THE Beatles have been honoured with lifetime achievement awards at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Recording Academy Special Merit Awards ceremony was the first of several celebrations of the surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney, the latter of whom was unable to make the ceremony because of rehearsals for the Grammy Awards.

The two will be the subject of a television special to air on February 9, which is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first performance in the US.

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Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, widows of Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison, received the special merit awards for their late husbands.

Accepting his award Starr said: "The Beatles' music is still out there, and that's the thing I'm most proud of."