Last night I was glued to my television watching the Grammy’s salute to the Beatles on the 50th anniversary of their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. My mom told me stories about that night. She was 12. I grew up a huge Beatles fan, and last night was like watching history unfold. People will talk about this show for years and years to come.
What was great about the way they brought together true Beatles fans to celebrate this momentous occasion. To see Anna Kendrick singing along in the audience, as star-struck as Tom Hanks and Jeff Bridges, really made it clear how much of an impact and a reach The Beatles had on American culture. Dave Grohl’s “Hey Bulldog” and Adam Levine’s “I Saw Her Standing There” were incredible. Stevie Wonder wowed with a funkified version of “Got to Get You Into My Life” and it got everyone up and dancing in the aisles. Frankly, there aren’t many bands that can have that kind of impact these days. The Beatles left an indelible mark on the world. Watching Dave Grohl’s little girl clapping and singing along was powerful. Even Ringo acknowledged it.
A few nights ago I was at a comedy show where the comic talked about the transitory state of music these days. Kids can get music whenever they want it. It’s all very accessible now, and in that vein it’s all very disposable. Very few artists have staying power. It’s hard to remember the top artists of the past decade because there are so many musicians. The same can be said of movies. Remember a decade ago when a movie stayed at number one for weeks and months on end? A blockbuster is now lucky to have two weeks at the top of the charts. None of this was true with The Beatles. When they released the movie “A Hard Day’s Night” they had five songs in the top five spots of the chart. Their songs competed with each other for the top spot. Think about that. It’s unheard of these days.
I liked how they let Ringo and Paul have a few songs on their own, but I wish they would have let them play together for a longer set. If you’re going to do something like this, then doing a few more songs seems to be in order. Seeing Paul and Ringo onstage while Yoko and George’s wife danced in the audience was wonderful. I’m surprised that Julian or Sean Lennon didn’t perform the way Danny Harrison did. How amazing would a Sons-of-The-Beatles performance be? (Zack Starkey is a famous drummer in his own right, and Paul’s son is also a musician) The night could have gone on for hours more. People would have watched. When you get the surviving Beatles together, you let them do what they want to do.
What the program really showed us is that fifty years later, the surviving Beatles still have it, and their fans still adore them.