Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on US television in a star-studded show that aired on Sunday.
The Beatles, including the late John Lennon and George Harrison, changed music on Feb. 9, 1964 when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York City.
The seminal moment for the British band was remembered throughout the two and a half-hour special that featured top artists covering Beatles hits and interviews about their historic appearance.
The audience also included Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, presenter Kate Beckinsale, model Behati Prinsloo and presenters Jeff Bridges, Sean Penn and Johnny Depp.
McCartney and Starr had the crowd on their feet singing and waving their arms at the end of the show as they performed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With A Little Help From My Friends and Hey, Jude together.
The show started with Maroon 5 and frontman Adam Levine performing All My Loving wearing black suits just like the Beatles did half a century ago before a screaming audience.
Maroon 5 also offered up a spirited version of Ticket To Ride from the Help! album.
Stevie Wonder took the stage and told the audience he heard See It My Way for the first time at age 15 and always wanted to do it ‘a little more funky.’
Stevie played the piano and harmonica as he delivered on his promise.
English songwriter Jeff Lynne, 66, and Joe Walsh, 66, teamed up with George’s 35-year-old son Dhani for a sweet rendition of Something.
Monty Python member Eric Idle narrated biographies of the four members of the Beatles that focused on their childhoods, musical influences and the band’s origins.
The Ed Sullivan Theatre has since become the home of The Late Show With David Letterman and the chat show host reminisced with Paul and Ringo about their appearance that was viewed by nearly half of American households with televisions.
The tribute songs performed with Paul and Ringo looking on from the front-row also included Ed Sheeran playing guitar while singing In My Life.
Lennon was shown singing Don’t Let Me Down in a 1969 rooftop concert with John Mayer and Keith Urban taking over mid-song.
Pop superstar Katy Perry wore a long floral-print gown as she belted out a heartfelt version of Yesterday.
Imagine Dragons performed Revolution while rocker Dave Grohl partnered with Jeff Lynne to cover the lesser known Hey Bulldog off the Yellow Submarine album. Pharrell Williams and his big hat joined Brad Paisley for Here Comes the Sun.
The show also featured a reunion of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart who performed Fool on the Hill as The Eurythmics.
Alicia Keys and John Legend received a standing ovation for their soaring take on Let It Be.
Dave Grohl also joined Grammy winner Gary Clark Jr. and Joe Walsh for a crowd-pleasing version of My Guitar Gently Weeps that included energetic guitar playing by Walsh.
After an introduction by Jeff Bridges, 73-year-old Starr took the stage with Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono clapping as he sang with Peter Frampton on the guitar before getting behind the drums to sing the Beatles song Boys to a standing audience.
Starr then took centre stage and sang Yellow Submarine as the audience clapped and sang along with him as he displayed his infectious good mood that has made him a fan favourite for decades.
Sean Penn introduced 71-year-old McCartney who took the stage playing guitar and singing Birthday off The White Album.
The living legend then delivered a typically charged version of Get Back as Starr danced in the audience.
With orchestra backing, McCartney also belted out Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with Starr coming out toward the end of the song as McCartney introduced his character Billy Shears.
McCartney and Starr teamed up for With A Little Help From My Friends, the song written by Lennon and McCartney for Starr to sing.
‘We were in a band and it was called the Beatles. Whenever we play, John and George are always with us. It was always John, George, Paul and Ringo,’ Starr said.
Lennon was shot and killed in December 1980 in New York City at age 40 and Harrison died in 2001 at age 58 of lung cancer.
The two surviving members of the Beatles joined up for Hey, Jude with McCartney on the piano and Starr on the drums.
Audience members wearing huge smiles danced around and sang along with McCartney and Starr as the performers returned to the stage to celebrate 50 years of the Beatles in America.