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The Quarrymen

The Quarrymen
The Quarrymen performing in Rosebery Street, Liverpool on 22 June 1957.[1] (Left to right: Hanton, Griffiths, Lennon, Garry, Shotton, and Davis)
Background information
Also known as The Blackjacks, Johnny and the Moondogs
Origin Liverpool, England
Years active 1956 (1956)[2]–1960 (1960), 1997 (1997)–present
Labels Griffin, Quarrymen Records, Sony BMG
Associated acts The Les Stewart Quartet, the Blackjacks, the Beatles
Rod Davis
Len Garry
Colin Hanton
John Duff Lowe
Past members

The Quarrymen (also written as "the Quarry Men") are a British skiffle/rock and roll group, formed by John Lennon in Liverpool in 1956,[2] which eventually evolved into the Beatles in 1960. Originally consisting of Lennon and several schoolfriends, the Quarrymen took their name from a line in the school song of Quarry Bank High School, which they attended. Lennon's mother, Julia Lennon, taught her son to play the banjo and then showed Lennon and Eric Griffiths how to tune their guitars in a similar way to the banjo, and taught them simple chords and songs.

Lennon started a skiffle group that was very briefly called the Blackjacks, but changed the name before any public performances. Some accounts credit Lennon with choosing the new name; other accounts credit his close friend Liverpool Institute.

The group made an amateur recording of themselves in 1958, performing Buddy Holly's "That'll Be the Day" and "In Spite of All the Danger", a song written by McCartney and Harrison. In early 1960, the group started exploring various alternative names. After Lennon recruited his art school pal Stuart Sutcliffe to the group, they tried the name the Silver Beetles and other variations, before finally settling on The Beatles in August 1960 when they first performed in Hamburg.

In 1997 the four surviving original members of the Quarrymen reunited to perform at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the garden fete performance at which Lennon and McCartney met for the first time. The band decided to continue playing, and since 1998 have performed in many countries throughout the world. Griffiths died in 2005, and Shotton retired due to ill-health. As of 2015, three original members are still actively performing as the Quarrymen.


  • Early years 1
  • Line-ups 2
    • Paul McCartney 2.1
    • George Harrison 2.2
  • Recording 3
  • The Beatles 4
    • Stuart Sutcliffe 4.1
  • 1997 reformation to present 5
  • Members 6
    • Regular members 6.1
    • Other members 6.2
  • Timeline 7
  • Timeline 8
  • Discography 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Early years

In the mid-1950s, there was a revival in the United Kingdom of the musical form "skiffle" that had originated in the United States and had been popular in the US in the 1920s, '30s and '40s. In addition to its popularity among British teenagers as music to listen to, it also spawned a craze of teenage boys starting their own groups to perform the music. One of the primary attractions was that it did not require great musical skills or expensive instruments to be played.[3] Early British skiffle was played by traditional jazz musicians, with the most successful British proponent of the genre in the 1950s being Lonnie Donegan.[4] The Quarrymen's initial repertoire included several songs that Donegan had recorded.[5] When Lennon wanted to try making music himself, he and fellow Quarry Bank school friend, Griffiths, took guitar lessons in Hunt's Cross, Liverpool, although Lennon gave up the lessons soon after, as they were based on theory and not actual playing.[6]

As Griffiths already knew how to play the banjo, Lennon's mother showed them how to tune the top four strings of their guitars to the same notes as a banjo, taught them the chords of D, C, and D7, and the Fats Domino song, "Ain't That a Shame".[6][7] They practised at Lennon's aunt's house (called Mendips) at 251 Menlove Avenue where Lennon lived, or at Griffiths' house in Halewood Drive.[8] They learned how to play "Rock Island Line", "Jump Down Turn Around (Pick a Bale of Cotton)", "Alabamy Bound" and "Cumberland Gap", and later learned how to play "That's All Right" and "Mean Woman Blues".[7][8]

Lennon started his own skiffle band (very briefly called the Blackjacks) with Griffiths in the summer of 1956, and recruited his best friend, Shotton, even though he could not play an instrument.[8][9][10] Shotton elected to play the washboard, as it simply required percussive strumming and no lessons, so his mother supplied a washboard she found in the shed, and two thimbles from her sewing box.[11] A week later Shotton asked Bill Smith, another school friend, to play a home-made tea chest bass, and Griffiths invited another school friend, Rod Davis (who had just purchased a banjo), to join the group.[11][12][13] After a few days the Blackjacks name was abandoned. Both Lennon and Shotton have been credited with coining the name Quarrymen after a line in their school's song: "Quarrymen, old before our birth. Straining each muscle and sinew". The choice of name was tongue-in-cheek as Lennon regarded the reference in the school song to "straining each muscle and sinew" as risible.[5][14]


The group first rehearsed in Shotton's house on Vale Road, but because of the noise his mother told them to use the corrugated air-raid shelter in the back garden.[15] Bill Smith performed at only two shows and rarely turned up for rehearsals, so Lennon decided that he should be replaced by his friend Len Garry. At the time of this decision, Smith had the group's tea-chest bass, so Lennon and Shotton decided to break into Smith's parents' garage and "liberate" the instrument. Another Lennon friend, Ivan Vaughan, occasionally played at rehearsals when Garry was not available.[16][17] Colin Hanton was an apprentice at Guy Rogers' upholstery company in Speke, and travelled to work on the same bus as Griffiths used to get to school.[18] Hanton mentioned that he had a set of drums, but said that he was only an amateur. Griffiths went to Hanton's house to watch him play.[19] Griffiths invited Hanton to join The Quarrymen, as having a drummer was a clear advantage for a group in Liverpool at the time, because they could then play rock 'n' roll songs as well as skiffle tunes.[16]

The Quarrymen's instruments

Rehearsals were moved from the cold air-raid shelter to Hanton's or Griffiths' house—as Griffiths' father had died in WWII, and his mother worked all day.[20] The band also often visited Lennon's mother at 1 Blomfield Road, listening to her collection of rock 'n' roll records by Elvis, Shirly and Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll", and Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula" which they added to their repertoire.[21] Another school friend, Nigel Walley, occasionally lent a hand playing tea-chest bass, but lost his instrument when he left it at a bus stop, so decided to become their manager.[22] Although he did not secure the group many paid engagements, he sent flyers to local theatres and ballrooms, and put up posters designed by Lennon: "Country-and-western, rock n' roll, skiffle band — The Quarrymen — Open for Engagements — Please Call Nigel Walley, Tel.Gateacre 1715".[20] Walley did manage to secure two intermission concerts at the Gaumont cinema (near Penny Lane) on Saturday afternoons, and The Quarrymen performed at parties and skiffle contests in the Liverpool area.[23][24]

Canadian impresario Worried Man Blues", and were loudly applauded, but a group from Wales called the Sunnyside Skiffle Group "jumped all over the stage" and outshone the static Quarrymen, and were asked by Levis to fill in the last few minutes of the contest with a second song.[25] Lennon argued heatedly with Levis backstage, saying the Sunnyside Skiffle Group had brought a bus full of supporters with them, and were given "the upper hand" advantage by Levis.[25] After the competition, Levis used a clap-o-meter (a machine to measure the decibels of the audience's reaction to the groups) as they were asked to walk back out onto the stage. The Quarrymen and the Sunnyside skiffle Group both tied by reaching ninety on the meter, but after a second test, the Quarrymen lost by a small margin.[26]

Whilst playing golf with Dr. Joseph Sytner, Walley—who had left school at 15 to become an apprentice golf professional at the Lee Park Golf Club—asked Dr. Sytner if his son, Alan, could book the Quarrymen at The Cavern, in Mathew Street, which was one of three jazz clubs he managed. Sytner suggested that the band should play at the golf club first, so as to assess their talent.[27] The band set up in the downstairs lounge of the golf club, and were surprised when nearly one hundred people filed in to listen. Just before the performance, the zip on Davis' jeans broke, and he had to cover his crotch with his banjo.[19] The performance was a success, a hat was later passed and almost £15 was collected, which was much more than any other groups were paid.[28]

Alan Sytner phoned Walley a week later and offered the group an interlude spot playing skiffle between the performances of two jazz bands at the Cavern.[29] Before the Cavern performance, the Quarrymen played (gratis) for St. Peter's Youth Club, in St. Barnabas Church hall, and were the main act at a Quarry Bank school dance.[29] During this time Lennon heard Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" for the first time at classmate Michael Hill's house near Penny Lane, and thought Richard a better singer than Elvis.[30] The group learned how to play numerous Elvis songs such as, "Don't Be Cruel", "All Shook Up", and "Heartbreak Hotel", as well as songs by Eddie Cochran, and Jerry Lee Lewis.[31]

Before the Cavern Club performance, the group argued amongst themselves about the set list, as rock 'n' roll songs were definitely not allowed at the club, but skiffle was tolerated as it was considered to be an offshoot of jazz. After beginning with a skiffle song, Lennon called for the others to start playing "Don't Be Cruel". Davis warned Lennon that the audience would "eat you alive", but Lennon ignored this and started playing the song himself, forcing the others to join in. Halfway through, Sytner pushed his way through the audience and handed Lennon a note which read, "Cut out the bloody rock 'n' roll".[32]

After playing at an outdoor birthday party at Hanton's aunt's house, Shotton decided to leave the band, saying "I hate this, John—it's not for me". Lennon promptly picked up the washboard and smashed it over Shotton's head, leaving only the wooden frame hanging on Shotton's shoulders, and then said, "Well, that solves that then, doesn't it?" At Lennon's pleading, Shotton agreed to play a few more engagements (with his repaired washboard) before finally leaving.[33] On Saturday 22 June 1957, The Quarrymen played a major performance;— two sets on a stationary flatbed truck at an outdoor party in Rosebery Street, Liverpool, to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the granting of Liverpool’s charter by King John.[34][35]

Paul McCartney

The famous photo of the Quarrymen playing at St. Peter's Church garden fête, where Lennon and McCartney first met. From left to right: Griffiths, Hanton, Davis, Lennon, Shotton, Garry

On Saturday 6 July 1957, The Quarrymen played at St. Peter's Church Rose Queen garden fête in Woolton. They first played on the back of a moving flatbed lorry, in a procession of floats that carried the Rose Queen and retiring Rose Queen, Morris dancers, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides and Cubs, led by the Band of the Cheshire Yeomanry.[36] At 4:15 they played on a permanent stage in the field behind the church,[37] before a display by the City of Liverpool Police Dogs.[38][39] They were playing "Come Go with Me" when Paul McCartney arrived, and in the Scout hut after the set, Ivan Vaughan introduced McCartney to Lennon, who chatted for a few minutes before the band set up in the church hall for their performance at that evening's "Grand Dance".[7][40] McCartney demonstrated how he tuned his guitar then sang Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock", Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula", and a medley of Little Richard songs.[38][41]

Vaughan and McCartney left before the evening show which started at 8 o'clock.[42] During the performance there was an unexpected thunderstorm, which made the lights go out.[43] Bob Molyneux, a young schoolmate from Quarry Bank, recorded part of the performance on his Grundig TK8 portable reel-to-reel tape recorder. The tape included versions of Lonnie Donegan's "Puttin' on the Style" and Elvis' "Baby Let's Play House". In 1963, Molyneux offered the tape to Lennon via Ringo Starr, but Lennon never responded, so Molyneux put the tape in a vault.[3][44]

As they were walking home after the evening performance, Lennon and Shotton discussed the afternoon encounter with McCartney, and Lennon said that perhaps they should invite McCartney to join the band. Two weeks later Shotton encountered McCartney cycling through Woolton, and conveyed Lennon's casual invitation for him to join the Quarrymen, and Vaughan also invited McCartney to join.[38] McCartney said he would join after Scout camp in Hathersage, and a holiday with his family at Butlins holiday camp in Filey, Yorkshire.[45][46] When McCartney returned from holiday he began rehearsing with the Quarrymen, playing songs such as, "Bye Bye Love" (The Everly Brothers) and "All Shook Up", that Lennon and the group had been trying to learn, without success.[47] During the summer, Davis was on holiday in Annecy, France, and when he returned he discovered that McCartney had joined the group. With McCartney joining, rock 'n' roll songs were replacing much of the skiffle material in the group's repertoire. Davis felt that the banjo was ill-suited to the group's new direction and he withdrew from the group without rancour. In 1960, while studying at Cambridge University, Davis recorded the song "Running Shoes" with the Trad Grads, for Decca Records (Decca, 11403) which he later mentioned to an envious Lennon.[46]

McCartney made his debut with the band on Friday, 18 October 1957 at a Conservative Club social held at the New Clubmoor Hall in the Norris Green section of Liverpool.[48][45] Lennon and McCartney wore cream-coloured sports jackets, which were paid for by the whole group—Walley collected half a crown per week from each member until they were paid for—and the others wore white shirts with tassels and black bootlace ties.[48] To the irritation of the other group members, McCartney endlessly practised the lead guitar intro to "Raunchy" (by saxophonist Bill Justis) and a solo from "Guitar Boogie Shuffle", for days before the engagement, but on the night (after being specially introduced by Lennon as a new member of the group) he missed his cue on "Raunchy", played all the wrong notes, and stepped back in embarrassment between Hanton and Garry. Everyone expected Lennon to say something sarcastic, but the sight of the always overconfident McCartney looking so crestfallen made Lennon laugh out loud so much that he "almost pissed himself".[49] On Thursday, 7 November, Charlie McBain booked the Quarrymen to appear at the Wilson Hall Garston, Merseyside.[50] During 1957, McCartney played his first self-composed song, "I've Lost My Little Girl" to Lennon (written in 1956, after the death of McCartney's mother), who was shocked and impressed, according to Shotton's account.[51]

George Harrison

The Quarrymen played the New Clubmoor Hall on 10 January 1958 and at the Cavern on 24 January. McCartney's school friend, Harrison (from a year below at the Liverpool Institute, which they both attended) first saw the group perform on 6 February at Wilson Hall.[52] Harrison then auditioned for The Quarrymen in Bert Weedon) in March 1958.[53][54] Lennon thought Harrison (at 15) was too young to join the band, so McCartney engineered another meeting on the upper deck of a Liverpool bus, where Harrison played "Raunchy" for Lennon.[55][56] After McCartney's constant advocacy Lennon allowed the recently turned fifteen-year-old Harrison to join the Quarrymen as lead guitarist.[7][55][57] The group then rehearsed at McCartney's house, but Griffiths was not told. When he coincidentally telephoned the McCartney house, Lennon, Harrison and McCartney sat in the back room, forcing Hanton to explain the situation. Griffiths left the Quarrymen soon after.[58]

In March, Garry contracted tubercular meningitis, and spent seven months in Fazakerley hospital, and never played with the group again.[58] The Quarrymen learned many of The Everly Brothers songs, such as, "Cathy's Clown", "All I Have to Do Is Dream", "Wake Up Little Susie", and even B-sides of the records, which helped to refine Lennon and McCartney's own harmony singing.[59]

Griffiths joined the Merchant Marine after leaving the group—visiting ports in South America and Canada—and upon his return to Liverpool he would either sell or swap records by Buddy Holly or Chuck Berry with Lennon or McCartney.[60] According to McCartney it was Holly who inspired Lennon and himself to write more songs, as Holly wrote his own instead of relying on a team of songwriters.[7][61] Two of the songs Lennon and McCartney wrote at that time were later recorded: "One After 909" (by the Beatles themselves and included on the Let It Be album) and "Like Dreamers Do", which was a hit for The Applejacks in 1964.[62] Lennon's first self-composed song "Hello Little Girl" was also written in this period. John Duff Lowe (a schoolmate of McCartney's) played piano with the group occasionally in the summer of 1958, on the occasions when a piano was available at a venue.[63]


"In Spite of All the Danger", the only copy of the shellac acetate containing the only two songs professionally recorded by the Quarrymen

Percy Phillips operated a studio called Phillips' Sound Recording Services at 38 Kensington, Liverpool, between the kitchen and a front room that served as an electrical goods shop.[64] Actors from the Liverpool Playhouse often stayed in the room above the studio, and were asked by Phillips to record monologues and poems. Phillips had just turned 60 years old when Harrison heard about the studio from guitarist Johnny Byrne, who had recorded a version of "Butterfly" there on 22 June 1957.[64]

The Quarrymen booked the studio on 12 July 1958, but when Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Hanton and Lowe arrived they were surprised to see how small and technically basic it was, with one solitary microphone in the center of the room.[65] Phillips demanded that they pay for the recording before they set up the equipment, so each member paid 3 shillings and 6 pence, but Phillips then asked for a surcharge to cover the cost of transferring the tape recording to disc. As this was too expensive, Phillips said that for a cut-rate price they would not be taped first, but record directly to vinyl.[65]

The group had decided to record "That'll Be the Day" as one of their two songs, but had not decided on the song for the other side of the disc. After recording "That'll Be the Day" (Lennon suggested that Hanton put a scarf over the snare drum to lower the volume), Phillips wanted them to immediately record the next song. They asked for some time to rehearse, but Phillips refused, saying, "For seventeen and six you're not here all day".[66] McCartney suggested "In Spite of All the Danger"—a very early composition by McCartney, with some assistance from Harrison—even though Lowe and Hanton didn't know the song very well.[24] Phillips then handed the group a fragile 78rpm record, which was passed around the band for one week each, or lent out to friends. It was later lost until Lowe rediscovered it in 1981, and sold it to McCartney for an undisclosed amount.[66] The recordings were released on Anthology 1 in 1995.[67]

The Beatles

Lennon's mother was killed in a road accident on 15 July 1958, and Lennon lost interest in the group for months.[68] Lowe gave up guesting with the group on piano as he lived too far away from where they rehearsed, and having to travel by bus meant he could only rehearse on weekends.[19] The group continued to play, such as at the wedding reception of Harrison's brother, Harry, in Speke, on 20 December 1958, the Cronin/Jones wedding in New Ferry in the Wirral, 27 December 1958, and at Art School dances every other Friday, where they were billed as "The College Band" (although the first two performances were without Hanton).[69]

After two further performances (on 1 January, at a Speke Bus Depot social club party at Wilson Hall organised by Harrison’s father, and on 24 January, at a party at Woolton Village Club) they played at the Pavilion Theatre in Lodge Lane, where the management was looking for a regular group to play 30-minute sets between the bingo sessions.[69] The first set at the Pavilion Theatre went well, but in the interval Lennon, McCartney and Hanton drank beer supplied by the management, and then moved onto "Poor Man's Black Velvets": a mix of two half-pints of Guinness and cider together. As Lennon, McCartney and Hanton were obviously drunk the second set was a shambles, and on the bus ride home a drunken McCartney fiercely criticised Hanton for not being good enough.[70] Shotton (who had been at the theatre to watch) stepped between them to stop Hanton physically attacking McCartney, and helped Hanton off the bus with his drums. Hanton was never contacted again; the next he heard of the group was on TV three years later, when they were called The Beatles.[70]

Lennon and McCartney continued to write songs together, but as no engagements were forthcoming, Harrison asked to join Storm's Tornados, but Storm's mother refused, saying Harrison was far too young. Harrison then joined the Les Stewart Quartet with Les Stewart, guitarist Ken Brown, and Geoff Skinner.[71] Mona Best opened The Casbah Coffee Club on 29 August 1959, and Brown arranged for the quartet to be its resident band. When Brown missed rehearsals to help decorate the Casbah, Stewart refused to play.[72] Brown and Harrison recruited Lennon and McCartney at short notice to help them fill the residency, and they reactivated the Quarrymen name for the occasion.[72] They played a series of seven Saturday night engagements in the Casbah for 15 shillings each per night, starting on 29 August to October 1959, featuring Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Brown as the "honorary Quarryman". They performed without a drummer, and with only one microphone connected to the club's small PA system.[73][74] The opening night performance was attended by about 300 local teenagers, but as the cellar had no air conditioning and people were dancing, the temperature rose until it became hard to breathe.[75]

After the success of the first night, Mona gave the Quarrymen a residency, but as there was no amplification, Lennon persuaded Mona to hire a young amateur guitar player called Harry to play a short set before the Quarrymen, but this was only so they could use his 40-watt amplifier.[76] On 10 October, there was an argument between the band and Best over the group's fee for performing in the Casbah that night. Brown had showed up at the house, but was too ill to perform, so Best told him to rest upstairs in the Bests' living room. She later insisted that Brown deserved to be paid for showing up, but, led by McCartney, the rest of the group insisted on being paid his share of the group's fee. After an argument, the Quarrymen walked out of the Casbah and ended their residency.[77]

The Liverpool Empire Theatre, where Johnny and the Moondogs auditioned: Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison

As the first prize was a TV appearance on Carrol Levis' Discoveries TV show, the group entered the Star Search competition as Johnny and the Moondogs, with only Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison.[73] The first heat was held at the Liverpool Empire Theatre on 18 October 1959, and after they passed the audition they were asked to play at the Manchester Hippodrome for the local finals, on Sunday 15 November 1959.[78] This date has been disputed as being Monday 24 November 1959, as UK theatres were closed on Sundays in those days.[79] According to Ray Ennis of the Swinging Bluegenes (later called the Swinging Blue Jeans) the registration process in Manchester took all day, as there was a queue of musicians carrying amplifiers and instruments that stretched all the way around the building. Lennon (without a guitar), McCartney, and Harrison played Buddy Holly's "Think It Over", but the last train or bus left for Liverpool at 9:47, and at 9:20 there were still 12 acts to perform. As the trio only had £1 between them, it was impossible to stay any longer. As they were leaving, Lennon saw a cutaway electric guitar by the stage door, picked it up and walked off with it, later saying that the trip "wasn't a total loss."[7][80]

During the school holidays of 1960, Lennon and McCartney performed together twice as the Nerk Twins, after hitchhiking to the Fox and Hounds pub in Caversham, Reading, which was managed by Mike Robbins and his wife Elizabeth (McCartney's cousin). Robbins had previously been in a group called the Jones Boys, and told stories to Lennon and McCartney about show business.[73] Lennon and McCartney worked in the bar for the whole week for each, performing on Saturday 23 April 1960, and again on Sunday, before returning to Liverpool.[81]

Stuart Sutcliffe

Lennon, along with fellow art students Bill Harry, Stuart Sutcliffe and Rod Murray, saw the poet Royston Ellis at Liverpool University, and later met in a Liverpool pub, Ye Cracke. Being disappointed with Ellis' performance, Harry proposed the idea that they should call the assembled quartet of friends the Dissenters, and make Liverpool famous: Lennon with his music, Sutcliffe and Murray with their paintings and Harry with his writing,[82] but after talking to Sutcliffe one night at the Casbah Coffee Club, Lennon and McCartney persuaded Sutcliffe to buy a Höfner 500/5 bass—known in Europe as a President bass—with the money he had won in the John Moore art exhibition.[7][83][84] By May 1960, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison were joined by Sutcliffe, who according to some sources suggested changing their name to the Beatals/Beetles.[85][86] As the group always had to rely on the P.A. system in the places they played, they realised they had to buy their own. Harry often heard Lennon, McCartney and Harrison rehearsing or playing in the Art College canteen in the basement,[87] but after Sutcliffe joined The Quarrymen, Harry complained that Sutcliffe should be concentrating on art and not music, as he thought he was a competent, but not brilliant bassist.[88]

As Harry and Sutcliffe were members of the Liverpool College of Art's Student Union committee, they put forward the idea that the college should buy its own P.A. system for college dances, which the Quarrymen often played at, although the equipment would later be appropriated by the group, and taken to Hamburg.[89] As late as 7 March 1962, the Students Union sent Pete Mackey to ask Lennon to return the equipment, or pay for it, but Lennon told him it had been sold in Hamburg.[90] The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, contacted Fred O’ Brien from the Students Union and offered him the chance of a Liverpool Art College dance concert (featuring the Beatles for the minimal sum of as recompense), but was turned down.[91] Sutcliffe was later turned down when he returned from Hamburg to request he study for the ATD (Art Teachers Diploma) course at the college.[90]

Brian Cass, of Cass and the Casanovas, heard the group rehearsing one night in the Jacaranda club (managed by Allan Williams) and promised Lennon that if they changed their name to Long John and the Silver Beetles (after Buddy Holly and the Crickets[92]) he would help them find a drummer. Lennon did not like the name, as he thought it made him sound like the fictional pirate Long John Silver, but agreed to change the name to the Silver Beetles. In May 1960, they played a tour of Scotland under that name with Liverpool singer Johnny Gentle. They finally changed the name of the group to the Beatles for their performances in Hamburg.[93][94]

1997 reformation to present

The surviving members of the original line-up of the Quarrymen reunited in 1997 for the 40th anniversary of their performance at the 1957 Woolton village fete—which was the occasion of the first meeting of Lennon and McCartney. All five surviving original members, Pete Shotton, Rod Davis, Len Garry, Eric Griffiths and Colin Hanton, performed. Following this, the group continued to perform—undertaking tours of the UK, the US, Germany, Japan, Russia, Cuba and other countries. The group's repertoire focuses on the skiffle and early rock 'n' roll they played in their original incarnation with the added roots rock historical perspective of illustrating how American roots music inspired the nascent Beatles.

In 2000, producer and the Beatles' historian Martin Lewis produced the group performing the Del-Vikings song "Come Go with Me" (the first song McCartney recalled hearing Lennon sing on the first day they met) – for use on the soundtrack of the Michael Lindsay-Hogg film Two of Us—a film about the last day that Lennon and McCartney saw each other—in April 1976.

Eric Griffiths died in 2005, and Pete Shotton retired, owing to ill-health. As of 2010, the surviving three founder-members continue to perform around the world. They are occasionally augmented by honorary member Duff Lowe who played piano with the group briefly in the summer of 1958.[95] In September and October 2010 the band undertook a US tour celebrating the 70th anniversary of their founder (Lennon). They appeared in a charity concert for Amnesty International honouring Lennon in New York City on Lennon's birthday, Saturday 9 October 2010.[96]


During the years that the band performed as the Quarrymen in its first incarnation (1956–1960), a total of eight people passed through the ranks of the group as regular members, with a handful of others lending an occasional hand. They are listed in the sequence of their joining or their first contribution. The instrument listed is the instrument played during the 1956–1960 period.[97]

Regular members

Current members
  • Rod Davis – banjo (1956–57, 1997–present)
  • Len Garry – tea-chest bass (1956–58, 1997–present)
  • Colin Hanton – drums (1956–59, 1997–present)
  • John Duff Lowe – piano (1958, 2005–present; played at a number of shows in 1958 and on the Percy Phillips' recordings in 1958)
Former members
  • John Lennon – vocals, guitar (1956–60; died 1980)
  • Eric Griffiths – guitar (1956–58, 1997–2005; died 2005)
  • Pete Shotton – washboard (1956–57, 1997–2000)
  • Paul McCartney – vocals, guitar (1957–60)
  • George Harrison – vocals, guitar (1958–60; died 2001)

Other members

  • Bill Smith – tea-chest bass (1956; founder-member of the first unnamed line-up [called as the Blackjacks for a week] and played with the Quarrymen at a couple of early appearances before leaving the group)
  • Ivan Vaughan – tea-chest bass (1956–58; played at a few rehearsals and shows; died 1993)
  • Nigel Walley – tea-chest bass (1956–58; played at a few rehearsals and shows, then became the group's "manager")
  • Ken Brown – guitar (1959; played at a few shows in September/October 1959 as an "honorary" Quarryman; died 2010)
  • Stuart Sutcliffe – bass guitar (1960; played at a few rehearsals in early 1960 before the Quarrymen name was dropped; died 1962)






In 1992 John Duff Lowe (piano), Len Garry (guitar) and Rod Davis (guitar) recorded two albums that were never released.


  • The Band That Started The Beatles (2009)


  1. ^ "The Quarrymen's first public performance on 22nd June 1957". 
  2. ^ a b Biography on the Quarrymen’s Official Website (retrieved 29 September 2011)
  3. ^ a b Atkinson, Malcolm. "The Quarry Men's First Recordings". Abbeyrd’s Beatle Page. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  4. ^ Skiffle king' Donegan dies"'". BBC. 4 November 2002. Retrieved 29 June 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Spitz 2005, p. 52.
  6. ^ a b Spitz 2005, p. 48.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "The Beatles Anthology" DVD (2003) (Episode 1 – 0:14:29) Lennon talking about his mother teaching him "Ain't That a Shame".
  8. ^ a b c Spitz 2005, p. 49.
  9. ^ AMG biography Retrieved 29 January 2007
  10. ^ "Pete Shotton – Washboard". Original Quarrymen. Retrieved 30 May 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Spitz 2005, p. 50.
  12. ^ "Rod Davis (Banjo – now Guitar)". Original Quarrymen. Retrieved 30 May 2008. 
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  • O’Brien, Ray (2005). There are Places I'll Remember: The Venues Where The Beatles Played on Merseyside.  

External links

  • The Quarrymen official website
  • List of concerts
  • Catherine E. Doyle: "From Blackjacks to Beatles: How the Fab Four Evolved"
  • The Quarrymen's First Recordings
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