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Quiet down, youngsters; Grammys special marks Beatles’ visit to Ed Sullivan Show, 50 years later

- February 7th, 2014

paul_ringo_dave

What do Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Dave Grohl, Stevie Wonder, Ed Sheeran, John Legend, Keith Urban, John Mayer and Eurythmics have in common?

They’re all fans of the Beatles.

Those artists and many more took part in the concert extravaganza titled The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles. Taped a day after the Grammys late last month in Los Angeles, a two-hour version of the big show will air Sunday, Feb. 9 on CBS and City.

This is an anniversary event, and a technically exact anniversary event at that. The Night That Changed America is airing 50 years to the day that the Beatles made their first TV appearance in North America, on The Ed Sullivan Show, also on CBS. It’s even airing at the same hour.

All of the afore-mentioned acts performed at the concert, as did the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics actually staged a one-night-only reunion for the event, because they wanted to be part of it so badly.

The broadcast will feature not only highlights from the concert, but also archival footage from Feb. 9, 1964, when more than 73 million Americans tuned in to see what the fuss was all about.

That loud noise you just heard was the collective sound of current TV executives fainting, overwhelmed by the thought of an audience that big.

Yes, there were only a handful of channels 50 years ago, so choices were limited. However, that merely upped the pressure, too. If you got a shot, you couldn’t blow it, or you were done.

Fortunately for Paul, Ringo, John Lennon and George Harrison, they looked and sounded different than anything North Americans had seen or heard before. Combine that with the iconic images of overwhelmed teens at the Ed Sullivan Theater (now the home of The Late Show with David Letterman), and you have a unique TV moment that can’t be forgotten or replicated.

As part of the special, Paul and Ringo will be chatting with Dave (see above photo).

Will I watch The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

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