February 10, 2014

The Beatles Celebrated in 'The Night That Changed America


The Beatles' arrival 50 years ago -- Feb. 9, 1964 -- in black and white is celebrated in musical hues of tangerine, yellow and green on "The Night That Changed America" special that airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. History weaves in and out of material from the Beatles' career in the 1960s, but it's the Fab Four's later material, worked with vigor by Pharrell Williams, Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl and Gary Clark Jr., that stands out in the interpretations.

The band's "The Ed Sullivan Show" appearance on that day -- the first live televised performance from the Beatles in the United States -- provides the show's hook as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr revisit the Ed Sullivan Theater with David Letterman, delivering the sort of observations one might expect.

McCartney and Starr thought the theater was much larger when they played there. "It's like going back to your old school," McCartney says, noting it no longer seems huge. A Teamster made Paul nervous before he sang "Yesterday." The Beatles' success was a combination of luck, coincidence and talent.

They're at their best talking about performing and trying to hear through the screaming. We catch a glimpse of how well-rehearsed and in sync they were as musicians and, through the clips of the five performances that night, how broad their material was from the start; not only were they the first British act to arrive, they were also the ones capable of interpreting multiple styles of American music and processing something new for a younger generation. Read more>>

Billboard

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