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The Beatles story, Liverpool: The Quarrymen and Skiffle - the UK Years

- NEW EXHIBITION opens 16 May, Press View 15 May

- Winner - Visitor Attraction of the Year Mersey Tourism Awards '01

- ATTN: Forward Planning Editors, Feature writers and Newsdesks

- With picture

`The Quarrymen and Skiffle - the UK Years,' 16 May - 1 November 2002 at The Beatles Story, Liverpool reveals for the first time the fascinating yet forgotten story of how a new musical craze sweeping across Britain led to one of the biggest stories the music industry has known.

1956. Picture the scene: the 15 year-old singer/guitarist John Lennon at Quarry Bank High School has the idea of forming a skiffle group with three of his mates on washboard, guitar and tea chest bass. The group becomes known as The Quarrymen and soon begins playing in public - their first gig is probably at St Peter's Youth Club in Woolton. The following year on Saturday 6 July The Quarrymen play the Garden Fete at St Peter's Church - notable as being the day that John Lennon first meets Paul McCartney, who subsequently introduces George Harrison to the group.

Skiffle, which originated in the Southern States of America via performers such as Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly) and Big Bill Broonyz, was all the rage in the UK in the late 50s. Skiffle used conventional instruments as well as the more 'unusual' ones such as washboard and tea chest bass - which you could find in most back yards of the time. This music was made famous in the UK by Lonnie Donnegan, who was a major influence on John Lennon.

On display at the exhibition will be several of the original instruments used by the group - including a banjo that John Lennon played, Colin Hanton's first drum kit - still with its sticks and brushes and a record of Lonnie Donegan's Rock Island Line, which Lennon sold for 2 shillings and sixpence to Rod Davis. There will also be photographs, (including one of The Quarrymen as they are today!) and other material illustrating, alongside the story of The Quarrymen, the importance of skiffle in the UK - as a catalyst for rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues and pop - from the very early days to the beginning of The Beatles Story itself.

Also at The Beatles Story, you can still see John Lennon's upright Steinway piano on which he created his masterpiece Imagine. The piano is currently owned by George Michael and is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as being the most expensive piano in the world at £1.5million.

  • PRESS VIEW AND PHOTOCALL - Wednesday, 15 May 11am

The Beatles Story:

The Quarrymen:

Notes to Editors:

The Quarrymen evolved: George Harrison was introduced to John by Paul and other later band members included Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. The Quarrymen later changed their name to The Beatles.

Band members:
John Lennon                      guitar
Pete Shotton                  washboard
Eric Griffiths                   guitar
Bill Smith               tea chest bass
Rod Davis                         banjo
Len Garry                tea chest bass
Colin Hanton                      drums
Nigel Walley                    manager   (achieved first gig at the Cavern)
Paul McCartney                   guitar
George Harrison                  guitar
John Duff Lowe (briefly)          piano
Ken Brown               electric guitar
Pete Best                         drums
Stuart Sutcliffe            bass guitar  (suggested name change to the Beatals)

The Quarrymen today:
Len Garry             vocals and guitar
Eric Griffiths                   guitar
Rod Davis             vocals and guitar
Colin Hanton                      drums

SOURCE The Beatles story, Liverpool

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