- United Kingdom
- St Peter's Church
More from year 1957
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On this day, fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney met John Lennon at the Woolton Village Fete. They chatted for a few minutes. Paul impressed John by playing and singing Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock” and Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-A-Lula“, along with a medley of songs by Little Richard. This first meeting led John to propose Paul join his band some days later, and history began.
In the afternoon the Quarrymen skiffle group played at the garden fete of St Peter’s Church, Woolton, Liverpool. The performance took place on a stage in a field behind the church. In the band were Lennon (vocals, guitar), Eric Griffiths (guitar), Colin Hanton (drums), Rod Davies (banjo), Pete Shotton (washboard) and Len Garry (tea chest bass).
The group arrived on the back of a lorry. As well as music, there were craft and cake stalls, games of hoop-la, police dog demonstrations and the traditional crowning of the Rose Queen. The fete was a highlight of the year for the residents of the sleepy Liverpool district. The entertainment began at two p.m. with the opening procession, which entailed one or two wonderfully festooned lorries crawling at a snail’s pace through the village on their ceremonious way to the Church field. The first lorry carried the Rose Queen, seated on her throne, surrounded by her retinue, all dressed in pink and white satin, sporting long ribbons and hand-made roses in their hair. These girls had been chosen from the Sunday school groups, on the basis of age and good behaviour.The following lorry carried various entertainers, including the Quarry Men. The boys were up there on the back of the moving lorry trying to stay upright and play their instruments at the same time. John gave up battling with balance and sat with his legs hanging over the edge, playing his guitar and singing. He continued all through the slow, slow journey as the lorry puttered its way along. Jackie and I leaped alongside the lorry, with our mother laughing and waving at John, making him laugh. He seemed to be the only one who was really trying to play and we were really trying to put him off!Julia Baird – From BEATLES MAGAZINE, July 6, 2022
Ah yes, I remember it well. l do actually. My memory of meeting John for the first time is very clear. My mate lvan Vaughan took me along to Woolton here and there were the Quarry Men, playing on a little platform. I can still see John now checked shirt, slightly curly hair, singing ‘Come Co With Me’ by the Del Vikings. He didn’t know all the words, so he was putting in stuff about penitentiaries – and making a good job of it.
I remember thinking, ‘He looks good – I wouldn’t mind being in a group with him’. A bit later we met up. I played him ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ and he seemed pretty impressed – maybe because I did know the words. Then, as you all know, he asked me to join the group, and so we began our trip together. We wrote our first songs together, we grew up together and we lived our lives together. And when we’d do it together, something special would happen. There’d be that little magic spark. I still remember his beery old breath when I met him here that day. But I soon came to love that old beery breath. And I loved John. I always was and still am a great fan of John’s. We had a lot of fun together and I still treasure those beautiful memories.
So I send you all in Woolton and Liddipool my best wishes today. And thanks for remembering – there’s no way that when we met here we had any idea of what we’d be starting. But l’m very proud of what we did. And l’m very glad that I did it with John. I hope you all have a wonderful day and God bless all who sail in you.Paul McCartney, from Beatles Monthly Book, N°256, August 1997
I remember coming into the fete and seeing all the sideshows. And also hearing all this great music wafting in from this little Tannoy system. It was John and the band.
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.’ Of course, he had his glasses off, so he really looked suave. I remember John was good. He was really the only outstanding member, all the rest kind of slipped away.Paul McCartney – From Record Collector, 1995
[…] St. Peter’s Church also plays quite a big part in how I come to be talking about many of these memories today. Back in the summer of 1957, Ivan Vaughan (a friend from school) and I went to the Woolton Village Fête at the church together, and he introduced me to his friend John, who was playing there with his band, the Quarry Men.
I’d just turned fifteen at this point and John was sixteen, and Ivan knew we were both obsessed with rock and roll, so he took me over to introduce us. One thing led to another—typical teen-age boys posturing and the like—and I ended up showing off a little by playing Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock” on the guitar. I think I played Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-a-Lula” and a few Little Richard songs, too.
A week or so later, I was out on my bike and bumped into Pete Shotton, who was the Quarry Men’s washboard player—a very important instrument in a skiffle band. He and I got talking, and he told me that John thought I should join them. That was a very John thing to do—have someone else ask me so he wouldn’t lose face if I said no. John often had his guard up, but that was one of the great balances between us. He could be quite caustic and witty, but once you got to know him he had this lovely warm character. I was more the opposite: pretty easygoing and friendly, but I could be tough when needed.
I said I would think about it, and a week later said yes. And after that John and I started hanging out quite a bit. I was on school holidays and John was about to start art college, usefully next door to my school. I showed him how to tune his guitar; he was using banjo tuning—I think his neighbor had done that for him before—and we taught ourselves how to play songs by people like Chuck Berry. I would have played him “I Lost My Little Girl” a while later, when I’d got my courage up to share it, and he started showing me his songs. And that’s where it all began. […]
To this very day, it still is a complete mystery to me that it happened at all. Would John and I have met some other way, if Ivan and I hadn’t gone to that fête? I’d actually gone along to try and pick up a girl. I’d seen John around—in the chip shop, on the bus, that sort of thing—and thought he looked quite cool, but would we have ever talked? I don’t know. As it happened, though, I had a school friend who knew John. And then I also happened to share a bus journey with George to school. All these small coincidences had to happen to make the Beatles happen, and it does feel like some kind of magic. It’s one of the wonderful lessons about saying yes when life presents these opportunities to you. You never know where they might lead.
And, as if all these coincidences weren’t enough, it turns out that someone else who was at the fête had a portable tape machine—one of those old Grundigs. So there’s this recording (admittedly of pretty bad quality) of the Quarry Men’s performance that day. You can listen to it online. And there are also a few photos around of the band on the back of a truck. So this day that proved to be pretty pivotal in my life still has this presence and exists in these ghosts of the past. […]Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics” book – From Paul McCartney on Writing “Eleanor Rigby” | The New Yorker, 2021
“I also knocked around on the backstage piano and that would have been A Whole Lot Of Shakin’ by Jerry Lee. That’s when I remember John leaning over, contributing a deft right hand in the upper octaves and surprising me with his beery breath. It’s not that I was shocked, it’s just that I remember this particular detail.”Paul McCartney – From BEATLES MAGAZINE, July 6, 2022
“At Woolton village fete I met him. I was a fat schoolboy and, as he leaned an arm on my shoulder, I realised he was drunk. We were twelve then, but, in spite of his sideboards, we went on to become teenage pals.”Paul McCartney – From BEATLES MAGAZINE, July 6, 2022
From Studio McGraw:
On July 6, 1957, two of the greatest composers in music history met at St. Peter’s Church Hall in Liverpool, England. On that summer evening, John Lennon and his band, The Quarrymen, were playing at the hall as part of a church fete that started earlier in the day. While the band was preparing for their 8 p.m. show, Lennon’s friend Ivan Vaughan introduced Lennon to one of his classmates from the Liverpool Institute, Paul McCartney. Paul McCartney was only 15 years of age at the time.
After the show, McCartney joined the boys for a drink — all lied about their ages to get served. A few weeks after, McCartney was approached and asked about joining the band. As they say, the rest is history […]
YouTube video below: I filmed this video in the winter of 2011 at St. Peter’s Church Hall, Liverpool, England. Terry, the owner of Liverpool’s Fab Four Taxi Tour, speaks from the spot where Lennon and McCartney first met.
Last updated on July 27, 2022
St Peter's Church
This was the 1st and only concert played at St Peter's Church.
Setlist for the concert
The setlist for this concert is incomplete, or we have not be able to confirm in an accurate way that this was the setlist. If you have any clue, pls let us know and leave a comment.
Puttin' On The Style
Baby Let's Play House
Come Go With Me