Broken Bells release their second album After the Disco this week, but instead of offering last night’s Late Show audience one of their dance jams, James Mercer and Danger Mouse kicked off Letterman’s week-long tribute to the Beatles with a performance of “And I Love Her,” featuring Ringo Starr (sorta).
The group turned the adoring acoustic original into something more morose — even sinister — thanks to Danger Mouse’s warbling synth lines. Combined with Mercer’s sweet, but detached vocals and old TV footage of Starr playing drums, Broken Bells’ rendition of “And I Love Her” sounds like something befitting of Sgt. Pepper’s more than A Hard Day’s Night. As Burton noted after the performance, the duo looped the drum beat from “I Am the Walrus,” creating a Beatles mash-up befitting Danger Mouse’s Grey Album roots.
The Late Show‘s “Beatles Week” will continue tomorrow with Sting performing “Drive My Car,” the Flaming Lips and Sean Lennon playing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” on Wednesday and Lenny Kravitz appearing on Thursday with a song to be determined. Friday’s guest has yet to be announced. The week-long celebration comes ahead of the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles monumental appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show; and, of course, the Late Show tapes at the Ed Sullivan Theater where the band made their American debut.
After the Disco, Broken Bells’ latest album, finds Mercer and Danger Mouse navigating their respective personal lives to create an album of lush, danceable tunes with a dark undercurrent.
Asked what the album was about, Mercer recently told Rolling Stone, “[Brian’s] lifestyle and him being single and just dealing with relationships and stuff, whereas I’m kind of an old married guy. I can take those subjects and run with them too, you know. There’s a lot of late night conversations that we have hanging out, working and stuff. I think some of that ends up the next day in the form of lyrics too.”
Burton and Mercer also sat down with Late Show bandleader Paul Shaffer for a detailed interview about their love of the Beatles, how their chose their Beatles selection and the technical wizardry needed to make the performance happen.