Founder / Editor


Associate Editor


Assistant Editor











Tonight on CBS, Watch The Beatles Then – And Half of Them Now
February 9, 2014  | By David Bianculli  | 4 comments

Fifty years to the minute after The Ed Sullivan Show introduced The Beatles to America on live TV, CBS presents another musical Beatles special…

And yes, the surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, will perform on the special, separately and together. They cover nine songs in all. And if you don’t want to know the rundown, of their songs or of passionate covers performed by special guests, skip down to the bottom of this column. But don’t miss the bottom, because today’s entry ends with a copy of the original CBS press release detailing the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964.

Tonight’s 8 p.m. ET CBS special, The Beatles: The Night That Changed America – A Grammy Salute, includes, of course, a glimpse of the 1964 Ed Sullivan Show appearance that proved a cultural pivot point for an entire generation. The rest of the show, however, brings the story up-to-date.

David Letterman, in a piece taped earlier this week, hosts Ringo and Paul, and interviews them (without an audience), at his Late Show digs at The Ed Sullivan Theater – the very location of The Beatles’ first live American TV appearance 50 years ago.   

And during the concert portion, taped right after the Grammys when lots of musical luminaries were gathered in the same place anyway, Paul and Ringo indeed hold court. Each former Beatle sings three songs from their group’s old catalogue separately. Then they come together – so to speak – for one last trio of Beatle numbers.

The rundown:

Paul performs “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Get Back” and “Birthday.”

Ringo performs two covers – “Matchbox” and “Boys” – and the group’s own “Yellow Submarine.”

Then Paul and Ringo finish with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Hey Jude.”

Others get in on the fun as well. According to CBS, here’s the lineup of artists and songs covered tonight as part of this Grammy salute to the Beatles, produced by my favorite TV music producer, Ken Ehrlich:

Alicia Keys & John Legend "Let It Be" 

Dave Grohl & Jeff Lynne "Hey Bulldog"

Ed Sheeran "In My Life"

Eurthymics "The Fool On The Hill" 

Gary Clark Jr., Dave Grohl & Joe Walsh "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Imagine Dragons "Revolution"

Jeff Lynne & Joe Walsh "Something"

John Mayer & Keith Urban "Don't Let Me Down" 

Katy Perry "Yesterday"

Maroon 5 "All My Loving/Ticket To Ride"

Pharrell Williams & Brad Paisley "Here Comes The Sun"

Stevie Wonder "We Can Work It Out"

And finally, there’s this other treat from the CBS publicity department: the very release, dated Feb. 5, 1964, promoting the upcoming appearance by this hot new musical group from England. It’s so much fun to read, and look at, I’m showing the whole thing. Is it obvious by now that, 50 years later, I’m still crazy about The Beatles?

Yeah, yeah, yeah…


Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 Name (required)
 Email (required) (will not be published)
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: 
It's "Hey Bullfrog" not "Hey Bulldog". Wow.
Feb 11, 2014   |  Reply
David Bianculli
I must stand up for myself here, as a long-time Beatles fan. It IS, as I wrote, "Hey Bulldog." Wow yourself.
Feb 13, 2014
Bullfrog? Nope, it's definitely bulldog.
Feb 12, 2014
The show as a whole was pretty good. Sure, there are always mismatches between talent and material in tributes like this (Maroon 5, I'm looking at you!), but, for the most part I enjoyed the performers and arrangements. The "backstage" interviews of Ed Sullivan crew was especially interesting. And Paul and Ringo rocked the finish.
Feb 10, 2014   |  Reply
Well, I think they passed the audition -- Paul and Ringo, that is. They really did stop their own show. I thought you might like to know.
Feb 10, 2014   |  Reply
Rob Longley
So far, some of the covers of Beatles songs have been dismal, to downright horrible (Here Comes the Sun is on now...terrible!). I am not watching the show, but I can hear it from where I am working. I am sure that some of it is interesting, but if I could tune it out ( spouse is watching with the sound turned up) I would. Love the Beatles, hate tributes like this.
Feb 9, 2014   |  Reply
 Page: 1 of 1  | Go to page: