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© David Bedford 2013 | All rights reserved
David’s first book, “Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles”
The Fab 104
The new book from David Bedford
John Lennon: The boy who became a legend
Michael Hill’s new book (edited by David) about how Michael turned his school friend onto rock ‘n’ roll
Fest for Beatles Fans -
Fest for Beatles Fans -
Liverpool International Beatles Festival August 2016
The story of how the group went from being The Quarrymen to The Beatles runs a long and winding road through many different musicians and band members. During this time, they also provided backing for several singers and occasionally had guest musicians join them on stage. Also included in the list are important people who either taught them to play or had a direct influence on their performances. Each one of these one hundred and four people is included in the story.
This is how The Beatles evolved from a group of friends playing skiffle music, calling themselves The Quarrymen (also spelled Quarry Men – there is no definitive way to spell it) to becoming the biggest band in the annals of popular music. The story begins in the summer of 1956 and takes you through to the end of 1962 when the final piece of the jigsaw, the addition of drummer Ringo Starr, saw The Fab Four completed.
To count the members of The Fab one hundred and Four, their name is in italics and there is a number (in bold) to show them added to total one hundred and four. All the Beatles members from The Quarrymen to the Fab Four are here -
The story begins with John Winston Lennon. He was taught to play his guitar, in a banjo style, by his mother Julia. After John’s Uncle George gave him a harmonica, Julia’s neighbour Arthur Pendleton gave him lessons. With his newfound skill, John set about forming his first group: The Quarrymen.
At Quarry Bank High School, in the summer of 1956, “George Henry” Lee suggested to his friend John Lennon that he should start a skiffle group. The Quarrymen initially consisted of John on guitar, his best friend Pete Shotton on washboard and school friends Eric Griffiths and Bill Smith on guitar and tea-
The Quarrymen were soon enhanced by the addition of Rod Davis, who had acquired a banjo and was quickly recruited.
Eric then introduced a friend of his from Woolton, Colin Hanton, who had a set of drums. Colin was quickly added to the lineup and The Quarrymen, for the next few weeks at least, had a settled lineup.
Bill decided to quit, so John called on his friends Ivan Vaughan and Nigel Walley to assume the role of tea-
Ivan Vaughan may not have wanted to be a musician, but he was instrumental in the Quarrymen recruiting their new tea-
Although never added to the group, The Quarrymen would sometimes practise at the home of their friend Arthur Wong and another of their friends, Arthur Davis, would play piano with them. However, as he did not perform with them, he is not included in the one hundred and four.
The most significant change to the group’s configuration occurred on 6 July 1957 when Ivan Vaughan introduced his school friend Paul McCartney to his childhood friend John Lennon at St. Peter’s Church, where The Quarrymen were performing. The genesis of The Beatles began on this day and Paul McCartney made his official debut with The Quarrymen on 18 October 1957.
Paul was influenced and encouraged by his father Jim, an accomplished musician in his own right. However, one of the most important people in Paul’s musical journey was his school friend Ian James who taught him to play the guitar and who could have joined The Quarrymen himself. Paul also remembers being shown some great guitar chords by Hessy’s employee Jim Gretty. During a holiday in August 1957, Paul performed with his brother Mike as The McCartney Brothers. Soon after Paul joined, Rod and Pete left the group. As they were starting to play more rock ‘n’ roll, the need for a washboard player and a banjo player had diminished.
Len drifted out of the group by the end of 1957 and Paul was keen for his school friend George Harrison to join The Quarrymen, so Eric was forced to leave. By the end of 1957, the core of The Beatles had been formed, with John, Paul and George together, assisted by their drummer, Colin.
George’s first group was The Rebels, which consisted of George, his brother Peter, and his best friends Arthur Kelly and Alan Williams. George was a keen musician who spent hours learning how to play his guitar. He practised with Geoff Nugent who lived nearby, had lessons from Len Houghton, a friend of his father Harold, and took instruction from his school mates Colin Manley and Don Jefferson, both accomplished guitarists.
While attending parties at Paul’s Auntie Jin’s house, they would sometimes invite their friend Dennis Littler to rehearse with them.
During 1958, The Quarrymen were able to benefit from the keyboard skills of John Duff Lowe and the five members appeared on the group’s first record. On 12 July 1958, they recorded “That’ll Be The Day” and “In Spite of All The Danger” at Percy Phillips’ studio.
On a hitchhiking holiday in Wales, Paul McCartney and George Harrison ended up in the town of Harlech, where they played in a local pub with John and Aneurin, members of local band The Vikings.
After a falling out, Colin took his drums and quit the group, with John Duff Lowe also leaving. The Quarrymen were now down to just the three of them.
After John had lost his mother in a tragic road accident in July 1958, The Quarrymen, now with only three guitarists, were no longer able to acquire many bookings. After their final booking in January 1959, the group split up. Wanting to play, George joined the Les Stewart Quartet, which consisted of Les Stewart, Ken Brown and Ray Skinner. They performed in West Derby, and when George’s girlfriend, Ruth Morrison, told them about a new club opening up nearby called The Casbah Coffee Club, they went there to enquire about gigs. The Les Stewart Quartet was soon recruited to be the opening act, but shortly before the club was due to open, the group pulled out.
During the early months of 1959, John, Paul and George called themselves Japage 3, though only made one appearance under this name.
George and Ken Brown quit the group and, after initially offering to play as a duet, Mona Best, owner of The Casbah, asked them to form a new group to open the club.
George contacted his two former bandmates, John and Paul, and with Ken Brown, re-
After a disagreement, Ken left the group and The Quarrymen name was never to be used again. John, Paul and George appeared at a contest using the name Johnny and the Moondogs, but that name was not to last long. To play rock ‘n’ roll, they needed a bass player and set the challenge to two of John’s Art College friends, Stuart Sutcliffe and Rod Murray. Having sold a painting, Stuart won the race and joined the group. He was then given bass guitar lessons by Dave May from Liverpool band The Silhouettes. Stuart was soon to make a major contribution when he suggested a new name for the group, his homage to The Crickets: The Beatals.
For a short time, before acquiring a full-
During the school holidays in April 1960, John and Paul travelled to Caversham to see Paul’s cousin Bett Robbins and her husband Mike at the pub they ran. The duo appeared as The Nerk Twins.
While hanging out in the clubs of Liverpool 8, John and Paul met several local black musicians from whom they obtained guitar instruction to broaden their musical ability, particularly by playing Chuck Berry songs. These included Vinnie Ismael, Odie Taylor and Zancs Logie.
In May 1960, now known as The Silver Beetles and managed by Allan Williams, they acquired a new drummer, Tommy Moore. Because they were now a rock ‘n’ roll band, Williams entered them into the auditions he was holding with promoter Larry Parnes at the Wyvern Club, as Parnes searched for backing bands for his singers.
On 10 May 1960, with the auditions already underway, The Silver Beetles were still without a drummer, as Moore hadn’t yet turned up. They quickly borrowed Johnny Hutchinson from Cass and the Casanovas, who sat in with them until Moore turned up. In spite of this, Parnes decided to book them for a tour of Scotland.
On 14 May 1960, the group was playing at Lathom Hall, but Tommy was without his drums. They asked Cliff Roberts from The Dominoes to drum with them. Instead of calling themselves The Silver Beetles, they changed their name to The Silver Beats, for one night only.
After the Parnes’ audition, John, Paul, George, Stuart and Tommy backed one of Parnes’ singers, Johnny Gentle, on a short tour around Scotland. In the promotional newspaper adverts, they were billed as Johnny Gentle and His Group.
In June 1960, after several arguments, Tommy Moore quit as drummer, and the group was again searching for a replacement. This meant that finding gigs was increasingly difficult for Allan Williams. The only booking he could arrange for them was backing Janice, who was a stripper in one of Williams’ men’s clubs in Liverpool 8. Embarrassed, but with little option, they reluctantly agreed to provide musical accompaniment for the well-
On 14 June 1960, Tommy Moore refused to play with the group despite their pleadings. They therefore turned up at the Grosvenor Ballroom in Wallasey without a drummer. Foolishly, John asked the crowd if anyone could play the drums. Up stepped the physically intimidating Ronnie ‘The Ted’ to bash the kit for a bit. When the group members failed to convince him to leave the stage, they called Allan Williams to step in. It’s no surprise that this was Ronnie’s only appearance with the group.
Their drumming problem was solved by a chance encounter outside The Jacaranda Club, when they heard the distant sound of drums from the building opposite. On investigation, they discovered their new drummer, Norman Chapman, playing his kit on his own after work. An accomplished drummer, he was soon added to the group.
On 24 June 1960, when Beat Poet Royston Ellis breezed into town, his new friends, The Silver Beetles, backed him at the University of Liverpool as he performed his poetry.
Just as they thought they had a settled lineup, Norman Chapman was called up for National Service and had to spend the next two years in the army. With a booking arranged in Hamburg, they needed a drummer quickly. On 12 August 1960, Paul wrote on behalf of the group to an unknown drummer who had advertised his services in the local newspaper. That same day, Pete Best, drummer with The Blackjacks, was auditioned and given the job. Within days, The Beatles, as they were now known, were heading for Germany.
Pete’s mother Mona bought him his first drum kit when he joined Ken Brown’s new group, The Blackjacks, with their friends Bill Barlow and Chas Newby.
Now resident in Hamburg, The Beatles often shared the stage with Derry and the Seniors, the first Merseybeat group that went to Hamburg.
On 15 October 1960, John, Paul, George and Ringo were united for the first time on record when they backed Ringo’s bandmate from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Lu Walters.
Looking to keep the music going at the Kaiserkeller, club owner Bruno Koschmider created new groups by splitting up his bands. Howie Casey and his bandmates were given Stuart Sutcliffe just as his fellow Beatles were heading back to Liverpool in disgrace.
George was deported on 21 November 1960 and the others followed shortly after. However, Uwe Fascher invited the remaining Beatles to play at his club, Studio X, for a couple of nights without George.
Before returning to Liverpool, John made a few solo appearances in Hamburg to earn his passage home.
With Stuart still in Hamburg, The Beatles were booked at The Casbah, Litherland Town Hall and Grosvenor Ballroom over the Christmas of 1960 and needed a bass player. They quickly asked Pete’s former Blackjacks bandmate Chas Newby, who was home from college, to play the bass.
Having made their debut at The Cavern, Bob Wooler asked The Beatles to back a young singer called Steve Calrow on stage at The Cavern.
Promoter Sam Leach ran regular shows at the Liverpool Jazz Society in Liverpool, where, on 15 March 1961, he would get the members of The Beatles and the Hurricanes to join forces and perform as The Wild Ones.
Stuart quit the group in early 1961, so the group was on the lookout for a new bass player. Their friend Klaus Voormann had often rehearsed with them and put himself in the running for the job. However, it had already been decided that Paul would assume that role.
In the spring of 1961, at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg, The Beatles acted as backing band to singers Tanya Day and Buddy Britten.
One of the most influential musicians The Beatles encountered was Tony Sheridan, known as the ‘teacher’. On 24 June 1961, performing as The Beat Brothers, they backed Sheridan as he recorded “My Bonnie” and several other songs for German producer Bert Kaempfert.
At home in Liverpool, on 27 July 1961, The Beatles backed rising star Cilla Black, a future Epstein artist, at St. John’s Hall in Tuebrook.
A few weeks after backing Cilla, on 17 August 1961, The Beatles invited John Gustafson, better known as Johnny Gus, bass player with The Big Three, to join them on stage at St. John’s Hall for a few songs.
On 17 October 1961, at a meeting of The Beatles Fan Club, Paul and Pete conducted an unaccompanied performance of a few songs at the David Lewis Theatre.
In a one-
On 24 November 1961, at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton, The Beatles backed American singer Davy Jones when he jumped up on stage to join them for an impromptu guest appearance. This was followed by two further appearances backing Jones at The Cavern in December 1961.
Their first performance after their new manager Brian Epstein began to represent them was without John, who had a sore throat. Despite the short notice, they quickly recruited Rory Storm to sing with them.
Having quit The Beatles, Stuart was not finished with music. In March 1962, only a few weeks before his death, Stu played with a German band The Bats, alongside Peter Bosch, Rudiger and Volker Neber, plus Tony Cavanaugh. As it was after Stuart left The Beatles, these musicians are not included in the one hundred and four.
On 5 April 1962, Cavern owner Ray McFall sang on stage with The Beatles, who were joined by Ringo, plus Billy Hatton, Dave Lovelady and Brian O’Hara from The Four Jays.
When one of their musical heroes arrived in Hamburg in April 1962, The Beatles did not need to be asked twice to play. Gene Vincent appeared with them at the Star Club in Hamburg and they backed him on a number of occasions.
While in Hamburg, The Beatles were now playing at the Star Club. They joined forces with Roy Young, a piano virtuoso with a voice and playing style like Little Richard. So impressed were the group with him that Brian Epstein asked Roy to return to Liverpool and join The Beatles. He declined.
On 20 June 1962, the drummer for The Strangers developed a leg cramp, so they recruited Paul McCartney to join them on stage and drum for their set. As this was Paul sitting in with another band, they have not been included in the one hundred and four.
The final change of personnel came on 18 August 1962, when Ringo Starr was unveiled as The Beatles new drummer, replacing the sacked Pete Best. The Fab Four were born.
As Richy Starkey, he was encouraged to play the drums by his childhood friend Marie Maguire as well as an unnamed “Teacher”at the Royal Liverpool Children’ Hospital where he was convalescing. His stepfather Harry bought him his first kit. He also learned to play the piano accordion in the Orange Lodge, and spent one day with a Silver Band, though we don’t have any names for those involved. One local drummer, Red Carter would have a longer lasting expect on him.
Ringo’s first group was the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, with his work friends Eddie Myles, Roy Trafford, Peter Healey, John Dougherty and Mickey McGrellis.
Ringo then joined The Darktown Skiffle Group, whose members included Alan Robinson, Dave McKew, Keith Draper, Gladys Jill Martin and David Smith. Ringo mentioned in one interview that he also played with a group called The Cadillacs, but since no evidence has been uncovered to support this claim, they cannot be counted in the one hundred and four.
Ringo’s music education continued when he joined Al’s Raving Texans, with Alan Caldwell, Johnny Byrne, Charles O’Brien and Wally Eymond. They became Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (which had been through several name changes) with Rory Storm ( Alan Caldwell), Johnny Guitar (Johnny Byrne), Ty Brian (Charles O’Brien) and Lu Walters (Walter Eymond). Ringo left Rory’s group for a short time to join Tony Sheridan’s band in Hamburg, with Roy Young and Colin Melander, before re-
Having held an unsuccessful first recording session at Abbey Road on 4 September 1962, George Martin brought in session drummer Andy White to record with The Beatles on 11 September 1962. He joined them on “Love Me Do”, “P.S. I Love You” and “Please Please Me”.
On 12 September 1962, The Beatles backed teenage singer Simone at The Cavern.
Black vocal harmony group, The Chants, impressed The Beatles so much that they backed the singing group at The Cavern and at two other Merseyside venues.
When British singing sensation Craig Douglas arrived in Liverpool, The Beatles backed him during his performance at the Liverpool Empire on 28 October 1962.
On 31 December 1962, during their final trip to Hamburg (and their first with Ringo), The Beatles were recorded at the Star Club. At different times, their friends Horst and Freddie Fascher joined The Beatles on stage.