Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 6th - Woolton Village Fete

49 years ago tomorrow (July 6th) John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time during the Woolton Village Fete at St Peter's Church. Here are their own personal memories of that day in 1957:

"First time I met John was at Woolton village fete and I'd been invited there by Ivan who was a mutual mate. He was born on exactly the same day as me, Ivan, the 18th June 1942, so we'd always had a lot in common besides that. Ivan lived behind Mendips, sort of a garden away, so they were mates from where they lived. Ivan was my mate from school and he said, “Do you want to come to Woolton village fete, a couple of the lads are going to be there and stuff and I'll take you.” So I was younger than 16, I think John was about 16; I was maybe 14 and a half or 15.

"So I'd been invited by Ivan and he took us along and I remember coming into the village fete like you do, sort of entering the field and it's all sideshows and music from this little tannoy system and it was John and the band. It was John, Len Garry, Pete Shotton, Colin Hanton on drums, Griff on guitar, and maybe Nigel Whalley who was officially manager but he managed to get up on the stage. I saw the band and I thought, oh great, well I'll listen to the band because I'm into the music. And Ivan said, “I know a couple of the lads in the band, they're my mates”.

I thought John was good, he was really the only outstanding member, all the rest slipped away. The drummer was pretty good actually, from what we knew then, Colin Hanton was good, and I knew one of the reasons we liked Colin was that he had the record “Searchin’” and that was big currency you see. And afterwards, after they finished playing, Ive took us up to the church hall just behind the church, up the hill a bit. We went up there and by now they were 'the band' and they'd finished their set and they were kind of having a beer, you know, it wasn't crazy drinking or anything but it was just social, a bit of fun.

"I remember John looking - you know, we really used to think John looked pretty cool - he was a bit older than us and he'd do a little bit more greased back hair than we were allowed, you know, our parents would really... I just didn't dare do it just like that, the way my dad was really. So John was quite groovy, he looked a bit of a Ted then...

"You know, he was pretty cool, he had nice big sideburns. So I remember him just leaning over me and we were round a piano in the church hall, and there was a couple of guitars, and on the guitar - which I think must have been backwards, but I had a mate from the Dingle who played the guitar so I was used to turning the guitar upside down - I played a bit of “Twenty Flight Rock” and I knew a lot of the words.

"And I got asked to join the group, I think on the strength of knowing “Twenty Flight Rock” and I think I must have sang “Long Tall Sally” as well. Those were my two... “Long Tall Sally” was my Little Richard thing that I still do - I was doing it last year. And Eddie Cochran was “Twenty Flight Rock” but it was the words there, that was the really hip thing. "I got a girl with a record machine", you know, great words, all those early rock and roll numbers. So that was lovely, that was the first time I met John."

[From "Beatles Inside Interviews" by Geoffrey Giuliano]

"It was at a church-hall garden fete, and I was performing with a mutual friend of Paul's and mine. Another mutual friend who lived next door brought Paul along and said, 'I think you two will get along.'

"We can both remember it quite well. The Quarry Men were playing on a raised platform and there was a good crowd because it was a warm, sunny day. It was the first day I did 'Be Bop A Lula' live on stage.

"We talked after the show and I saw he had talent. He was playing guitar backstage, doing "Twenty Flight Rock" by Eddie Cochran.

"Paul could play guitar, trumpet and piano. That doesn't mean to say he had a greater talent, but his musical education was better. I could only play the mouth organ and two chords on a guitar when we met. I tuned the guitar like a banjo, so my guitar only had five strings on it. (Paul taught me how to play properly - but I had to learn the chords left-handed, because Paul is left-handed. So I learnt them upside down, and I'd go home and reverse them.) That's what I was doing - playing on stage with a group, playing a five-string guitar like a banjo - when he was brought around from the audience to meet me.

"Paul told me the chords I had been playing weren't real chords - and his dad said that they weren't even banjo chords, though I think they were. He had a good guitar at the time, it cost about £14. He'd got it in exchange for a trumpet his dad had given him."

[From "The Beatles Anthology"]

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