By Mark S. Kuhar
On my recent trip to Hillhead in the U.K., I took the opportunity to go to Liverpool to see where The Beatles first got together. Of course as any good aggregates producer knows, John Lennon’s first group was called The Quarrymen.
The Quarrymen were a British skiffle and rock and roll group, formed by Lennon in Liverpool in 1956, which eventually evolved into The Beatles in 1960.
Originally consisting of Lennon and several school friends, 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 Pete Shotton with suggesting the name.
The Quarrymen played at parties, school dances, cinemas and amateur skiffle contests before Paul McCartney joined the band in October 1957.
George Harrison joined the band in early 1958 at McCartney's recommendation, though Lennon initially resisted because he felt Harrison (still only 14 when he was first introduced to Lennon) to be too young. Both McCartney and Harrison attended the 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 five surviving original members of the group (all except the deceased Lennon) reunited to perform at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the garden 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 today, three founding members are still actively performing as The Quarrymen.