It was the night that changed America, and music, forever. February 9, 1964 was when the Beatles made their debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” helping to set off a frenzy that would catapult the four Liverpool lads to global stardom and an untouchable place in rock and roll history.
That legacy was celebrated on Sunday night in the prime-time special, “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles” with performances of some of the band’s legendary hits by a handful of today’s biggest stars, as well as mini-sets from surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and a rare on-stage collaboration between the band’s iconic singer/bassist and drummer.
Here are our favorite seven moments from the show:
Katy Perry Goes Glam
Perry is no stranger to emotional ballads, but even a pop diva might be intimidated by taking on one of the most beloved, oft-covered rock songs of all time. You’d never know it from the way she dug into “Yesterday,” giving it her breathy, belting best while sporting a retro up-do and a flowing, flowered cape-like dress.
Maroon 5 Go Retro
No big deal, Adam Levine and the boys just had to open the broadcast with a pair of the Beatles’ early hits, including sugar pop versions of “All My Loving” and “Ticket To Ride.” The always-dapperMaroon 5 were dressed in sharp black suits and white shirts like the ones the Beatles wore on Sullivan’s 1964 broadcast, which was seen by 74 million people, a record at the time.
Sheeran Strips It Down
On a show that included sets by Stevie Wonder, a reunited Eurythmics, E.L.O.’s Jeff Lynne and Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, one of the night’s most emotional covers came from relative newbie Ed Sheeran. Strumming his beat-up acoustic, Ed played a stripped-down, funky version of the ballad “In My Life” that drew hearty applause from Sir Paul himself.
Pharrell’s Hat Is Back
Wearing his now infamous giant Grammy hat (the special was taped the night after the awards) Pharrell Williams was in an unusual position during the show, singing a pretty straightforward version of the mellow “Here Comes The Sun.” Without his signature beats, his robot friends or any of the usual modern trappings, Pharrell swayed center stage as he crooned the song alongside country singer Brad Paisley. Though he looked a bit nervous, Skateboard P showed a whole new side of his musical personality and we liked it.
Imagine Dragons Unplug
A year ago Imagine Dragons would have been lucky to snag a ticket to Sunday’s show. But now the “Radioactive” rockers are chart-toppers and they proved they belonged on the broadcast with a folky, acoustic ramble through “Revolution” that gave the classic song new life.
Dave Grohl Plays One For His Dogs
Dedicating “Hey Bulldog” to his mom’s favorite band (which is also his and his daughter Violet’s fave), the Foo Fighters star played a jamming version of the Yellow Submarine rocker with the all-star house band, sharing vocals with the always spot-on Lynne.
Alicia Keys And John Legend Let It Be
With their grand pianos set up back-to-back, Keys and Legend plain killed another Beatles landmark, “Let It Be” with soulful vocals that gave the song a gospel feel.