McCartney Returns to Ed Sullivan Theater

July 16, 2009 7:10:30 AM PDT
Paul McCartney returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater 45 years after the Beatles made their U.S. television debut there.

This time, McCartney put on an outdoor show atop the theater's marquee for thousands of fans Wednesday. The performance was shown during the former Beatle's first appearance on the "Late Show With David Letterman."

The Beatles made their American television debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Feb. 9, 1964.

During his appearance with Letterman, McCartney recalled that it was "kind of scary" the first time the Beatles appeared on Sullivan's show. However, he didn't acknowledge it when a floor manager asked "you nervous?" when the curtain was about to be raised for McCartney to perform "Yesterday" alone without his bandmates.

"You should be," McCartney said the manager told him. "There's 73 million people watching."

Letterman said that his impression of the Beatles was that it was four guys on a long spring break, having a great time. The Beatles went briefly to Miami the first time they came to the United States.

"The British car firm loaned us an MG each and, you know, there was a beach and sand and girls and, come on!" McCartney said.

Letterman and McCartney talked about the ex-Beatle's friendship with the late Michael Jackson. The two men recorded the duet "The Girl Is Mine" on Jackson's "Thriller" album.

McCartney advised Jackson to think about music publishing as an investment. Jackson bought rights to many of the Beatles' songs, and McCartney's hopes of getting a better deal with the new owner were in vain.

"We kind of drifted apart after that," McCartney said. "But he was a lovely man, massively talented and we miss him."

McCartney opens a U.S. tour Friday at Citi Field, which is the New York Mets stadium that opened this year. Their previous home, Shea Stadium, was also where the Beatles performed for a sold-out crowd of screaming fans in 1965.

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