6th July 1957 – Part 2: Without Ivan, there would be NO Beatles

Ivan (left) with Pete Shotton
Ivan Vaughan (left) with Pete Shotton

How did John Lennon and Paul McCartney Meet?

The story of how John and Paul met for the first time on 6th July is a fascinating one, because it has the strangest of coincidences connected with it.

When John moved in with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George in 1946, the first friend he made was Ivan Vaughan, who lived in Vale Road, just behind “Mendips”. When Ivan moved from Lidderdale Infants School to Dovedale Primary School at the age of 8, he and John became even closer, even though he was a year behind John.

“THAT Lennon!”

However, with John’s reputation among the parents in Woolton, when it came for Ivan to go to Grammar School, Mr and Mrs Vaughan didn’t want their son following John to Quarry Bank! Known by parents as “THAT Lennon!”, they didn’t want their precious son, who was very intelligent, being corrupted by Lennon. And so they took the decision to send him all the way into the city centre to the Liverpool Institute.

 John Lennon and Ivan Vaughan in the Isle of Man
John Lennon (second from left) and Ivan Vaughan (second from right) in the Isle of Man

The Same Birthday

Ivan Vaughan
Ivan at the Liverpool Institute

At the Liverpool Institute, Ivan ended up in the same class as a lad born on exactly the same day as him; Paul McCartney. The two became friends, with a mutual interest in music, and so Ivan told Paul all about his friend’s skiffle group called The Quarrymen, which Ivan occasionally played in. He told Paul that The Quarrymen were performing at the Woolton Fete on 6th July (1957) and invited him to come along. Paul was indecisive at first, but when Ivan told him it was a good place to meet girls, how could he refuse!

John, Meet Paul

And so, on 6th July 1957, Ivan brought Paul along to St. Peter’s Church, and introduced him to John Lennon.

Without Ivan, the most important meeting in music history would never have taken place. John and Paul lived in different parts of Liverpool, went to different schools, and had different groups of friends, all apart from Ivan. And so, thanks to Mr and Mrs Vaughan wanting to keep their son away from John Lennon, they inadvertently connected John and Paul, and thus led to the birth of The Beatles.

Thank you Mr and Mrs Vaughan, and especially Ivan.

Find out more about Ivan in The Fab One Hundred and Four.

David Bedford

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6th July 1957 – Part 1: The Quarrymen on Parade

The Quarrymen with John Lennon
The Quarrymen: Pete Shotton, Eric Griffiths, Len Garry, John Lennon, Colin Hanton and Rod Davis
The Quarrymen in the parade
The Quarrymen, including John, on the wagon during the parade

On 6th July 1957, the day John Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time, there was a parade around the village of Woolton. At the front of the parade was a marching band, and at the back was The Quarrymen. In the above photo, you can see that John is singing, though nobody else is doing anything!

The Quarrymen (left to right) are: Pete Shotton, Eric Griffiths, Len Garry, John Lennon, Colin Hanton and Rod Davis. The photos of the parade were taken by Rod’s father James Davis. This photo appeared in my first book, Liddypool, and was inserted at the last minute, when the book was on the printing press ready to go! We literally said; “Hold the presses!” It was the first time it had appeared in a book.

When I was working on my second book, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”, I gained permission from Rod Davis to reproduce all of the photos from the parade, the only book to include all of the photographs. These include the marching band, brownies and guides, the youth group, the Rose Queen and another of The Quarrymen. They are incredible. You can get your copy of the book here.

As the parade finished, everyone left the parade, as The Quarrymen clambered down from the wagon, and walked along the side of the church to the field behind the church. In that crowd watching closely was Ivan Vaughan, and his school friend Paul McCartney. Who could have predicted what would happen this day would still be talked about all these years later.

David Bedford

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Paul McCartney’s Birthday – Coincidences and Incidents!

Paul McCartney's birthday

James Paul McCartney was born on 18th June 1942, and Paul McCartney’s birthday has some interesting stories associated with it.

John Lennon’s first friend in Woolton when he moved to live with Aunt Mimi and Uncle George was Ivan Vaughan. They soon became great friends, with Ivan also going to Dovedale Primary School, though 1 year behind John. When John moved to Quarry Bank Grammar School, it was assumed that Ivan would follow the next year. However, Ivan’s parents were not happy with that. However, as “That Lennon” was so much trouble, and would get Ivan into trouble too, they decided he should go to a different school. Instead of the local Quarry Bank, he was sent all the way into town to join the Liverpool Institute.

Happy Birthday Ivan

Ivan Vaughan (left) with Pete Shotton

One of the biggest coincidences in Beatles history is that Ivan Vaughan was born on exactly the same day as Paul. With Paul also at the Institute, Paul and Ivan ended up in the same class. They became friends, and realised they had a mutual taste in music. It was Ivan who invited his new friend Paul to come to meet his old friend John at the Woolton fete. If it hadn’t been for Ivan, it is highly unlikely that John and Paul would have got together; no Ivan, no Lennon/ McCartney, no Beatles. Thank you Ivan! Ivan remained friends with John and Paul, though sadly died young from Parkinson’s disease. (Read more in The Fab One Hundred and Four)

The Beatles First Left-Handed Bass Player

Who was the Beatles’ first left-handed bass player? It wasn’t Paul McCartney! When The Beatles returned from Hamburg at the end of 1960, Stuart stayed in Hamburg with Astrid. They needed a bass player. Pete Best suggested his old bandmate Chas Newby, who had played with him in The Blackjacks, who was home from College for Christmas.

Happy Birthday Chas

Chas Newby, The Beatles first left-handed bass player

Charles “Chas” Newby was born on 18th June 1941, and so shares a birthday with Paul McCartney; it must be something to do with being left-handed?? For the four performances over the Christmas on 1960 at the Casbah (twice), Litherland Town Hall and the Grosvenor Ballroom in Wallasey, Chas was The Beatles’ bass player. Not many people had come across Chas when I first tracked him down around 2007 and interviewed him for my first book, Liddypool, where you can read the full interview.

Happy 21st Birthday Paul!

Paul’s 21st birthday party on 18th June 1963 should have been a great celebration, but it will be remembered for something else. The party was held at Auntie Jin’s house in Dinas Lane, Liverpool. John Lennon had just returned from a short holiday in Spain with Beatles manager Brian Epstein, even though John had just become a father to Julian. At the party, John, who was not a good drunk, got himself “blitzed” and was involved in two unsavoury incidents. Bob Wooler, a great friend and help to The Beatles and many Liverpool groups, was always one for a funny phrase. However, he chose the wrong day for this one!

Looking for Lennon

Everybody knew that Brian Epstein was gay, and so eyebrows were raised when John went on holiday with Epstein. Wooler couldn’t resist a joke, and said to John; “How was the honeymoon?” Lennon took great offence and, being very drunk, decided to beat up Bob Wooler. Eyewitnesses were appalled, and had to drag John off Wooler, who ended up in hospital. Thankfully for John, and The Beatles, Brian was able to appease Bob, who was a decent man too, and, after an apology, didn’t press charges.

However, that wasn’t the only incident of the night. In his drunken state, John approached Billy J Kramer’s girlfriend, and decided to make a grab for her breasts. Needless to say, according to Billy J Kramer and Billy Hatton (from The Fourmost), the girl immediately smacked John, as she was fully entitled to do. John, however, just smacked her straight back! He was not entitled to do that! Billy Hatton and others dragged John away, and put him in a taxi home. It was not his greatest day. Billy Hatton’s interview is featured in “Looking for Lennon“, the documentary feature film for which I was historian and Associate Producer. (It is out on DVD in the US, and due for release in the UK and rest of the world soon.)

No Social Media

Thankfully, for The Beatles, there was no such thing as social media, facebook, twitter, and living lives online! This was 18th June 1963: The Beatles were the new top group in the country, with Number 1 singles and album, and on a UK tour. Imagine if there were smartphones back then? The Beatles career would have been over before it had begun. Thankfully, the incident over Bob Wooler only made it into a small column in the Daily Mirror newspaper. They had got away with it, but only just.

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