On this day in 1957, a 16-year-old John Lennon met 15-year-old Paul McCartney. It was at St. Peter’s, Woolton’s Parish Church in Liverpool and John was playing with the Quarry Men at a church fete come garden party.
It was a Saturday afternoon and Paul had gone along to a fete with his friend, Ivan Vaughan, to watch John’s skiffle group, the Quarry Men. The group was made up of Eric Griffiths, Colin Hanton, Rod Davis, John Lennon, Pete Shotton and Len Garry. The group took their name from Quarry Bank High School, which they all attended.
The Quarry Men played on a makeshift stage, in a field behind the church. John played guitar and sang, while Eric Griffiths also played guitar, Colin Hanton, the drums, Rod Davies a banjo, Pete Shotton was on washboard and Len Garry played the inevitable, tea chest bass.
Things had got underway in the early afternoon with a short parade through this up-market area of Liverpool, with a couple of lorries (trucks for our American readers) bringing the Rose Queen, on the first lorry, with the Quarry Men on a second lorry. The biggest challenge for John and his mates in the band was to stay upright on the back of the moving vehicle, while continuing to play; once in the field behind the church things got a little easier.
In the evening the Quarry Men played at the ‘Grand Dance’ in the church hall, opposite the church; sharing the bill with the George Edwards Band. Ivan Vaughan had on occasions played tea chest bass with the Quarry Men and it was he who introduced Paul to John. It really was a day that changed the course of history.
McCartney, wearing a white jacket with silver flecks and the obligatory black drainpipe trousers, talked with John for a little while and having shown John a technique for tuning, McCartney played some songs, including a medley of Little Richard’s tunes, along with Eddie Cochran‘s ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ and Gene Vincent‘s ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’.
According to Paul, “I remember John singing a song called ‘Come Go With Me’. He’d heard it on the radio. He didn’t really know the verses, but he knew the chorus. The rest he just made up himself. I just thought, ‘Well, he looks good, he’s singing well and he seems like a great lead singer to me.’ Of course, he had his glasses off, so he really looked suave. I remember John was good.”
Afterwards, John and Pete Shotton talked over whether or not to ask Paul to join The Quarry Men. They decided it would be a good idea and a couple of weeks later Shotton saw Paul riding his bike in Woolton and asked him to join; after a little thought Paul agreed to becoming a member.
And the rest, as they say, is history.