The key to a great cover is picking a great song, and the artists that stuck around after the Grammy Awards last month to perform in front of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr for CBS’ “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America – A GRAMMY Salute” had no shortage to choose from.
Adam Levine with Maroon 5, Keith Urban and John Mayer, Brad Paisley and Pharrell Williams, and Imagine Dragons were among the various acts that paid tribute to the band that changed music forever 50 years ago with just one performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
“John asked me to sit in with him, and we were trying to think of a song to do,” Urban said in a video (above) shot backstage at the concert event. “I had just recently rediscovered the ‘Naked’ album, and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ hit, and I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve always loved this song. We should do that one.'”
For Levine, a coach on NBC’s hit reality singing competition “The Voice,” the choice was easy.
“We decided to to do ‘Ticket to Ride’ because we just love that song,” the life-long Beatles fan said.
The CBS special honoring the 50th anniversary of the band’s first appearance on “Ed Sullivan” lured in 14 million viewers when it aired on Sunday up against NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage.
“Paul and Ringo were sitting there front and center, and you’re playing their music to them just looking for some kind of validation,” Imagine Dragon bassist Ben McKee said of their rendition of “Revolution.”
“It was amazing, but it was horrifying,” drummer Daniel Platzman added.