Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh and Gary Clark Jr. Play “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

As milestones go, the 50-year mark is a pretty big one.

So as the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show approached in 2014, organizers put together a celebration to herald the moment that presented the Beatles to America.

Called The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, the tribute was a celebration of both the Beatles’ impact on music and their debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. The tribute was filmed on January 27, 2014, at the Los Angeles Convention Center and first broadcast on February 9, 2014, 50 years to the day the Beatles first appeared on Sullivan’s show.

Featuring a house band that included Steve Lukather and Peter Frampton on guitars and Don Was on bass, the show offered musical tributes from Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, John Mayer and Keith Urban, as well as performances from former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The broadcast also featured clips of the Beatles performing on The Ed Sullivan Show and an interview with McCartney and Starr by David Letterman in Studio 50, the Ed Sullivan Theater.

  • The standout moment for many was the evening’s performance of the George Harrison song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which featured Joe Walsh and Gary Clark Jr. on guitars and Dave Grohl on drums. Both Walsh and Clark turn in some fiery guitar work, while Grohl rocks the drum kit as if he’s playing a Nirvana tribute. (Mute the sound and you just might think he is.)

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.