OGDEN -- It soon will be 20 years ago that Bill Parker played the 1960s seminal psychedelic album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club at The City Club.
And ever since, it has been a long and winding road at 264 Historic 25th St. for the nightclub that features one of the largest Beatles memorabilia collections in the world.
The 4,000-square-foot, two-level establishment is filled with several hundred rare paintings, lithographs, figurines, autographed guitars and other original items paying tribute to band mates Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
Parker and business partner Heidi Harwood opened The City Club on Sept. 27, 1991, converting what had been a sleepy supper club into a vibrant rock 'n' roll restaurant and night spot.
Parker is the former owner of a nuts and bolts fastener company, while Harwood was a financial planner.
Harwood said Parker's collection has allowed her to live out her dream of owning a successful nightclub. Harwood also owns Brewskis, a tavern adjacent to The City Club.
The Beatles theme for The City Club was a no-brainer for Parker, who had been hooked on the lads from Liverpool ever since watching their landmark television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 7, 1964.
Parker said that, as a 13-year-old living in Omaha, Neb., far from the Beatles' rough-and-tumble hometown of Liverpool, England, watching them perform was life-changing.
"It was love at first sight," he said.
The next day, Parker bought a pack of Beatles pencils for 99 cents. That was Parker's first memorabilia purchase, but certainly not his last.
Over the years, he has saved ticket stubs from the two live Beatles performances he attended -- Aug. 26, 1964, at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo., and Aug. 21, 1966, at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis.
The atmosphere at the concerts was terrific, but the sound wasn't. "You couldn't hear anything but the girls screaming," he said.
From Parker's humble beginnings collecting Beatles pencils and ticket stubs, he has amassed a memorabilia collection that has not only filled The City Club but also his 4,000-square-foot Ogden home.
Parker estimates he has about 2,000 Beatles albums pressed at record plants around the world, rare Beatles wigs, photos and autographs of the four moptops. He owns three of only four existing linen doilies that the Beatles signed in Washington, D.C., during their 1964 concert tour.
In addition, Parker has purchased a lithograph from famed artist LeRoy Neiman and owns four of the extremely rare and controversial butcher block album covers from the Beatles' "Yesterday and Today" album.
Parker made an offer to purchase a piano that the Beatles had used at the famed Abbey Road Studio in London. However, he withdrew the offer because the authenticity of the piano could not be verified.
Parker once almost managed to get one of the Fab Four into The City Club to look at his collection.
In 1999, Ringo Starr, who was playing at Weber State University's Dee Events Center with his All-Star Band, got as far as the back door of the club but refused to go in because of the crowd, Parker said.
Parker, who is now concentrating on obtaining Beatles artwork, said his appreciation for the band grows with each new acquisition.
"It's certainly been life-altering," he said.