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    Posted January 30, 2014 by
    Brandon, Manitoba
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Beatlemania memories

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    Excerpt from our online Gig Notes project:
    Early 2014 saw a flurry of Beatles excitement in the media, since it had been 50 years since their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show -- a television appearance that had launched their "invasion" of North America. Thinking back there are a few things I remember about that exciting time.
    I had been waiting to see the Fab 4 for some time in the early '60s. Alan Jones, a bandmate from England had a brother in Yorkshire who'd been sending reports about an unusual pop band with a funny name and strange haircuts. who were the latest rage with teens and the media in England. Since I was a real fan of British music and was always looking for new songs to learn, he had been sending us Lonnie Donegan and Shadows records. He then started to enclose a few Beatles singles in his packages. Around this time Chad Allan and the Reflections (The Guess Who), who made regular appearances at the Brandon Roller Rink where we worked as house band, started to feature Beatles songs in their act. Interest piqued by all this and the stories in the imported UK papers which I bought occasionally at Brandon newstands, it was a thrill to finally see the band on the Ed Sullivan Show.

    This North American debut kicked off a tremendous change in the music, fashion and attitudes of the young. We soon let our hair grow longer, bought Beatle boots, tailored our trousers to a skinny fit, shopped for jackets with Nehru collars, replaced many of our band instrumentals with vocals and harmony, tried our hand at writing our own songs, looked at Gretsch and Hofner guitars with even more admiration, and developed an even stronger fascination with all things British.

    It was quite amazing that someone so stodgy as Ed Sullivan became a major force in launching two music and cultural revolutions. Back in 1956 I had been just as excited and inspired when I watched Elvis, the Blue Moon Boys and Jordanaires on his show.

    Thinking back over the last 50-plus years and reading through our "Music Odyssey" project notes I realize just how influential the Beatles have been on our music. I've jotted down some of the highlights of this "Beatles Connection" that we've expanded upon elsewhere in this tome:
    * Not only did they inspire changes in appearance, music styles and social attitudes, but they also provided the incentive for us to book studio time in Canada and England to record our own music
    * My sprawling packrat collection includes a full library of Beatles books, magazines, records/tapes/videos . . . as well as numerous Beatles-inspired instruments
    * 50 years ago I also married an Asian girl . . . and we too have two musician sons . . . but going beyond Lennon's lead, we also have a beautiful musician daughter
    * I had the thrill of singing through John Lennon's favourite microphone during a recording session . . . which I accidentally broke -- very embarrassing
    * The engineer for one of our albums had worked at Abbey Road on the White Album sessions
    * Spent time exploring Liverpool during one of our England tours in the '70s. . . where we were ticked off to find that the original Cavern Club had been demolished
    * Played many of the same clubs in Northern England that the Silver Beetles had played in their early days
    * Spent two weeks in the Reeperbahn district of Hamburg visiting and photographing the clubs and haunts where the Beatles had evolved their act
    * Two afternoon meetings in the London Soho office of Dick James whose company had notoriously taken over the Beatles' Northern Songs publishing rights
    * Performed a stint in a Beatles "tribute" band
    * A highlight of our last New York visit was attending the Letterman broadcast in the Ed Sullivan Theatre and taking an afternoon hike to the Dakota Apartments
    * The Beatles figure prominently in our Rock Roots section:
    Hamburg Years Tribute
    Post Hamburg - Fab Four Years
    Our Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show collage:
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