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Paul McCartney Said It Was Typical That John Lennon Had Someone Else Tell Him He Could Join The Quarry Men

By Hannah Wigandt,


Paul McCartney said it was typical that John Lennon had someone else tell him he could join The Quarry Men. The future songwriting partners met in 1957 and instantly connected.
Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison | Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

Paul McCartney and John Lennon met at a village fete in 1957

On a hot summer’s day in 1957, Paul and his school friend, Ivan Vaughan, attended a village fete (garden party) at St. Peter’s, Woolton’s Parish Church in Liverpool. When they arrived, they saw a band performing, John’s skiffle group, The Quarry Men .

During an interview for Beatles Anthology , Paul remembered that he landed eyes on John immediately as he came to the church’s field. He seemed “cool,” wearing his checkered shirt and playing a guitar “guaranteed not to crack.”

Eric Griffiths played the guitar, Colin Hanton played the drums, Rod Davies a banjo, Pete Shotton a washboard, and Len Garry a tea-chest bass. The Quarry Men were playing The Del-Vikings’ “Come Go With Me,” and Paul was amazed.

Vaughan was also friends with John and introduced the musicians. In The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present , Paul wrote, “I’d just turned fifteen at this point and John was sixteen, and Ivan knew we were both obsessed with rock and roll, so he took me over to introduce us.

“One thing led to another – typical teenage boys posturing and the like – and lended up showing off a little by playing Eddie Cochran’s ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ on the guitar. I think l also played Gene Vincent’s ‘Be-Bop-a-Lula’ and a few Little Richard songs too.”

Later, Paul called his first meeting with John a pretty pivotal moment in his life.

Paul said it was typical that John had someone else invite him to join The Quarry Men

About a week later, Paul was out on his bike and bumped into Shotton. The washboard player told Paul that John wanted him to join the group. Paul later realized that was typical of John.

“That was a very John thing to do – have someone else ask me so he wouldn’t lose face if I said no,” Paul wrote. “John often had his guard up, but that was one of the great balances between us. He could be quite caustic and witty, but once you got to know him, he had this lovely warm character. I was more the opposite: pretty easy-going and friendly, but I could be tough when needed.”

George Harrison thought similar things of John when they met. He liked portraying himself as a rebellious leader . However, underneath, he was a big softy.


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Paul hesitated to join The Quarry Men

When Shotton told Paul that John wanted him to join The Quarry Men, Paul said he’d think about it. During an interview on The Howard Stern Show , Paul said no one had been interested in his songwriting until he met John, but he needed to consider joining the band carefully.

Paul had seen John around Liverpool and knew he had something going on that he liked. They seemed to connect without having met yet. When they did meet, it was magical. However, joining The Quarry Men would be a big thing for Paul. He didn’t like jumping into anything hastily.

Paul told Stern, “I didn’t immediately go, ‘Yeah!’ I’m like that; I don’t rush into things. I think I’m allowed to have a minute to think about it because, wait a minute, ‘Do I want to be in a band? I’ve never been in a band. Do I want to be in this band?'”

Paul said he decided to join The Quarry Men after assessing the situation thoroughly for about a week. “I decided, yeah, we could do something with this band,” Paul said.

Then, Paul and John became inseparable, living inside each other’s pockets. In The Lyrics , Paul said, “I showed him how to tune his guitar, he was using banjo tuning – I think his neighbour had done that for him before – and we taught ourselves how to play songs by people like Chuck Berry.

“I would have played him ‘I Lost My Little Girl ‘ a while later, when I’d got my courage up to share it, and he started showing me his songs. And that’s where it all began.”

The Beatles had simple beginnings, but it’s still a mystery to Paul that it happened at all. “All these small coincidences had to happen to make The Beatles happen, and it does feel like some kind of magic,” Paul wrote. “It’s one of the wonderful lessons about saying yes when life presents these opportunities to you. You never know where they could lead.”

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