I've been soaking up all the media buzz and reflection the last couple weeks about the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first trip to America and their legendary Ed Sullivan appearance.
Last night, we set our DVR to record "The Night That Changed America." We started it a couple after airtime after putting the girls to bed, and I was not going to bed until I watched every minute of it. So I was up until nearly 1 a.m.
Maroon 5's opening performance of "All My Loving," taking off a clip of The Beatles' original on Ed Sullivan was pretty great. And their follow-up of "Ticket to Ride" kept the energy going. The show was only getting started and I was already thinking Maroon 5's performance could be my favorite of the night.
Then Stevie Wonder cranks out his version of "We Can Work It Out." Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh and Dhani Harrison performed "Something. John Mayer and Keith Urban did a fantastic "Don't Let Me Down." Imagine Dragons did a sweet acoustic take on "Revolution." But even after all that, I have to say Dave Grohl's "Hey Bulldog" was arguably my favorite performance -- not by a Beatle. I'll give a nod to Pharrell Williams and Brad Paisley for "Here Comes the Sun" as well -- a song that will always have a special place in my heart. And finally Gary Clark Jr., Grohl and Joe Walsh on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." ... wow.
Ringo Starr's set was a charm with him arming the drum set for "Boys" and then leading the star-studded crowd in a sing-along of "Yellow Submarine." Paul McCartney's set, of course, was brilliant with "Birthday," "Get Back" and "I Saw Her Standing There."
The two of them teaming up on "Sgt. Pepper" and "A Little Help With My Friends" seemed like a fitting enough ending. ... Not so fast. How could they not end with a rousing sing-a-long of "Hey Jude." Complete with all the performers joining Paul and Ringo on stage, dancing in the aisles and Cirque performers twirling from the rafters. It was ... beautiful.
I found the conversations with David Letterman, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney on the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater particularly entertaining, as well as the interviews with audience members and crew members there that night . ... Letterman's Beatles Tribute Week, by the way, also has been excellent TV. Watching Letterman do his Late Show in that theater and thinking about the history of that stage still fascinates me.
Kudos do CBS for doing The Beatles legend right last night. It was 150 minutes of music magic.
(Updated 04.14.2014) Good reads & stuff ...
a Unpublished Images of the Beatles’ Historic First Trip to the U.S.
a Memories of the Beatles' US television debut
a Watch Rare Beatles Footage From 'The Ed Sullivan Show' in 1964
a 50 Years Later, Beatles Steal Another Show
a Fifty years ago today, the Beatles gave birth to a new world
a Historic Hysterics: Witnesses to a Really Big Show
a The Beatles, by the Numbers
a Love Them Do: The Story of the Beatles' Biggest Fans
a Jimmy Fallon and Fred Armisen Reimagine '@theBeatles' on '#Sullivan'