend, with the Cirque Du Soleil aerial dancers again in the background, followed by Brad Paisley’s rendition of “Here Comes The Sun.”
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, reunited as the Eurhythmics, both sang their rendition of “Here Comes The Sun.”
On a videotaped message, actor Jeff Bridges remembered how his whole family watched the Ed Sullivan show, including his brother Beau who was an avid Beatles’ fan.
Sean Penn also had a videotaped message thanking the Beatles for their “songs that we all grew up with,” and that these songs will forever be remembered for another 100 years.”
A wide psychedelic screen in the background popped up when Ringo Starr came on stage and started a sing-along with his “Yellow Submarine” song. The crowd had a standing ovation and the camera panned out and showed Yoko Ono’s (John Lennon’s widow) delighted with Ringo’s song..
Paul McCartney along with his acoustic guitar sang “Get Back,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club,” while Ringo was on the drums.
Finally, with a standing ovation, both Paul and Ringo sang the evening’s most nostalgic songs of “Hey Jude,” and “Let It Be” as a tribute to John Lennon and George Harrison, which in turn defined their reunion through its lyrics that went: “when I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom…let it be; and in my hour of darkness .she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” “Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.” “And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be no answer, let it be; for though they maybe parted, there is still a chance that they will see, there will be no answer, let it be, let it be!”
For this writer, the reunion of Paul and Ringo resonates their love for one another which echoes the last stanza of their song that went: “and when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.”