The Beatles

Mid-Century Modern – Vogue Magazine’s September Issue

Suzy Parker in Vogue Magazine, September 1957. Photo source: Vogue

Suzy Parker in Vogue Magazine, September 1957.

The September 1957 issue of Vogue Magazine was probably not the iconic behemoth that currently arrives at the newsstand with a thud each fall to profile and advertise the season’s couture. But the Conde Nast bible of style, then under the editorial directorship of Jessica Daves, had much to do with guiding the taste and flair of 1950s closets. With mid-century modern bringing back a neo-50s vibe, this editorial image of Suzy Parker from September, 1957 feels right at home with the trends of today (possibly minus the green fuzzy hat).

Texan redhead Suzy Parker was one of the first very-supermodels. In addition to her editorial work for fashion magazines, Parker frequently appeared in advertisements for cosmetics and other consumer products. She was the first model to earn over $100,000 per year. Suzy was also one of the first in a long line of fashion models who made the crossover to movies. Two films released in 1957 slated Suzy for small roles: Kiss Them for Me, with Cary Grant and Jayne Mansfield; and Funny Face, with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Fashion photography legends Richard Avedon, Horst P. Horst, and Irving Penn were inspired by Parker and their images, in turn, inspired 1950s women to pursue elegance with a flash of Texas sizzle. John, Paul, George, and Ringo – raging adolescents in 1957 – collectively wrote and recorded a tribute to Suzy in 1969, which was included in the soundtrack of the 1970 documentary, Let it Be.

Image Credit: Vogue Magazine

July 6, 1957 – John Meets Paul

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St. Peter’s Church Hall, Liverpool

On July 6, 1957, the music world shook on its axis as John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time at a Rose Queen Garden Fete at St. Peter’s Church in Woolton Parish, Liverpool.  Following two of the three Quarrymen’s skiffle sets that day – the first from the back of a moving flatbed truck, in a parade that included a Rose Queen float, Morris dancers, and Boy Scouts and Girl Guides; the second later in the afternoon from a stage in a field behind the church, with a Liverpool Police Dog display nearby – John’s friend and stand-in tea chest bassman Ivan Vaughan introduced the future immortal songwriting duo in the church hall before the Quarrymen’s third and final set.  Paul sang Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Rock Flight” for John, playing his right-hand guitar upside down.  McCartney stayed to watch the last set and, according to current Quarryman Rod Davis, was impressed with John’s ability to ad lib when he forgot the words to “Come Go With Me”.  Rod adds that John didn’t forget; they had never gotten the words right in the first place.  “We were still schoolkids and we didn’t have any money,” he explained, so they had to decipher lyrics as best they could and weren’t always able to figure them out.

Later that evening, Lennon and fellow-Quarryman Pete Shotton walked home together and John suggested inviting Paul to join the band.  Two weeks later, both Shotton and Vaughan talked with Paul, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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“In This Hall on 6th July 1957 John & Paul First Met: The Quarry Men featuring Eric Griffiths, Colin Hanton, Rod Davies, John Lennon, Pete Shotton, and Len Garry performed on the afternoon of 6th July 1957 at St. Peter’s Church Fete. In the evening before their performance in this hall Ivan Vaughan, who sometimes played in the group, introduced his friend Paul McCartney to John Lennon. As John recalled . . . ‘that was the day, the day that I met Paul, that it started moving.'”

Image Credits: Sue Adair (CC-by-Sa/2.0); Kyle Taylor/flickr