Do you know when George Harrison joined The Quarrymen? Beatles historian says think again

For many years, we have known that George Harrison, at the invitation of his school friend Paul McCartney, auditioned before John Lennon a few times. The place where he was successful, according to all sources, was on the top deck of a bus outside Wilson Hall in Garston. The date? 6th February 1958.

Or was it?

While researching my latest book, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”, I re-examined the available evidence, with help from Quarrymen banjo player/ historian Rod Davis, especially looking at the exit from The Quarrymen of Eric Griffiths. We know that Eric left The Quarrymen because he was replaced by George. Eric put away his guitar and joined the Merchant Navy. I therefore obtained a copy of Eric’s Merchant Navy records (reproduced in the book) which shows that Eric joined his first ship on 11th February 1958! We could then see that Eric qualified as an officer cadet in January 1958, which means he would have signed up for the Merchant Navy in mid December 1957.

Therefore, George must have joined The Quarrymen before the middle of December 1957 for Eric to have left and signed up for the Merchant Navy. When we check the records, The Quarrymen played at Wilson Hall on 7th December 1957, which makes this the likely date for George’s successful audition to join The Quarrymen.

This means that John, Paul and George were together in a band by the end of 1957!

To read the full story, get your copy of my book, “The Fab one hundred and Four” now at

David Bedford

#arts & entertainment #Beatles #Quarrymen


The Beatles back Davy Jones

At the famous Liverpool Stadium concert on 3 May 1960, when Gene Vincent appeared with several Liverpool groups following Eddie Cochran’s death, one of those artists on the bill was the black American singer Davy Jones, not to be confused with the late singer from The Monkees.

Jones returned to Liverpool at the end of 1961 and during The Beatles’ appearance at Sam Leach’s second “Operation Big Beat”, he got up on the stage as an unannounced guest and sang two numbers with the group.

This was shortly followed by two official appearances. First, Jones was booked by Ray McFall to appear at The Cavern on Friday 8 December 1961. Since he was a solo singer, Jones needed a backing band, so McFall arranged for The Beatles to support him. The session was photographed for Mersey Beat. That same evening, Leach was promoting another event at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton and once again had Jones on the bill. As at The Cavern, The Beatles were booked to support him. Leach had advertised Jones as the Saturday Spectacular television star and
highlighted Jones’ status as a successful recording artist.

Read more about this historic appearance and how Cavern DJ Bob Wooler got stoned on a cocaine, thanks to Jones, in The Fab One Hundred and Four – get your copy now at

David Bedford

# arts and entertainment

The Evolution of The Beatles – from the very beginning!

Fab 104 book cover

Fab 104 Cover

If somebody asked you: “How did they go from being The Quarrymen to The Beatles?”, what would you say?

I’ve spent the last 14 years researching and writing about the early history of The Beatles in my first book, “Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles” and my new book, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”.

Over the next few weeks, I will take you on that journey with the whole story – including some surprise names, and revealing for the first time the previously unknown school friend who suggested to John that he should start a skiffle group!

Names like Arthur Pendleton, Everett Estridge, Simone Jackson and Ian James deserve credit for the important part they played in the evolution of The Beatles.

Make sure you don’t miss it!

David Bedford

The Day John Lennon Met Paul McCartney – First Published Photos of Parade

6th July 1957 will go down in music history as the day John Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time, and everything changed!

John’s group The Quarrymen had been added to the program for the annual Woolton Village Fete being held at St. Peter’s Church, Woolton.

For my latest book, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”, I have spoken to many key eyewitnesses, including The Quarrymen, to piece together the true story of that momentous day.

Also included in a book for the very first time are the photographs taken by Quarrymen banjo player Rod Davis’ father of the parade, where you can see the marching band, the scouts and guides, young people’s groups and of course, The Quarrymen themselves.

However, the key interview was with Ian James, Paul McCartney’s school friend who revealed the secret behind the success of Paul’s audition to John. Ian taught Paul to play guitar and went on to give both John and George lessons. Ian confirmed what we had long suspected about Paul’s audition in the church hall of St. Peter’s – that Paul had learned to play a right-handed guitar upside down!

Read the full story in “The Fab One Hundred and Four” – more details at

“A treasure chest of research and a visual delight, this will prove to be a work no Beatles fan should be without.”
Bill Harry, founder of Mersey Beat

“David is defining and refining Beatles history” – Edd Raineri, The Beatledd Fab Four Hour

I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY! “Check out “The Fab One Hundred and Four,” a new book written by author/ Beatles scholar David Bedford. Exhaustively researched and illustrated with terrific (and rare) photos, the book tills the fertile soil of the band’s early history by examining the Liverpool musicians who influenced John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr” Michael Starr, New York Post

Read the full story in “The Fab One Hundred and Four” – more details at


I have been involved for the last few years in a campaign to save the birthplace of Ringo Starr at 9, Madryn Street in the Dingle. The campaign also includes all of the “Welsh” Streets that include Madryn Street, the area where I grew up.

We need to raise £40,000 to fund the public enquiry, for which I have given written evidence and may be asked to appear before the enquiry.

There are lots of incentives for anyone who contributes to the fund, including copies of my two books, “Liddypool” and “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” and many more.

Please join us and preserve the Dingle! Read the Press Release below for more details.

David Bedford



Save launches crowd funding initiative to raise funds for a public inquiry into the Welsh Streets, Liverpool

9 Madryn Street

9 Madryn Street

On June 17th a public inquiry begins in Liverpool into planning application to demolish over 400 Victorian terraced houses in Toxteth, L8, including most of Madryn Street, where Ringo Starr was born.

The streets are to be replaced with drastically fewer semi-detached and detached houses with gardens, dropping the density by some 45% percent despite the proximity of the area to the city centre. Only forty houses are to be refurbished.

SAVE has been campaigning to save the Welsh Streets for over 10 years. In 2011 SAVE bought a property there – 21 Madryn Street, the former home of Ringo Starr’s aunt. SAVE bought the house to show that with minimal investment it is possible to make these terraces into comfortable homes. A young couple has been happily living there ever since.

The grounds for the public inquiry include whether it fails in terms of national housing and planning policy, issues of design, sustainability and architectural significance.

SAVE has made several significant discoveries in the course of gathering its evidence for the inquiry.

One of the chief among these is that the Welsh Streets were laid out and built by prominent Welsh architect Richard Owens, who master-planned large areas of Liverpool in the last quarter of the 19th century.

Owens was the embodiment of the strong Welsh element that contributed to the history and construction of Liverpool at its great moment of expansion in the late 19th century. The Welsh Streets are named after Welsh landmarks, the houses were built and partly inhabited by Welsh builders, and the area was a Welsh community for many years.

This evidence has been uncovered for the first time by one of our witnesses, Gareth Carr, who completed a PhD about Richard Owens at the Liverpool University architecture faculty this year.

Another aspect of SAVE’s evidence is how deeply connected the wider area is to Ringo Starr’s background, and not only the house where he was born. Starr was born at No.9 Madryn Street, and spent his first five years there; his grandparents lived at the other end of the street, his aunt lived at No.21, and his best friend at No.10. Following this he moved two streets away where he lived until he went to London after becoming an international mega star with the Beatles.

While an agreement between former Housing Minister Grant Shapps and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson was made in 2012 to save 16 houses on Madryn Street, SAVE holds that it is important to keep the entire street in tact.

In addition, SAVE holds that it is viable to refurbish the houses, and presents a more sustainable approach. This position is supported by a recent survey of the site, undertaken jointly with Liverpool Council. Evidence from our surveyors and QS indicate that refurbishment will cost between £51,000 and £60,000 on the properties – with scope for this figure to drop if individuals take on refurbishment of their own homes, or if a developer refurbishes a groups of houses. Evidence from estate agent Paul Sutton indicates that the houses would sell for between £75,000 and £85,000.

SAVE needs to raise £40,000 to fight the inquiry, and has embarked on a crowd-funding initiative with Dig Ventures, a platform that has successfully raised money for several UK archaeological digs. Supporters of our campaign are eligible for a variety of benefits including tailored Beatles-themed or architectural tours of Liverpool, tickets to a party at The Empress pub that features on the front of Ringo’s solo album A Sentimental Journey, a tea towel that is being especially designed for the campaign, membership of SAVE and SAVE publications. The top prizes are tea at 21 Madryn Street which is at present being redesigned by Tilly and Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Designs, and participation in a discussion about the future of No9 Madryn Street, held at 21 Madryn Street with members of the team.

Fighting public inquiries is an expensive business, and SAVE is a small independent charity that receives no public funding. Our experts are giving their time for free or at greatly reduced rates, investing some £200,000 of donated time to this fight for which we are hugely grateful. We still need to raise another £40,000 to cover legal fees, the cost of a survey of a number of houses on the site, towards the redecoration of the house, and other expenses.

SAVE Director Clem Cecil says: “This is the first crowdfunding campaign of its kind in the UK, and we are really looking forward to involving everyone who supports us in the fight to save this neighbourhood. We’re offering great campaign benefits, and raising awareness about what is happening here among Beatles fans, and those interested in Welsh-Liverpool history. This is a way for them to get actively involved.”

SAVE’s vision for Madryn Street


Notes to editors:

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architects, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

Registered Charity 269129

Tel. 020 7253 3500 Email

Follow SAVE on Twitter: @SAVEBrit

On the anniversary of Sgt Pepper, how many of the Fab104 can you spot?

When I was writing my book, and the number kept rising, I considered doing a tribute to Sgt. Pepper with as many of the Fab one hundred and Four I could find. In the end we decided not to proceed with it, but see how many you can recognise?

If you want to know more about the 104 people involved in the story of the Beatles, you can order “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles, 1956-1962” from

Have fun!


Fab 104 and Sgt Pepper

How many of the Fab 104 can you spot in the Sgt. Pepper