SIR PAUL McCartney topped the bill at the spectacular opening ceremony for the London Olympics, in which Merseyside talent featured strongly.
His appearance marked the culmination of the marathon opening event at the Olympic Park. and followed a dramatic firework display.
Sir Paul led a mass singalong of his signature tune, Hey Jude, with the assembled athletes and spectators all joining in.
As the music faded, an emotional Sir Paul yelled, “You were great, you were great, you were all great,” pointing to the crowd.
The opening event, which merged music, dance and special effects to capture the best of Britain, brought together a diverse cast including James Bond star Daniel Craig and Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Hundreds of spectators also gathered at the big screen in Liverpool’s Clayton Square to watch the three-hour ceremony unfold.
One of the highlights was a short pre-recorded film showing James Bond actor Daniel Craig meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Making her film acting debut, the Queen said, “Good evening Mr Bond,” before the pair apparently flew in a helicopter across London to the Olympic stadium.
They parachuted down to the ground, but at the last moment - and in real-time - the Queen appeared in the arena to take her seat to cheers and applause.
Shortly after midnight, the Queen took centre stage again when she officially declared the 30th Olympiad of the modern era open.
In the hours leading up to this key moment, the world-wide TV audience – estimated at one billion people – was treated to a greatest hits medley of British pop over the decades with bursts of the Beatles, the Jam, Sex Pistols and Dizzee Rascal.
There were also excerpts from the Kinks, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Mud’s Tiger Feet before Emile Sande sang the cup final classic Abide With Me.