McCartney Times

The day John Lennon met Paul McCartney

The day John Lennon met Paul McCartney

The day John Lennon met Paul McCartney
July 07
10:24 2018

On this day, some 61 years ago something pivotal happened. Not only for two lads from Liverpool named John and Paul, but for Merseyside, for music and for the world. On this day, Lennon met McCartney.

In the afternoon of that day, the Quarrymen skiffle group played at the quaint garden fete of St Peter’s Church, Woolton, Liverpool. The performance took place on a stage in a field behind the church, because life was simpler back then. In the band were none other than John Lennon (vocals, guitar), Eric Griffiths (guitar), Colin Hanton (drums), Rod Davies (banjo), Pete Shotton (washboard) and Len Garry (tea-chest bass).
Geoff Rhind's famous image shows John Lennon performing at St Peter's Church Fete in Woolton on the day he met Paul McCartney

The group arrived on the back of a lorry. As well as the music, there were cake stalls, games, police dog demonstrations and the traditional crowning of the Rose Queen. Damn, it was a simpler time for things.

Julia Bird, Lennon’s sister, wrote in her book Imagine This about the day: “The entertainment began at two p.m. with the opening procession, which entailed one or two wonderfully festooned lorries crawling at a snail’s pace through the village on their ceremonious way to the Church field,” she said. “The first lorry carried the Rose Queen, seated on her throne, surrounded by her retinue, all dressed in pink and white satin, sporting long ribbons and hand-made roses in their hair. These girls had been chosen from the Sunday school groups, on the basis of age and good behaviour,” she added.

“The following lorry carried various entertainers, including the Quarry Men. The boys were up there on the back of the moving lorry trying to stay upright and play their instruments at the same time,” Julia continued before adding: “John gave up battling with balance and sat with his legs hanging over the edge, playing his guitar and singing. He continued all through the slow, slow journey as the lorry puttered its way along. Jackie and I leaped alongside the lorry, with our mother laughing and waving at John, making him laugh. He seemed to be the only one who was really trying to play and we were really trying to put him off!”

The Quarrymen, 6 July 1957

The band were due to play in the evening with a series of member changes offering the boys the chance to work their way around instruments and show off their guitar knowledge. While setting up their equipment to play, the Quarrymen’s sometime tea-chest bass player, Ivan Vaughan, introduced the band to one of his classmates from Liverpool Institute, the 15-year-old Paul McCartney.

The older Paul showed John how to tune his guitar as well as belting out some Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Little Richard medleys to the glee of the Quarrymen who seemed inamoured by their new pal.

In 1995 Paul himself said: “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,” he added.

Poster for The Quarrymen at the Woolton Parish Church garden fete, Liverpool, 6 July 1957

“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.”

It was the beginning of a partnership which would change the world. One song at a time the pair showed that they not only combined well in melody and tune but also in life. Becoming close friends until Lennon’s untimely eath their friendship is best summed up in the quote McCartney gave for In His Own Write

“At Woolton village fete I met him. I was a fat schoolboy and, as he leaned an arm on my shoulder, I realised he was drunk. We were twelve then, but, in spite of his sideboards, we went on to become teenage pals.”

Take a look at this early footage of the pair to sit back and reminisce.

Source: The day John Lennon met Paul McCartney

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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