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Paul McCartney’s show-closing mini-set with his own band got the crowd on its feet and singing along—and screaming as "Sgt. Pepper" gave way to a Ringo-led "With a Little Help From My Friends."
BEATLES GET BACK FOR 50TH ANNIVERSARY
CBS' All-Star Grammy Tribute Highlighted by McCartney Set Featuring Ringo

Last night’s CBS Grammy Beatles salute, The Night That Changed America, featured a diverse slate of current and classic acts assaying some of the Fab Four’s best-loved material with an all-star house band.

Highlights included Stevie Wonder’s "We Can Work It Out," the Dave Grohl-Jeff Lynne "Hey Bulldog," the reunited Eurythmics’ "Fool on the Hill" and, most of all, Paul McCartney’s show-closing mini-set with his own band, which got the crowd on its feet and singing along—and screaming as "Sgt. Pepper" gave way to a Ringo-led "With a Little Help From My Friends."

Paul's set also included "Birthday," "Get Back," "I Saw Her Standing There" and a "Hey Jude" finale that brought all the performers back to the stage.

Pharrell and Brad Paisley, Imagine Dragons, John Mayer and Keith Urban, John Legend and Alicia Keys, Gary Clark Jr. with Joe Walsh, Maroon 5 and Katy Perry were among the others limning Lennon-McCartney and Harrison tunes, while Ringo fronted a couple of tunes (notably a raucous "Boys," on which he also drummed). Yoko and Sean Ono, Olivia and Dhani Harrison and other family members were in attendance (Dhani also helped Lynne and Walsh perform his dad's "Something").

The impeccable house band, directed by bassist Don Was, boasted guitarists Peter Frampton and Steve Lukather, drummer Kenny Aronoff and keyboardist Rami Jaffe; full horn and string sections came in to recreate the sonic sweep of the George Martin-produced recordings.

In clips, David Letterman chatted with Sir Paul and Ringo about playing the Sullivan show backstage at the NYC theater, Eric Idle narrated Ken Burns-style mini-docs on the individual fabs, and an array of presenters like host LL Cool J and actors Jeff Bridges, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Kate Beckinsale read truisms about the band off a teleprompter. It was a mixed bag at 2 1/2 hours, but Ken Ehrlich and company pulled it off, with a few truly magical moments.

The crowd lapped it up, and the audience at home seems to have responded as well, sending the band’s 27-song 1 collection to #6 at iTunes. After 50 years, the music still makes ’em swoon. That said, the show's 14 million viewers put it in second place, ratings-wise; NBC's Olympics coverage won the time slot and 25.4m viewers.

In a related story, my dad saw them on Sullivan and said, "A flash in the pan."

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