On June 22, 1957, John Lennon’s first band, The Quarrymen, performed two sets of skiffle and rock at the 750th anniversary celebration of the granting of Liverpool’s charter by King John. Following warmup appearances at movie intermissions, parties, skiffle contests, a golf club, a youth club, church halls, a school dance, and a jazz club called The Cavern, John Lennon (guitar, banjo), Eric Griffiths (guitar, banjo), Pete Shotton (washboard), Rod Davis (banjo), Len Garry (washtub bass and tea-chest bass), and Colin Hanton (drums) played to a hometown crowd from the back of a stationary flatbed truck. Having gotten their start in skiffle music, a peculiarly British genre that required little musical technique or expensive instruments, John and Eric’s efforts to include some rock and roll in their repertoire were usually rebuffed by their gig hosts. John especially liked Elvis and Little Richard songs.
The Quarrymen got their name from John and Eric’s school – Quarry Bank High. The school song contained the line, “Quarrymen, old before our birth / Straining each muscle and sinew,” and the not-too-interested-in-working-hard-at-school boys liked the ironic twist. At the time of the 750th anniversary concert, Lennon was 16 years old.
Image Credit: Charles Robert