Mr. Paisley, one of the biggest stars on the country scene over the past 10 years or so, is accustomed to playing to packed stadiums and notching No. 1 hits. But he acknowledged that he was a little nervous performing Beatles songs to an audience that included Mr. Starr and Mr. McCartney, the two surviving members of the Fab Four.
“There are reasons why people get blasted [by critics] when they cover Beatles songs in any situation. But we’re all doing that tonight, so I guess it’s an even playing field,” he said.
Mr. Starr, who joined Mr. McCartney for a rousing singalong “Hey Jude” to close the show, was philosophical about the decadeslong musical and cultural phenomenon that swept up four lads from Liverpool, and he shared his thoughts on the missing bandmates, Mr. Lennon and Mr. Harrison.
“We were in a band. It’s called the Beatles. And if we play, John and George are always with us. It’s always John, Paul, George and Ringo,” he told fans.
“The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles” will be broadcast at 8 p.m. EST — exactly 50 years, to the minute, after the band’s first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”