The Beatles Started Out As The Quarrymen, But The Earlier Band Flourished Without Them

Many believe that once The Beatles were formed, The Quarrymen ceased to exist. Nothing could be further from the truth.

True fans of The Beatles are aware that the band did not start off with the name that became internationally famous. Instead, some of the members of the Fab Four were originally in the band The Quarrymen. The Quarrymen was a band that was started by John Lennon and included some of his childhood friends. It was also with The Quarrymen that Lennon met Paul McCartney, who has big plans to release one final Beatles song, in the years before their songwriting skills would make them famous with The Beatles.

Because Lennon, McCartney, and George Harrison, who would later have his wife get revenge on him, were with The Quarrymen, many assume that because they became The Beatles that The Quarrymen broke up with the formation of one of the most influential bands even to this day. However, while three of the four Beatles were in the band and hence were first Quarrymen, the band continued to flourish even after McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison’s departure.

In fact, The Quarrymen have stayed together over the years and continue to tour today, showing just how much talent was in the band, even without the likes of those who departed to become The Beatles.

The Quarrymen Was The Original Name Of The Beatles

The Quarrymen were formed in 1956 by Lennon and some friends from school. The name of the group was chosen because Lennon, Pete Shotton, Len Garry, Rod Davis, Colin Hanton, and Eric Griffiths, attended Quarry Bank High School.

Originally, the sound The Quarrymen chose for themselves was skiffle, which was music that was influenced by folk, jazz, and blues. But when it was apparent that rock music was what was going to attract fans, The Quarrymen became a rock band in short order.

As a result of moving towards rock and roll, some of the members moved on from the band. Those who remained when this happened, however, were McCartney, who joined the band in 1957 and Harrison, who joined in 1958, and Lennon.

The trio, who went through name changes before again calling themselves The Quarrymen, were joined by bass player, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best, who has a low net worth today, in 1960.

It was Sutcliffe who came up with the name The Beatles. The name was chosen as both an homage to Buddy Holly and The Crickets as well as because there was a double meaning to the name. This happened right before the tour in Hamburg, Germany, which would launch the careers of Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison. Sutcliffe quit to return to his first love of art and Best was replaced shortly after the tour by Ringo Starr.

While all of this was happening for The Beatles, the original members The Quarrymen went on hiatus. However, they came back together in 1997 to celebrate the day that Lennon met McCartney. A day that marked the beginning of what would become The Beatles, forty years after it occurred.

The Quarrymen Didn’t End Because The Beatles Became Famous

As a result of three of the members of The Quarrymen going on to become The Beatles, it is natural to believe that The Quarrymen ended when this occurred. However, the band got back together with five of the original members in 1997 to commemorate the day that Lennon met McCartney and invited him to join the band.

“Before the mid-’80s, nobody was interested in The Quarrymen at all,” Davis explained. “I think people thought The Beatles just sprang out of nothing. However, in the mid-’80s, people started saying ‘Well, hang on a minute; what went on before we heard about The Beatles?’’So, of course, they then got interested in The Quarrymen.”

The Quarrymen were always talked about at Beatles conventions that popped up during the 1980s and 1990s. But it was as a result of The Cavern, the club where Lennon met McCartney, having a fortieth anniversary that the original members of The Quarrymen finally got together for the first time to play as a group, albeit a bit rustily.

“They invited dozens of people from all over the U.K. to the Cavern for a fantastic booze up,” Davis stated.

“Loads of free booze. At one point we decided to go out and have a meal, and someone said, ‘Hey, you can’t go now, there’s a TV crew coming to film you guys.’ And we said, ‘We haven’t even been together for 40 years, let alone played together!’’And they said, ‘Ah, come on, everybody’s having drink; it’s only a bit of fun.'”

Davis went on to say, “So we got up on stage and staggered through a couple of numbers. We had a Paul McCartney lookalike and a John Lennon lookalike with us. I think we just played two numbers, but I honestly can’t remember what they were. And after that, there were some Beatles fans in Liverpool and they said, ‘We want to try and recreate the day Lennon met McCartney, in July ’97; are you up for it?’ Eventually, we agreed. And that’s how we got back together again.”

The original members played in July 1997 to commemorate the meeting between McCartney and Lennon. As a result, the five members began to tour again. This time, it was not because they had to, to make ends meet, but because they wanted to. As a result, The Quarrymen went to multiple countries over the years and became a popular band yet again.

Where Are The Quarrymen Now?

These days, The Quarrymen continue to tour when their schedules allow. Unfortunately, it is not with the original five members any longer.

Shotton, who played the washboard, passed away in 2017 after suffering a heart attack. Griffiths, who played the guitar, passed away in 2005 from pancreatic cancer.

The remaining members, Garry, Davis, and Hanton, continue to tour. They had two other artists join the band, John Duff Lowe and Chas Newby. Newby passed away in May 2023. As such, the future of touring is currently up in the air.

Despite The Quarrymen going on hiatus, Garry, Davis, and Hanton have managed to make small fortunes for themselves over the years. As such, the estimates for each man’s net worth are between $1 million to $3 million.

This fortune was amassed from the careers each took on after their days with The Quarrymen, which ranged from playing in other bands to becoming a university teacher, an author, and musicians who produced not one but two albums after they reunited in 1997.

While these men may not have become members of The Beatles, it appears that none has any ill will for not going further in their musical careers than they did. Each has had a full life and to be able to return to their musical roots that they enjoyed as young boys just brings everything full circle.

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