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Brad Paisley, Keith Urban Pay Tribute to the Beatles

Brad Paisley Keith Urban
Kevin Winter (2), Getty Images

Brad Paisley and Keith Urban hit the stage for separate performances at The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles on Monday (Jan. 27).

The show was taped live and will air on Feb. 9, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ performance on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ That night that took America by storm and brought the Fab Four to the forefront of pop music.

With Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in attendance, the pressure was on for all of the night’s performers. Urban teamed up with John Mayer for a version of ‘Don’t Let Me Down,’ and Paisley and Pharrell Williams joined forces for ‘Here Comes the Sun.’

“We are honoring the most important band of all time, and trying to do justice to their song while two of them sit there,” Paisley said in an interview before his performance (quote via the Tennessean). “We know, going in, we’re not going to sing like them, and we’re going to try to do our own thing with it. But … there’s reasons why people get blasted when they cover Beatles songs in any situation. But here we are, we’re all doing that tonight. So, I guess it’s an even playing field in that sense.”

Other artists who performed at the event include John Legend, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Dave Grohl and Stevie Wonder. Starr and McCartney also performed, but McCartney was unsure about the event when the idea was introduced.

“What can I say about this evening, it’s just amazing,” he says. “At first when I was asked to do the show, I was wondering if it was the right thing to do. Was it seemly to tribute yourself? But I saw a couple of American guys who said to me, ‘You don’t understand the impact of that appearance on the show on America.’ I didn’t realize that.”

The telecast airs Feb. 9 at 8PM ET on CBS. While only two Beatles are able to celebrate their landmark appearance on ‘Ed Sullivan,’ the late John Lennon and George Harrison had their presence felt.

“We were in a band. It’s called the Beatles,” Starr said near the end of the show. “And if we play, John and George are always with us. It’s always John, Paul, George and Ringo.”

Next: The Top 10 Beatles Songs

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