When John met Paul... and music changed forever

John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Beatles 1964

It was 58 years ago today, that Paul taught John to play. Yes, 58 years ago, 6 July 1957, John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time, and everything that the amazing band that was The Beatles began.

The meeting took place at the St Peter’s Parish Church Garden Fete, in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton. John had talked the organisers into a spot for his band, the Quarry Men Skiffle Group, amidst the brass bands and dog shows.

At 4.30pm, around about ten minutes in the Quarry Men’s set, a young boy in a white sports coat with a guitar slung across his back parked his bicycle, and made his way to the stage. His name… James Paul McCartney.

Paul watched the band sing a hit by the Del Vikings, Come Go With Me, and noticed a few things. The absolute commitment and drive of John’s voice. The fact that John was making up his words to the song. And that John was playing banjo chords on his guitar.

Paul stood and watched the rest of the show. The Quarry Men packed their gear, and carried it over to the St Peter’s Church Hall, where they were to play another set. At right about 6.50pm Ivan Vaughan, a member of the band and a mutual friend of the two, introduced John Lennon to Paul McCartney. John was soon to turn 17, Paul had just turned 15.

Ad. Article continues below.

After an uneasy, silence, Paul picked up his guitar, and played Eddie Cochran’s Twenty Flight Rock, then Gene Vincent’s “Be Bop A Lula”, then a Little Richard medley. John recognised a kindred rock and roll spirit, not to mention Paul’s mastery of the guitar, and a terrific singing voice.

Paul then taught John how to play Twenty Flight Rock.

On his way home, going past the Strawberry Field gardens, John asked a friend if he should ask the new boy, Paul, to join the band. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Would the 1960s had been the same had these two not met? Would music then and now be the same? John and Paul were both possessed of great individual talents, but their coming together, and the absolute sheer competition between the two drove their performance, and their songwriting, to new heights.

So there you have it. Two young boys meet in a what was regarded then as a poor, regional backwater, and changed the world.

Where were you when you first heard the music of The Beatles? Did you see them play live in concert? Did you ever meet any of The Beatles? And what is your favourite song of theirs?