What about the time we met?
McCartney used to see a boy on the bus – a typical 50’s ted: “greasy hair, long
sideburns, shuffling around like he was Mr Hard”, as he described him.
McCartney would come across this boy on the top deck of the bus often. He also
says he saw in the queue at a chip shop this same boy once.
According to Mark Lewhison, Paul sometimes reveals that he also has seen this boy during the time he was a paperboy; he even talked to him outside the newsagent’s shop – McCartney worked as a paperboy after his family moved to Forthlin Road, in summer 1956.
This boy who Paul used to come across by chance through the city was John Lennon; he attended Quarry Bank Grammar School, and in the summer of 1956, he and his friends formed a skiffle group called The Quarrymen.
The Quarrymen’s initial formation was John Lennon, Pete Shotton, Eric Griffiths and Rod Davis. Ivan Vaughan, who was neighbour and friend of Lennon and Shotton, introduced them to his school-mate from Liverpool Institute, Len Garry. Then the drummer came, Colin Hanton, who was Eric Griffiths’ neighbour and friend.
Paul attended Liverpool Institute and Ivan Vaughan was his best mate. Ivan knew that his friends from Quarry Bank would perform at St Peter’s Church’s festival in Woolton Village, on the afternoon of 6th July, 1957, so he invited Paul to go along with him to try to pick up some girls.
On the sunny Saturday afternoon of 6th July, the 15 years old Paul McCartney arrived in the fete riding his bike to meet Ivan. He saw some of the sideshows when he heard the music filling the air coming from a little Tannoy system. There was a guy with a slightly curly hair and checked shirt playing on a platform. It was John and the band; however, apparently Paul seemed has just noticed Lennon presence, as himself recalled, “He was the only outstanding member, all the rest kind of slipped away”. John sang a Doo-Wop song called Come Go With Me, by The Del Vikings, which Paul loved. Lennon just had heard it on radio, he really didn’t know all the words; so in a humorous way, he put in some stuff about penitentiaries, and McCartney thought it was interesting and intelligent. Ironically, it really was sort of an invitation to Paul to come and go with him, and they would never apart.
the first Quarrymen’s performance in that day finished, Ivan took Paul along to
meet the band. The boys were sitting around a table when they came in.
McCartney was dressed in a white jacket with silver details and black drainpipes
trousers. As Pete Shotton recalled, “Right off, I could see John was checking
this kid out. Paul came on as very attractive, very loose, very easy, very
confident – wildly confident”.
Ivan introduced Paul to his friends – Len Garry he already knew, they were from the same school – but McCartney’s particular interest was John. Paul played Twenty Flight Rock by Eddie Cochran with the right chords and words, sort of humiliating these boys who earlier were literally improvising on ‘Come Go With Me’. “I could see John was very impressed”, said Pete Shotton. McCartney also realized John looked impressed, and he actually was: “I was very impressed by Paul playing ‘Twenty Flight Rock”, said John. McCartney joked it was probably because he did know the words.
After chatting some, Paul went to piano that there was in the parish hall. He remembers that “it’s when John leaned over my shoulders, contributing a deft right hand in the upper octaves and surprising me with his beery breath”. McCartney still remembers this particular detail, as he own has said, and every time he gets the opportunity of emphasising about “John’s beery breath”, he does, like on the message he sent to St Peter’s Church:
“I still remember John’s beery old breath in the day I met him for the first time. Soon I came to love his beery old breath, and I loved John”.
Paul learned to love John Lennon’s beery breath, even because they would hang out together, write songs together, share a microphone together, occasionally sleep together, and, thereafter, live their lives together.
“The most important day in his life was the day he met me.” –Paul McCartney