I remember coming into the fete and seeing all the sideshows. And also hearing all this great music wafting in from this little Tannoy system. It was John and the band. I remember I was amazed and thought, ‘Oh great’, because I was obviously into the music. 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. He was really the only outstanding member, all the rest kind of slipped away.—Paul McCartney, February 1995, Record Collector
The Woolton Parish Church’s “Garden Fete,” a neighborhood fair, of July 6, 1957, featured a long list of attractions and entertainment acts to fill the day: the Liverpool Police Dogs on display, a parade, the crowning of the Rose Queen, the “Band of the Cheshire Yeomanry,” and “The Quarry Men Skiffle Group,” who were also slated to perform at the “Grand Dance” that night at 8:00 p.m.
Paul McCartney, a 14-year-old who had started to perform music, remembered seeing the band during the day as they were carried through the neighborhood on the back of a flatbed truck. The lead singer of the Quarry Men was John Lennon, a 16-year-old, and McCartney noticed that Lennon, while “suave” and “outstanding,” also was performing on an improperly tuned guitar. (Lennon tuned it like a banjo, which is what he had learned to play on.) McCartney showed the musicians how to tune their guitars, and then performed some songs he knew: Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock,” Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” and some songs by Little Richard. Lennon impressed McCartney and McCartney impressed Lennon.
(Photo at top; Lennon, in plaid, is seated at center, next to the white-shirted drummer, with his back against the cab of the truck.)
A few weeks later, Lennon invited McCartney to join the Quarry Men and McCartney agreed.
Bob Molyneux, an audience member, happened to record some music that night on his portable Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder, which he forgot about for decades. In 1994, he rediscovered it and realized what he had in his possession: one of the earliest, if not the earliest, recordings of John Lennon and his band, recorded on the night Paul McCartney was in the audience. In 1994, he offered it at auction and EMI Records bought the recording for £78,500, with the thought that it would be worth including in the upcoming Anthology project. The poor sound quality kept EMI from including it in Anthology, however.
Performing Lonnie Donegan’s “Puttin’ on the Style” and Elvis Presley’s Baby, “Let’s Play House,” here is the recording of The Quarry Men, featuring John Lennon, the night he and Paul McCartney met:
* * * *
William Faulkner died on this date in 1962. Louis Armstrong died 45 years ago today. Earlier this year, the only known film of Louis Armstrong at work in the recording studio was re-discovered. This clip is what has been shared with the public so far:
* * * *
Frida Kahlo was born on this date in 1907. The late Nancy Reagan was born on this date in 1921. Merv Griffin was born on this date in 1925. Dave Allen was born 80 years ago today. I am grateful to my mom for many things, including introducing me to Dave Allen:
* * * *
Della Reese is 85. The 14th Dalai Lama is 81 today. Ned Beatty is 79. Vladimir Ashkenazy is 79. Burt Ward is 71. President George W. Bush is 70. Sylvester Stallone is 70. Geoffrey Rush is 65. Willie Randolph is 62. Jennifer Saunders is 58. Brian Posehn is 50. 50 Cent is 41. Kevin Hart is 37 today.
Follow The Gad About Town on Facebook! Subscribe today for daily facts (well, trivia) about literature and history, plus links to other writers on Facebook.
Follow The Gad About Town on Instagram!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.