McCartney, Starr join Liverpool celebration


LIVERPOOL, England -- Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will pay tribute to their native city when Liverpool becomes European Capital of Culture next year.

"I'm very excited about Liverpool being the European Capital of Culture in 2008," McCartney told the launch event in a video message Thursday. "We have a fantastic series of events, which are sure to get you excited, too."

The Beatle will headline a June 1 concert for more than 30,000 people at Liverpool Football Club's Anfield stadium.

Starr -- along with Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart and the Liverpool Symphony Orchestra -- will lead the opening ceremony Jan. 12 with "Liverpool The Musical," a tribute to the city's musical heritage.

Liverpool-born conductor Simon Rattle will lead concerts with the Berlin and Liverpool Philharmonics, and hundreds of bands from around the world are due for Liverpool Music Week in November.

Each year two cities in European Union nations hold the title of culture capital, a designation that provides a boost for jobs and tourism. Britain last had its turn in 1990, when Glasgow was honored.

Stavanger, Norway, is the other culture capital for 2008.