1957 in Beatles History: John meets Paul, and George joins The Quarry Men

The Quarrymen at St. Peter's Church on 6th July 1957
The Quarrymen at St. Peter’s Church on 6th July 1957

Spring 1957 – The Blackjacks?

22nd June 1957 – Charlie Roberts photographs The Quarry Men at Rosebery Street

6th July 1957 – Paul McCartney is introduced to John Lennon at St. Peter’s Garden Fete – Part 1

6th July 1957 – Paul McCartney is introduced to John Lennon at St. Peter’s Garden Fete – Part 2

6th July 1957 – Paul McCartney is introduced to John Lennon at St. Peter’s Garden Fete – Part 3

6th July 1957 – First published photographs of The Quarrymen parade

August 1957 – The McCartney brothers

18th October 1957 – Paul McCartney’s debut with The Quarrymen; or is it?

7th December 1957 – George Harrison joins The Quarry Men

6th July 1957 – Part 3: John Lennon meets Paul McCartney

The Quarrymen led by John Lennon

Read Part 1 or Part 2 here

On the day John Lennon meets Paul McCartney, the meeting was about to happen. After the parade, and after Paul had watched John and The Quarrymen perform, the group was over in the church hall, preparing for the evening performance.

St Peter's Church Hall
St Peter’s Hall and Stage shortly before it was removed

Ivan Vaughan walked in with Paul McCartney, but what happened next?

Who did what? Who said what?

Since I started investigating these key moments in Beatles history, I have interviewed several people who were there at St. Peter’s Church on 6th July 1957. These include: Quarrymen Rod Davis, Eric Griffiths, Colin Hanton and Len Garry, plus eyewitnesses Julia Baird and Ian James. I have also studied the comments made by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. And guess what? Not everyone agrees on 100% of what happened! I did mention to several of them that they should have been taking notes, as the most important meeting in music history was happening, but we can excuse them!

David playing with The Quarrymen
David playing with The Quarrymen at he 50th Anniversary

What we can agree, when collating and conflating the eyewitness accounts, is that most of The Quarrymen were in the hall: Colin Hanton had gone home for tea, and Rod Davis was in the toilet for some of the time! Ivan brought Paul over to meet John, and they were talking for a short while. Paul was intrigued by how John was playing guitar. John explained that he was playing banjo chords, as taught by his mother.

He’s cack-handed!

Most of them agree that John handed Paul his guitar. The first thing Paul did was to alter the tuning, which was more than the other Quarrymen could do; tune a guitar! What astonished them, and must have looked impressive, was that Paul then turned John’s guitar upside down, because he had learned to play a right-handed guitar upside down! This was verified during an interview I did for “The Fab one hundred and Four” with Ian. Paul was left-handed (or cack-handed as we call it. Just don’t ask why!!)

Twenty Flight Rock

Paul then played “Twenty Flight Rock” by Eddie Cochran, and proved he could not only play a guitar upside-down, but he could sing too, and know a new song, including its lyrics. No wonder John was impressed! Paul also sang some of “Long Tall Sally”, not knowing how important that song was to John (that will be a future blog post).

After a short time, Paul left to go home, and John was left with the decision; should he let Paul join, even though he was better than him, but would improve the group?

John made the right decision; Paul would be invited to join, thus creating the Lennon/McCartney partnership that would change modern music.

You can see photos from the parade in “The Fab one hundred and Four”, as well as interviews and other photos too.

David Bedford

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

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