FORMED: 1960, Liverpool, England
Inspired by the "skiffle boom", a student at Quarry Bank School in Liverpool named John Lennon decided to form a group in 1957 which laid the foundation to what was to become the most famous rock band of all time. John's original name was "The Blackjacks". However, this name only lasted a week and John used the school name asinspiration for the later name "The Quarry Men" in March 1957. John sang and played guitar, Colin Hanton played drums, Eric Griffiths on guitar, Pete Shotton on washboard, Rod Davis on banjo and Bill Smith on tea-chest bass. Bill was soon replaced by Ivan Vaughan.
John was inspired by "Heartbreak Hotel" and became a fan of American rock 'n' roll music. He introduced songs by Buddy Holly , CarlPerkins, The Coasters, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent into their repertoire. On July 6, 1957, Ivan Vaughan invited Paul McCartney to see their gig at The Woolton Parish Church Fete. The fifteen-year-old McCartney was introduce to sixteen-year-old Lennon and a unique song writing partnership began.
The line-up of The Quarry Men increased to seven with Paul on guitar and vocals,John Lowe on piano and George Harrison on guitar and vocals. Soon Griffiths and another member would leave, leaving a five-piece band. The group appeared at several local talent contests but had very few gigs. By January 1959, the group wasn't operating. Although John and Paul kept in touch, George had joined the Les Stewart Quartet.
That might have been the end of The Quarry Men but they had astroke of luck. The Les Stewart Quartet had been booked as a resident band at a new club called "The Casbah". It was run by Mrs. Mona Best to support her son's Pete and Rory. Stewart, upset because his guitarist Ken Brown help decorate the club, refused to play there. Ken and George walked out of the group and George contacted John and Paul, and The Quarry Men were reunited as a quartet. Afterabout seven gigs at the club, Ken Brown left over a disagreement about money. From October 1959 to January 1960 John, Paul and George continued as a trio with Paul on drums. They called themselves "Johnny & the Moondogs".
By this time John was enrolled in The Liverpool College of Art. John knew that they needed a bass player so he asked two students if they would like the position. The twowere Stuart Sutcliffe and Rod Murray. Both could not afford a guitar, so Rod started to make one by hand. However, Stuart was able to sell one of his paintings to a John Moores Exhibition and was able to buy a Hofner bass guitar and join the group in January, 1960. At this time the group had changed its name to "Silver Beetles". They also began shifting drummers around, the first was Tommy Moore whotoured with them through Scotland and then left. The next was Norman Chapman but he left after only a few weeks. Finally, George suggested that Pete Best, the son of club owner Mrs. Mona Best, become the group's drummer.
Paul contacted Pete and offered him the drummer seat, he took it. The group had finally settled on "The Beatles" just before their first trip to Hamburg in August, 1960. NowJohn, Paul, George, Stuart and Pete would head off for Hamburg. At that time The Beatles weren't considered to be the leading group in Liverpool and in most cases were looked down upon. In Hamburg they pulled their act together musically. This was caused by the fact that they had to play such long hours and were bullied by the club owner Bruno Koschimider to "make a show". It wasn't just Hamburgthat made them special. The fact that Liverpool had so many venues for local acts to play at, coupled with the rivalry between more than 300 Merseyside groups, continued to forge The Beatles until they were to be regarded as Liverpool's top band.
At the time, Pete Best was regarded as the most potent symbol in the band. After Hamburg, Stuart Sutcliffe had left and now The Beatles were a...