Lorne Michaels Failed To Reunite The Beatles In What Could’ve Been The Biggest SNL Show Ever


Highlights

  • Lorne Michaels tried and failed to reunite The Beatles on SNL, despite offering a check for $3,000 and 3 songs.
  • Lorne Michaels almost succeeded, as John Lennon and Paul McCartney considered going to the studio that night.
  • George Harrison showed up to SNL to get the $3,000 check, but Michaels refused unless the whole band reunited.


As the man behind Saturday Night Live throughout almost all of its history, Lorne Michaels has accomplished amazing things. Between casting a slew of performers who have become rich and famous and making the masses laugh for decades, Michaels’ legacy will go down in history.

On top of that, Michaels has managed to convince most of music’s biggest stars to appear on his show. However, one thing that Michaels never pulled off was was reuniting The Beatles on SNL.

This article will how Lorne Michaels tried to reunite The Beatles on SNL and totally failed. The article will also reveal how close Michaels’ attempt to bring The Beatles back together came to succeeding.


Lorne Michaels’ Attempt To Reunite The Beatles Failed In Hilarious Fashion

Now that Saturday Night Live has been on the air for decades, it may seem like the show’s format should be set in stone. In reality, however, SNL’s producers continue to experiment. Back during the show’s first season, however, Lorne Michaels was willing to do very unconventional things. One example of that is the time Michaels jokingly tried to reunite The Beatles.


Lorne Michaels laughing
Via: NBC

In what appears to have been a publicity stunt, Michaels went on camera during an early episode of Saturday Night Live. As an Ultimate Classic Rock article outlined, Michaels went out on the show’s stage asking for The Beatles to reunite and perform on Saturday Night Live.

Lorne Michaels would later pull another stunt involving an entertainment legend. After Andy Kaufman appeared in several episodes of Saturday Night Live, the controversial comedian was banned from the show. Michaels then drummed up interest in the show by
allowing SNL’s viewers to vote about whether Kaufman could return
. The fans voted against Kaufman’s return and his ban continued.

Michaels began by discussing how much The Beatles meant to the world. Michaels then commented that maybe the members were waiting for the right offer before revealing how much he would pay them.

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“Now, we’ve heard and read a lot about personality and legal conflicts that might prevent you guys from reuniting. That’s something which is none of my business. That’s a personal problem. You guys will have to handle that. But it’s also been said that no one has yet to come up with enough money to satisfy you.”


Michaels continued, “Well, if it’s money you want, there’s no problem here. The National Broadcasting Company has authorized me to offer you this check to be on our show. A certified check for $3,000.”

The Beatles before their breakup
Via: Instar 

Michaels then went on to say that he expected The Beatles to play three songs if they accepted their offer. Michaels also joked that if they wanted, the other members of The Beatles could pay Ringo Starr less.

What are the best Saturday Night Live episodes ever, according to Looper?


Episode Number:

Host:

Rank:

Season 28, Episode 16

Bernie Mac

#10

Season 32, Episode 9

Justin Timberlake

#9

Season 38, Episode 16

Justin Timberlake

#8

Season 39, Episode 10

Jimmy Fallon

#7

Season 3, Episode 18

Steve Martin

#6

Season 35, Episode 21

Betty White

#5

Season 45, Episode 16

No Host, COVID-19 Episode filmed at casts’ homes

#4

Season 35, Episode 14

Ashton Kutcher

#3

Season 37, Episode 15

Christina Applegate

#2

Season 45, Episode 10

Eddie Murphy

#1

2:08

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“All you have to do is sing three Beatles songs.” he continued. “‘She Loves You,’ yeah, yeah, yeah – that’s $1,000 right there. You know the words. It’ll be easy. Like I said, this is made out to ‘The Beatles.’ You divide it anyway you want. If you want to give Ringo [Starr] less, that’s up to you. I’d rather not get involved.”

What are the most-viewed Saturday Night Live clips on YouTube as of March 2024, according to Cinema Blend?


Clip:

Year:

Views:

“Sean Spicer Press Conference”

2017

40 Million Views

“New Disney Movie”

2015

42 Million Views

“Celebrity Jeopardy! Kathie Lee, Tom Hanks, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds”

2009

43 Million Views

“SNL40: Celebrity Jeopardy”

2015

46 Million Views

“Close Encounter”

2015

59 Million Views

“Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base”

2016

65 Million Views

“Spider-Man Kiss”

2014

71 Million Views

“Harry Potter: Hermione Growth Spurt”

2004

73 Million Views

“Black Jeopardy With Tom Hanks”

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“P**n Teacher”

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As anyone with even a passing knowledge of music history will already know, The Beatles never appeared on SNL together. That said, fans of the band and SNL likely will be surprised to learn that some members of The Beatles almost took up Michaels’ offer.


John Lennon And Paul McCartney Almost Reunited On Saturday Night Live

Months after Lorne Michaels asked The Beatles to reunite on SNL, the joke paid off in a hilarious moment. When George Harrison appeared on SNL, the former member of The Beatles seemingly tried to get the $3,000 money order from Michaels

George Harrison and Lorne Michaels from Saturday Night Live
Via: NBC

In the hilarious segment, Michaels informed Harrison that he couldn’t have the money. As Michaels explained, he was only willing to pay the cash if Harrison reunited with his former bandmates.

As hilarious as that segment was, the truly amazing thing about Michaels’ attempt to reunite the top band in history took place away from the show’s set. According to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, they almost took Michaels up on his offer, at least partially.


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According to Ultimate Classic Rock’s article about Michaels’ offer, Lennon and McCartney happened to be together that fateful night. Not only that, McCartney and Lennon were watching SNL live when Michaels asked The Beatles to reunite. If those two coincidences weren’t amazing enough, the two rock legends also were close to where SNL was filmed.

Ultimate Classic Rock’s article quoted Lennon in 1980 talking about how he and McCartney almost drove over to the set of SNL right after Michaels made his offer.

“Paul … was visiting us at our place in the Dakota. We were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag. We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired. … He and I were just sitting there watching the show, and we went, ‘Ha ha, wouldn’t it be funny if we went down?’ But we didn’t.”

Paul McCartney and John Lennon side by side
Via: ITV/Common License


According to Ultimate Classic Rock’s article, McCartney also confirmed that he and Lennon almost made their way over to SNL. “John said, ‘We should go down, just you and me. There’s only two of us so we’ll take half the money.’ And for a second. … But It would have been work, and we were having a night off, so we elected not to go. It was a nice idea – we nearly did it.”

Who are the best Saturday Night Live hosts of all time, according to Digital Trends?

  • Alec Baldwin (#10)
  • Scarlett Johansson (#9)
  • Robin Williams (#8)
  • Emma Stone (#7)
  • Drew Barrymore (#6)
  • Chevy Chase (#5)
  • John Goodman (#4)
  • Tom Hanks (#3)
  • Eddie Murphy (#2)
  • Steve Martin (#1)

The story about that night is even more amazing than that. As it turns out, the night Lennon and McCartney almost went to SNL as a pair was the last time they were together.

The events of that night were so stunning that a TV movie titled Two of Us loosely based on what happened was produced.



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