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John Lennon formed Quarrymen to have fun and impress girls

by Katie Hickox, Beatles News Liverpool Reporter

Original Quarrymen members Rod Davis and Colin Hanton gave a talk Tuesday night at the Cavern Club in Liverpool to discuss John Lennon and the Quarrymen. Rod said that playing in the Quarrymen band formed in 1956 by fellow Quarry Bank High School classmate John Lennon, was alot of fun and a great way to impress the girls.

The Quarrymen band originally played skiffle but soon changed to rock n' roll after Paul replaced banjo player Rod Davis soon after John met Paul McCartney at the historic Woolton Garden fete on July 6th, 1957 and Rod had drifted out of the Quarrymen. One by one, the original Quarrymen members like John's best friend Pete Shotton who played a washboard dropped out and as Lennon changed the style of music from skiffle to rock n' roll and so no longer needed instruments like a washboard, a tea-chest base or banjo.

Colin Hanton and Rod Davis at the Cavern

Colin Hanton, who played the drums, stayed with the Quarrymen from 1956 until 1959 and recalls the times he played with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison before John changed the name to the Beatles. Colin played on the original first recording of "In Spite of All the Danger" which appeared on the Beatles Anthology.

Rod Davis says his last gig with the Quarrymen was in fact at the Woolton Garden fete on July 6th, 1957 and that neither he or Colin remember meeting Paul or had any idea of how important that day would be for John Lennon. Rod said that a common misconception is that John made up the words to the song because he forgot the lyrics to "Come Go With Me" they played at the Woolton Garden fete which impressed the young Paul McCartney hearing John sing for the very first time but in fact John and the other band members couldn't afford to buy the record for that song. So the only way to get the lyrics without the record was to listen on the radio and hope that the song might be played at night which was haphazard at best to try to get all the correct lyrics written down especially if the song was only played once, often late at night, if at all on the radio and of course John's Aunt Mimi severely restricted what radio stations was played on the radio. So John might only hear a particular song a few times over a period of months and scramble to write down all the words and ended up missing some of the words and phrases.

Tuesday night Rod brought a guitar and played a few of the original songs performed by the Quarrymen and recruited volunteers from the audience to play the washboard and tea-chest bass, including this author to help play the washboard which isn't as easy as it might first appear!

Most recently the Quarrymen completed a 3 week tour in the United States for a Happy Birthday John! Tour. For more information, go to their website. For more information on the John Lennon Tribute Season special lectures and events planned for November and December, click here.

Published November 6, 2010

This article is Copyright © 2010, Katie Hickox, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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