The Formation of The Fab Four

John Lennon was 17 years old when he was playing with his band, The Quarrymen, on July, 6 1957 at St. Peters church picnic in Liverpool, England. The Quarrymen were a Skiffle group made up of boys John had met at school. Skiffle music is a style made up of jazz, blues, and folk and is typically played on homemade instruments, making it accessible for young people to play.

A 15-year-old Paul McCartney attended the picnic with mutual friend of John’s, Ivan Vaughan. After the Quarrymen performed, Ivan introduced Paul to the group. John, being slightly older than McCartney, did not great him warmly but gave him the opportunity to prove himself. Paul was left handed and learned to play the guitar upside down which was shocking for the Quarrymen to witness. He also played “30 Flight Rock” by Eddie Cochran. This song was known for being fast and very few, if any, knew all the words. McCartney sang the song from beginning to end with ease. It was soon after that Paul McCartney joined the band and historically began writing songs with John Lennon. It was there that Lennon and McCartney was born.

George Harrison and Paul McCartney lived near one another, attended the same school, and rode the bus together. Paul was slightly older than then 14-year-old George and it took some convincing to 17-year-old John to give him a chance.  It was late at night, on the second floor of a red double decker bus, that John Lennon and Paul McCartney sat near the back listening to George Harrison completely devour the song “Raunchy” by Bill Justis. It was safe to say that Harrison was now a member of the band and would remain a member until its end.

Stuart Sutcliffe was John’s friend from art college and was not a musician, nor did he want to be. He was a painter and after selling one of his paintings for a good amount of money, it was John and Paul that convinced him to buy a bass instead of art supplies. Never feeling comfortable on stage, Stu often kept his back to the crowed and played as little as possible.

Pete Best was next to join in August of 1960. He drummed for the band while on tour in Hamburg, Germany and in their beginning days at The Cavern. It was in Hamburg where the boys say they “grew up.” They played 30-set weeks and honed their skills and strengthened their repertoire. It wasn’t long until George got sent out of the country for being underage and the rest of the band followed.  Stuart Sutcliffe stayed in Germany after falling in love with a friend of the band, Astrid Kirchherr. Astrid was an artist and took well known photographs of the Beatles time in Hamburg. She, Klaus Doorman, and Jürgen Vollmer are said to have had a large impact on The Beatles hair and appearance.

Unfortunately, Stuart Sutcliffe died suddenly on April 6, 1962 of a brain hemorrhage after less than a year in Hamburg. The band took the news hard and later payed tribute to Sutcliffe on the cover of their album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

In 1962 The Beatles began recording their first single, “Love Me Do”. It is then that Pete Best was asked to leave the band. To this day there remains controversy as to why Best was asked to leave. Some say it was because he wasn’t a good drummer, some say it was because the other boys were jealous of his good looks, and some say it was because they liked Ringo Starr better. Whatever the case may be, on August 16, 1962 Starr historically became a member of The Beatles. Ringo Starr was a drummer for popular Liverpool group, Rory Storm and The Hurricanes and was friends of John, Paul, and George.

In October of ’62 “Love Me Do” became their first UK top 20 hit and the rest was history. John, Paul, George, and Ringo went on as The Beatles until 1970 and were one of the best and most influential bands of all time.

-Victoria Shaffer

Lewisohn, Mark. The Beatles. Tune in. New York: Crown Archetype, 2013. Print.

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