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Ringo Starr Recalls the Beatles’ Groundbreaking ‘Ed Sullivan’ Performance

Ringo Starr
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

The Recording Academy is going all out to honor the Beatles at this year’s Grammy Awards, honoring the band with a Lifetime Achievement Award and helping round up an all-star cast of performers to commemorate their groundbreaking 1964 appearance on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ and it’s all got Ringo Starr in a rather nostalgic mood.

Starr spoke with reporters following his appearance in Los Angeles to pick up an award from the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace on Jan. 20, and he was typically and charmingly candid when asked if he had any memories of the band winning the Best New Artist Grammy in 1964. “No,” he admitted, although he added, “I remember they had them in Nashville once, and Harry Nilsson and I went up. The Beatles had won, like, 19 Grammys. They brought them on a tray. There were so many Grammys, it was hard to lift.”

His memories of the band’s ‘Sullivan’ performance are a little more extensive. Describing the experience as “incredible,” Starr recalled, “It was Ed Sullivan, and it was a big show, and we didn’t know while we were playing that 70 million people were watching, but it was being in America that was so exciting. All the music we loved was in America. It came from America to England. Where we come from, Liverpool, it was great because it was a port, so all of the guys from New York would bring the tracks over — vinyl in those days, the LPs, and it was just great. I could feel the buzz, even on the plane, it was so exciting. I went, ‘Aaaaah!’”

Starr was far from the only one going ‘Aaaaah!,’ of course — and plenty of people will repeat that exclamation on Jan. 27, when he and Paul McCartney reunite as part of that all-star Beatles bash, set to air on CBS on Feb. 9.

Next: Top 10 Ringo Starr Beatles Songs

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