You'll see plenty of stars on CBS's "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America -- A Grammy Salute," which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday (February 9) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
But one of the constants will be Peter Frampton, who played guitar in the house band assembled by producer Don Was. Frampton -- who also played at the David Lynch Foundation gala honoring Ringo Starr and backed Starr at the Grammy Awards the same week -- tells us that playing a bunch of Beatles songs at the January 27 taping was a career highlight:
"It doesn't get better than that. You think you know them because they're ingrained in our soul -- until you start to listen to them and work out the parts. And they're simplistic, but they're very, very clever. Omigod, it was eye-opening as we all went, 'Aha!'... The whole show was, for all of us...it's all sinking in about what we did and what we were a part of and how honored we all were to be part of this show, so it was something special, and it's a part of history. And then to see Ringo and Paul (McCartney) play together, it doesn't get any better. It's one of those once in a lifetime situations and I'm just thrilled to be asked to be part of it."
In addition to McCartney and Starr -- who performed "With a Little Help From My Friends" together and led the cast through "Hey Jude" -- the CBS special features performances by Katy Perry, Maroon5, Alicia Keys and John Legend, Imagine Dragons, Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, Jeff Lynne, John Mayer and Keith Urban, Eurythmics, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams and Brad Paisley, and Gary Clark, Jr.
Interesting, Frampton notes, the Beatles' appearance on Sullivan did not have the same massive impact back in England as it did in America: "None of us had a clue what Ed Sullivan was, what the show was, especially how bit it was being that that was THE show that everybody sat down to in the entire country on Sunday night... They did the show and they had no idea. They thought, 'Oh, we're just doing a TV show in New York.' They had no idea, and we had no idea... So no one really knew until they did 'The Ed Sullivan Show, and then we in England saw on the news how the Beatles had taken America by storm. It didn't mean anything to us at that point."