When John Lennon and Paul McCartney Met

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The Quarrymen perform at the Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete on July 6, 1957

The gig may not have seemed auspicious for 16-year-old John Lennon. His skiffle group the Quarrymen – named for Quarry Bank Grammar School that John attended – were playing at a church dance at St. Peter’s in the Woolton suburb of Liverpool. In the audience was Paul McCartney, who had just turned 15. Despite the raw and loose performance Lennon and his mates gave, Paul was duly impressed.

After the Quarrymen performed, they crossed the road with their instruments to the Woolton Village Hall, where they were slated to play another show that evening. Paul followed and was introduced to John by their mutual friend Ivan Vaughan. McCartney asked Lennon if he could borrow his guitar. He played Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock” and then sat down at the hall’s piano and belted out Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.” It was John’s turn to be impressed.

“I half thought to myself, ‘He’s as good as me,’” Lennon later told Hunter Davies, who wrote the first biography of The Beatles. “Now I thought, if I take him on, what will happen? It went through my head that I’d have to keep him in line if I let him join [the band]. But he was good, so he was worth having. He also looked like Elvis. I dug him.”

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Two weeks later McCartney was asked to join Lennon’s band, and in essence, The Beatles were born.

The St. Peter’s church where Lennon and McCartney met for the first time is known for another link to the Beatles. Its yard also contains the grave of Eleanor Rigby.

Related: Our writer got a small check from John Lennon. Did he cash it? Would you?

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  1. Paul C.
    #1 Paul C. 6 July, 2017, 12:44

    Paul had seen John around Liverpool before their July 6 meeting, but didn’t know his name. In a recent interview, he said he remembers seeing him getting on a bus, and in line at a fish and chips shop.

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