Forget Elmo, Mickey Mouse and Minnie. The real star of Times Square on Thursday was a Beatle.
Much to the delight of the hundreds of tourists gathered there, Paul McCartney and his band arrived in yellow cabs in the heart of New York City's famed landmark, hopped aboard a tractor-trailer truck, and performed an impromptu mini-set that had those in attendance feeling pretty groovy.
Macca and his four-piece did not play any Beatles or Wings songs. Instead, McCartney got behind a multicolored piano and strapped on a guitar to play four new tracks off his forthcoming album, New, including "Save Us" and "Everybody Out There."
The former moptop kept the gig a secret until about noon yesterday when he tweeted, "Wow! Really excited to be playing New York Times Square at 1pm this afternoon!"
An hour later, he and his bandmates showed up and did just that—though it was for a relatively short 15 minutes.
That's because the concert was part of a publicity push for McCartney's first studio effort since the collection of covers he released with 2011's Kisses on the Bottom and his first batch of original tunes since 2007's Memory Almost Full.
"You're a lovely audience," the 71-year-old music legend told the lunchtime crowd towards the end of the show. "Let's do this same time tomorrow. Just kidding."
A day earlier, McCartney surprised about 400 students at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, with a full set of 13 songs, including Beatles classics like "Hey Jude" and "We Can Work It Out" and Wings gems "Jet" and "Band on the Run."
He also gave a "master class" where he took part in a Q&A with the teens and talked about songwriting, his beginnings with the Fab Four and the nature of fame.
The school—which Tony Bennett founded and named after his late friend and fellow crooner—taped the performance for broadcast on Clear Channel radio stations. It will also stream on Yahoo and air on iHeartRadio.com on Monday at 9 p.m.