It was a sunny Saturday. The churchgoers of St Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool were enjoying the day out in the field behind the church. A garden fete was under way. The most important event of the day was the crowning of rose queen along with a police dogs display event and fancy dress parade. And, there was music. A young skiffle band was playing on a makeshift stage. The lead singer was sixteen. He was playing the guitar and singing. His name was John Lennon. The band was called The Quarry Men. Little did the parishioners know the day was going to change the course of history?
Later in the evening, John’s friend Ivan Vaughn brought along a friend from school, called Paul McCartney. And the twain met.
In an interview with ‘Record Collector’ in 1995 Paul recalled,
“I remember I was amazed and thought, ‘Oh great’, because I was obviously into the music. I remember John singing a song called ‘Come Go With Me’. He’d heard it on the radio. He didn’t really know the verses, but he knew the chorus. The rest he just made up himself. I just thought, ‘Well, he looks good, he’s singing well and he seems like a great lead singer to me.’”
Paul himself played the piano backstage and helped John tune his guitar. He also sang a few songs from Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. John was quite impressed with his musicianship and discussed the possibility of having him in the band with Pete Shotton.
In an interview with Bob Harries John Lennon says, “In the history of Beatles, Paul met me the first day I did Be-Bop-A-Lula live on stage. A mutual friend brought him to see my group called The Quarrymen. And we met and we talked after the show. And I saw he had talent. He was playing guitar backstage doing Twenty Flight Rock by Eddie Cochran. And I turned around to him right then on our first meeting to say do you wanna join the group? And I think he said yes the next day. As I recall it.”
In the same interview Lennon confesses that George came through Paul and Ringo came through George in the band. So Paul was effectively the only band member Lennon chose. The kinship and bonding that crystalised between the two was not something that could be replicated. Though tensions between the two mounted after the band broke up, they reunited before Lennon’s death in 1980.
In one his last interviews John Lennon said, “Families — we certainly have our ups and downs and our quarrels. But at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, I would do anything for him, and I think he would do anything for me.”
The Beatles remains the most influential and significant name in the history of popular music and Paul McCartney and John Lennon co-wrote some of the greatest songs ever.