Harley Hay: ‘It was fifty years ago today’

To paraphrase the famous lyrics of the iconic Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – “It was fifty years ago today …!”

I for one almost refuse to believe that it’s really been FIVE DECADES since those paraphrased lyrics first landed on my large ears. And even five years earlier than that when the world changed …

“Ladies and Gentlemen: …THE BEATLES!!”

Even though Ed Sullivan had been saying for weeks that the “Fab Four” would be arriving in North America soon, and the “Mop Tops” would be appearing live exclusively on his show, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw and heard and felt that night.

I’ve had several of those profoundly meaningful moments in my life, although some of them may have actually been minor seizures brought on by fast-food poisoning or staring at strobe lights coming from the stage at Varsity Hall, but I’ll forever be indebted to Ed Sullivan for changing my life.

Almost everyone on the planet, and many of those on several of the closest planets has heard of the Ed Sullivan Show, a television “variety show” in the ’60s’, that came on at eight o’clock Sunday nights, and was singularly responsible for every young school kid in North America being allowed to stay up late to watch the show with the rest of the family.

Ed Sullivan brought the most magical things imaginable into our living rooms every week. In the dusty dorky days of one-channel black and white television, Ed brought famous singers and comedians, Chinese acrobats, Russian dancers, guys spinning a dozen plates on sticks. From the Muppets to Mick Jagger, Liberace to the Singing Nun. An impossibly adorable Italian mouse puppet called Topo Gigo who was always trying to get Ed to give him a kiss on the cheek – “Kees me Eddie!”

Psychology guru Abraham Maslow from the 1960s called it a “peak experience” whereupon you feel some sort of cosmic connection in a profound moment of inspiration, understanding and joy that has nothing to do with illicit 1960s chemical substances. This is exactly what I felt when I was appointed Shauna Frizzell’s Crossing Guard partner at Central School. Also, when The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

And when John, Paul, George and Ringo launched into All My Lovin,’ I immediately started growing my hair.

I can’t begin to underestimate just how peak that experience was when the universe brought together Ed Sullivan, The Beatles, and all of us lucky enough to have been swept up in the swirling delicious chaos of a changing world. One of those defining moments that changes who you are and where you’re going. A rare metaphysical event where the forces of the universe somehow conspire to resonate with your personal unrealized hopes and dreams to bring meaning and purpose and clarity to a short kid with big ears and 12 fluid ounces of Sauve styling cream in his hair.

It unfolded that there are two kinds of people in this world. Beatles fans versus Rolling Stones fans. Those who are fans of Paul, those who are fans of John. Chev guys and Ford guys. Honda versus Harley (Davidson). You know who you are.

But now, a life time down the long and winding road, looking back, I’m happy to be, like millions of others, a self-proclaimed charter member of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Even though, I’m absolutely positive 1969 was just a few years ago. (Wasn’t it??)

The Beatles must have discovered a time warp. But then again, I’ve always said they were magic.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds turn up at Coldest Night of Year walk in Red Deer

It wasn’t the coldest night of the year, which probably helped the… Continue reading

Police in Saskatoon shoot two dogs that attacked man, then advanced on officers

SASKATOON — Police in Saskatoon say officers had to open fire at… Continue reading

13-year-old Maskwacis teen missing

Maskwacis RCMP are asking for public assistance to locate 13-year-old Rebecca Soosay.… Continue reading

Red Deer area residents who were quarantined on cruise ship near Japan back in Canada

Central Alberta residents are safe and test negative for coronavirus

Alberta doctors getting ready for court fight against new pay, benefits deal

EDMONTON — The head of the Alberta Medical Association says it’s preparing… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

TSN, Curling Canada agree to eight-year extension on broadcast rights contract

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Curling Canada and TSN have extended their broadcast… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with Mohawks in Kahnawake, Que.

KAHNAWAKE, Que. — Traditional chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation maintained Saturday… Continue reading

Saskatoon protest springs up, even after Trudeau orders blockades torn down

More protests in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs sprung up on Saturday,… Continue reading

Saskatchewan’s chief coroner warns public after fatal drug overdoses in Regina

REGINA — Two deaths and dozens of drug overdoses in Regina have… Continue reading

A champion, again: Humphries wins 3rd women’s bobsled title

Kaillie Humphries of the U.S. is a bobsled champion again, winning her… Continue reading

Canada’s Kingsbury finishes first in moguls for 62nd World Cup victory

TAZAWAKO, Japan — Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury earned his 62nd World Cup victory… Continue reading

Cruise-ship evacuees arrive for quarantine in Canada as first Wuhan evacuees let go

OTTAWA — A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have… Continue reading

Most Read