Paul McCartney 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year

Musicians cueing up to salute Paul McCartney at MusiCares

In the United States, the Grammys weekend kicked off in full force on Friday night, with Paul McCartney being honored as the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year.

An annual tradition honoring entertainers, 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year gala shares a yearly look on who contribute exceptional artistic achievements and philanthropic work this year the event is held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This year, the gala was held only days prior to the Grammy Awards and had some big artists joining the event in honoring Paul McCartney.

The evening wasn’t just about chatting up the new Hollywood Star recipient as there are plenty of performances slated too. Tony Bennett, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, James Taylor and Neil Young are hit the stage.

The musicians cueing up to salute Paul McCartney at MusiCares were nervous enough about doing justice to their hero’s classics. The legendary musician, the biggest big shot snagged in the event’s 22-year history, was celebrated for his music and philanthropy.

McCartney, 69, took the stage and charged into rousing versions of Magical Mystery Tour and Junior’s Farm, setting a high bar for an evening of distinctive covers by diverse admirers.

Yoko Ono and George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, were on hand (Ringo Starr was sick at home), along with Bonnie Raitt, Glen Campbell, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, David Foster, Don Was, Jeff Lynne, David Crosby, Steven Van Zandt, Randy Jackson, Carole King, Jason Mraz and L.A. Reid.

The Gala was hosted by the comedian/actor Eddie Izzard, who invented a hilarious Paul McCartney bio populated by Jacques Cousteau, Fidel Castro and Muhammad Ali, with all events occurring in 1962.

The charity gala drew record attendance (2,800) and raised $6.5 million, the most in its history, for musicians in need of medical or financial aid. A baby grand piano painted and signed by Peter Max for Starr sold at auction for $175,000. Katy Perry, who researched MusiCares programs after receiving the tribute invitation, pledged $250,000.

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