The month was February 1964, and the music world would be changed forever

It was a British invasion and it was played out on black and white TV


Myrna Driedger, MLA Winnipeg Manitoba Progressive Conservative (PC) caucus
Myrna Driedger
Broadway Journal

There are some pivotal moments in life that leave a person remembering exactly where they were and what they were doing when that event occurred. Once such event is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; another is the first time the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show.

It is hard to believe, but Feb. 9, 2014 will be the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. I remember Sunday night was family TV night and I was curled up on the couch watching black and white TV anticipating the Beatles on the show. All the young people were talking about it. We didn’t know much about the band but we were familiar with a couple of their hits: “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, and “She Loves You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”.

It had been 11 weeks since the assassination of President Kennedy, a youthful, glamorous, smart man whom young people identified with and who gave us a sense of hope for the future. When he was killed it was a shock to both young and old. He was a bright light whose life had ended much too soon. We grieved for his young widow and her children and struggled with the senselessness of the crime. There was a common feeling of emptiness and confusion as to what the future would bring. The atmosphere, particularly in the States, was one of gloom.

The “Fab Four”, as the Beatles were aptly nicknamed, exploded on the North American musical scene and changed the music world forever. Their music changed attitudes from gloom to happiness. Their comedic charismatic personalities, song-writing abilities and skillful harmonizing had a positive effect, especially on teenagers. Suddenly kids were copying their style of hair and dress, imitating the English accent and memorizing the words to every song. Girls definitely had their favorite Beatle and the boys were picking up guitars and forming their own garage bands.

We danced to many Beatle tunes back then and 50 years later a good Beatles song still has the power to get people up on the dance floor gyrating . The world 50 years ago needed some positive energy and hope for the future. Who knew that four young men from Liverpool would provide that and change the world with their music?

I don’t know what you were doing on Feb. 9, 1964, but I’m sure as you read this article you will drift back to a time and a particular song that made you smile. In fact I bet you are humming or singing all the words to your favorite Beatles tune right now. “I Saw Her Standing There”…wonder if I can find a pair of John Lennon glasses and a Beatle cap?

Myrna Driedger is MLA for Charleswood and deputy leader of the provincial Conservative party.

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