Entertainment & Arts

Stars play Beatles songs for Sir Paul McCartney

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Media captionSir Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey were among those honoured by the Kennedy Center in Washington DC

Acts including No Doubt and Dave Grohl played Beatles songs at a US gala on Sunday to celebrate Sir Paul McCartney and other winners of a cultural award.

Sir Paul had earlier received a Kennedy Center honour along with Oprah Winfrey, choreographer Bill T Jones, composer Jerry Herman and singer Merle Haggard.

Receiving his medallion at a White House dinner on Saturday, Sir Paul said "great things just come in bundles".

The ex-Beatle was at the US President's home in June to receive another award.

"I am a big fan of this president, and I think he's a great man who's got some difficulties," Sir Paul said at Saturday's event, hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"I'm very honoured to be with him and his family, and I'm also a big fan of Hillary's too."

Sunday night's concert, held at Washington arts venue the Kennedy Center, was filmed by US network CBS for broadcast later this month.

Gwen Stefani, dressed in a Beatles-style suit, sang Fab Four classic Hello, Goodbye at the event with her band No Doubt.

They were followed by Grohl and Norah Jones' performance of Sir Paul's solo track Maybe I'm Amazed.

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler sang a medley of songs from the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road.

Singer-songwriter James Taylor and gospel vocalist Mavis Staples then closed the show with Let It Be and Hey Jude, bringing Sir Paul and President Obama to their feet.

Earlier in the show, Julia Roberts, Barbara Walters and John Travolta took to the stage to pay tribute to US talk show host Winfrey.

Roberts said: "It's a universal conversation starter - 'Did you see what was on Oprah today?'

"The first time I heard of a better-fitting bra or a fascinating politician named Barack Obama was on The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Image caption Mr Obama (r) held a White House reception for Kennedy Center honour recipients

Elsewhere Angela Lansbury and Kelsey Grammer performed songs written by Jerry Herman for such shows as Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles.

Sunday night's concert was proceeded by a White House reception for the honourees where Mr Obama said they were being recognised not just for being "great lyricists or songwriters or dancers or entertainers".

"They're being honoured for their unique ability to bring us closer together and to capture something larger about who we are."

Sir Paul, he continued, had become "something of a regular here in the White House" after accepting the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song earlier this year.

He said that when Sir Paul had sung the Beatles song Michelle to his wife earlier in the year, it had been "the thrill of a lifetime" for the First Lady.

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