When did George Harrison join The Quarrymen?

The Fab one hundred and Four by David Bedford
The Fab one hundred and Four by David Bedford

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 www.fab104.com

David Bedford

#arts & entertainment #Beatles #Quarrymen

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When was the first colour photograph of The Quarrymen Taken?

Sometimes, just finding out a date for a photograph can take weeks. In “The Fab one hundred and Four”, I was determined to find out when the first colour photograph of The Quarrymen was taken. All we had been told was that it was taken some time in 1958.

The first Quarrymen photograph
The first Quarrymen photograph

Sounds easy, but it was anything but! In the photograph, leaning against the wall with a half pint of Guinness is Dennis Littler, a good friend of Paul McCartney’s cousin Ian Harris. I tracked Dennis down, to find out what I could. Dennis sometimes let John, Paul or George borrow his guitar,  an Antoria Cello acoustic, which was more expensive than their guitars!

This is what Dennis remembered (taken from “The Fab one hundred and Four”):

Paul, George and John would often come to my house and play on my guitar, because it was a lot more expensive than the guitars they had, and obviously was a much better guitar too. I never performed with The Quarrymen, but rehearsed with them. I remember Paul coming to me one day and saying that he had worked out how to play ‘Buttery’ by Charlie Gracie and he played it perfectly. He had that knack of being able to pick a song up so quickly and it was
obvious how good he was. He could pick up songs like ‘Long Tall Sally’ by ear, and sing like Little Richard too because he had such a great voice. 

“When Ian got married, John, Paul and George were asked to provide some music, which is when the photo was taken by Mike McCartney, the first colour photograph featuring The Beatles. I am seen next to the wall with my glass of Guinness. I don’t remember much about the day I’m afraid.

So, the information that I had was that the photo was taken at the wedding of Ian Harris and Jacqueline Gavin. So all I needed to find was the day that Ian and Jacqueline got married. After searching databases and records, no such wedding took place between an Ian Harris and Jacqueline Harris between 1957 and 1959, and we know the wedding took place sometime in 1958. Where to go next?

As Ian Harris was a member of the McCartney family, they never use their first names. James Paul McCartney and Peter Michael McCartney for example. Ian’s dad was Harry, and as Paul had his father’s name, a search for Harry Ian Harris proved successful! In fact, Jacqueline didn’t use her first name either! She was Cecilia Jacqueline Gavin. Families eh? I then obtained a copy of the marriage certificate to provide the information I needed.

And so, as per the marriage certificate, Harry Ian Harris married Cecilia Jacqueline Gavin on 8th March 1958, the date the first colour photograph of The Quarrymen was taken, by Peter Michael McCartney!

So, for the purposes of the book, all you need to know is that the photo was taken on 8th March 1958. What you don’t see is the research behind finding that date. Believe me, that is the thrill of the historian/ researcher!

Read the full story behind the photograph in “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles from The Quarrymen to the Fab Four

David Bedford

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Confabulation: How To Test Beatles History

ConFABulation: Testing Beatles
History – Just Gimme Some Truth

I’m sick and tired of hearing things……

I’ve had enough of reading things……

All I want is the truth

Just gimme some truth

John Lennon

Confabulation is a memory disorder in which the individual produces false memories. When people confabulate, they either report remembering
events that never occurred, or remember events as having occurred at an
incorrect time or place. 

For example, a person who is confabulating may report a conversation that
never occurred, or may report a conversation that occurred three years ago as
having happened today.

When it comes to chronicling Beatles history, writers have several problemsto overcome, especially those of us who are diehard Beatles fans with
unbridled passion for the subject. Who is telling the truth, and who is
Confabulating the story of the Fab Four?

In “Finding the Fourth Beatle”, I felt that, because there were so many Beatles books out there, that I had to explain how I went about doing my research, and what historical tests I use.

There are a number of standard tests that historians use, and which I have always applied to any story I am investigating.


In any legal hearing or trial, there is the case for the defence and the case for the prosecution. Both sides will attempt to provide proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused is either innocent or guilty.

Documentary evidence is not open to speculation, though it can be
misinterpreted, but the most crucial part of either the defence or
prosecution is the summoning of their eyewitnesses.

These people can swing a case either way, depending on their reliability,
honesty and objectivity. However, neither side in the court will rely solely
on what the eyewitness says; they also have the chance to
cross-examine them and scrutinize their testimony.

Only then will the jury be satisfied that they are telling the truth, or lying under oath. What we have done is examine not only the eyewitness testimony of those who were intimately involved in The Beatles’ story, but the findings of authors, including ourselves, who have written about The Beatles.
Of course, we know that none of us authors is infallible!

Where possible, we have interviewed those key eyewitnesses again.
However, because so many of those first-hand observers are no
longer with us, we have to also apply similar tests to the Beatles authors – none of us is infallible.

The Tests

Can the eyewitness testimony be trusted? Since it is the most vital of
evidence, and can be compelling and convincing, we have used these tests:

  1. Intention. Was the intention of the writer or eyewitness to accurately
    preserve history, or did they have an ulterior motive in presenting their
    testimony in this way?  “Hearsay and unverified testimony is often misrepresented as fact.”
    (The Beatles and  the Historians: An Analysis of Writings About the Fab Four)
  2. Bias. Is there a bias by the author or eyewitness to make either themselves
    or those around them look better than they really were?
    Is it objective, honest and fair? “Many authors of Beatles books use
    technically factual evidence in misleading ways –for  example, by quoting
    a source who supports the author’s point of view while ignoring  countervailing evidence…when in fact it was just one source’s perspective
    on a given  ” (A Day in the Life – Mark Hertsgaard)
  3. Timing. How close to the event is the testimony given? The closer the
    eyewitness  testimony is to the date of the event, the less likely
    the possibility for legendary embellishment or development.
    We take into account faulty memories and wishful thinking,
    as well as deliberate revisionism.
  4. Is there multiple, corroborative, independent attestation? What other
    eyewitness accounts or physical evidence is there that can corroborate the
    testimony, or contradict it? The more accounts that can confirm the story,
    the more reliable it is, and the more likely it is to be accurate. It doesn’t mean that a single source should be discounted, but a higher
    level of scrutiny is required. “Eyewitness testimony that lacks verification
    from other, independent sources will be regarded as valuable but not
    unquestionable. However, eyewitness testimony will be granted  more weight than secondhand accounts or hearsay.” (The Beatles and the Historians:  An Analysis of Writings About the Fab Four)
  5. Oral History. Have the accounts been passed down so many times that errors creep in,  resulting in an accidental “truth” being perpetuated?
    It has been said that if you tell a  lie often enough and loud enough,
    people believe it is true. That is why we have approached this book with
    an open mind, accepting nothing and challenging.
  6. Do all the accounts concur, or are there discrepancies? Have eyewitnesses
    changed their stories over the years? What can be considered the truth? As
    historians, the truth is often unattainable, but we must gather as much
    evidence as possible, and get as close as we can to the truth.

Documentary Evidence

There are many documents available for inspection. Printed materials like
letters, contracts, posters, tickets and programs help us clearly corroborate
the events and support, or refute, eyewitness testimonies.

Evidence and Proof

What is the difference between evidence and proof? Author and historian
J. Warner Wallace – Cold Case Christianity – says that “while evidence is a
matter of objective truth, proof is in the mind of the evaluator, and many of us resist the truth in spite of the evidence.”

How can authors come to such different conclusions when they are often
examining the same evidence? We can offer evidence like eyewitness
testimony and documents all day long, but you have to have an open mind
to examine it and decide if the evidence supports the facts that we have
stated, and whether you feel we have given you sufficient proof.

Evidence: The facts we offer to support our claims of truth

Proof: What we infer from the facts offered

Abductive Reasoning

When examining testimony and evidence, we sometimes have to consider
the implications of what has been revealed. There are several ways of doing this, and one of the most dangerous is speculation, which can be
constructed to suit the agenda of the writer. However, what is more
appropriate is the abductive reasoning approach, which is a form of logical
conclusion, which starts with the available evidence, and then seeks to find the simplest and most likely explanation. It is important, therefore, to keep away from supposition, speculation and presumption where no evidence

You Decide

Don’t just take my word, or the word of any author, based solely on
who we are, our reputations, or previous works, but on the facts and
evidence put before you. The truth is what you make of it, based on the
evidence, not the writer.

To quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan;

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

So follow me on my investigations, where I will separate the myths from the facts, and show you the evidence.

David Bedford

This is taken from “Finding the Fourth Beatle” by David Bedford and Garry Popper

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Welcome to The Beatles Detective, with David Bedford

Welcome to my new blog, where, based on the years of researching and writing about The Beatles, especially the early years, I have devoted my time to trying to investigate those key moments in Beatles history, based on evidence and eyewitness testimony.

I will take you through the processes of investigating each of the events, plus the interviews I have done, digging for evidence, so that we can know for sure, or beyond a reasonable doubt, what happened.

I will share those stories from my three books: “Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles”, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” and “Finding the Fourth Beatle”.

Davids Books
Davids Books

Why The Beatles Detective? A number of friends have referred to the manner in which I research my books as “forensic investigating”, and my “Liddypod” podcast pal Paul Beesley suggested I call myself “The Beatles Detective”. So blame him!

Join me on my investigations……………………………………………

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