McCartney plays “Give Peace a Chance” three decades after Lennon's death in New York
Thirty years and three days after John Lennon's death in New York, Paul McCartney paid tribute to his songwriting partner on "Saturday Night Live" with a stirring rendition of "Give Peace a Chance."
McCartney segued from the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" — singing Lennon's parts as well as his own — into Lennon's anti-war anthem. After the performance, the show cut to a still shot of McCartney flashing the peace sign.
"Well, this won't be topped," host Paul Rudd said in the show's outro, before McCartney returned to the stage to perform "Get Back" as the credits rolled.
Update: Here's the "Day in the Life/Imagine" video:
TheWrap raised the possibility last week that McCartney would acknowledge the tragic anniversary. Although he didn't explicity mention Lennon's death on Dec. 8, 1980, he continued a tradition of playing "A Day in the Life" and "Give Peace a Chance" back-to-back to honor his partner in pop music's greatest collaboration.
Lennon and McCartney have a shared history with the show: The two were watching it together at Lennon's apartment at the Dakota on April 24, 1976, when Lorne Michaels famously offered the Beatles a whopping $3,000 to reunite.
McCartney played five songs in all. The first two were "Jet" and "Band on the Run" from his time leading Wings.
But McCartney was all over the show, also joining Rudd for the opening monologue, Andy Samberg and Rudd for one of the show's most goofily fun digital shorts, and Seth Meyers for a brief "Weekend Update" routine.
The Beatles even ruled during commercial breaks, as Apple went big on ads for the Fab Four on iTunes.
McCartney joins Rudd for the opening monologue: