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MUS321H1 (38)


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University of Toronto St. George
James Kippen

2. Early Days: Beginnings to the first number one hit Questions What were the conditions and ingredients for success? What was the formula for the first successful hits? John Winston Lennon Born October 9, 1940 Middle class upbringing with Mimi & George Smith Julia Stanley Mother Father: Alfred Lennon, merchant seaman Julia played banjo, taught John his first chords Personality Rebellious Penchant for twisting words Enjoyed writing and drawing Naturally intelligent Academically unsuccessful Idolised Little Richard & Elvis Presley Skiffle Homespun country rock Guitars, washboard, one-stringed tea-chest bass Lennon formed his own skiffle band: Black Jacks / Quarry Men July 6, 1957 Quarry Men: Lennon’s “gang” St Peter’s Parish Church Summer fête “Eruption of noise”? Fateful meeting with guitarist Paul McCartney James Paul McCartney Born June 18, 1942 Father: Jim McCartney, cotton merchant and amateur jazz musician & bandleader in 1920s Mother: Mary Mohin, nurse/midwife Intelligent, academically successful Personality Abundant charm Obsession with Little Richard Restringed his guitar to play left-handed Early indications of perfectionism Apt to criticize George Harrison Born February 25, 1943 Father: Harold Harrison, school bus driver Mother: Louise French Obsessed with rock and roll guitar music from US Joined Quarry Men by mid 1958 Duane Eddy Twangy guitar style Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody 1958 releases: Rebel Rouser; Movin’ n’ Groovin’ Quarry Men Covered US R&R hits McC: “I Lost My Little Girl” (late ‘57) Lennon: “Hello Little Girl” Competition? First recording Home of Percy Phillips, summer ‘58 Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” “In Spite Of All The Danger” (McC & H) L lead vocals; John Lowe on piano The Team Lennon & McCartney (Goffer & King; Lieber & Stoller) Different personalities Why did this relationship work? Mothers Mary Mohin died late 1956 of complications from breast cancer Julia Lennon killed by a car in 1957 Stuart Sutcliffe L’s friend from Art College Talented artist Played bass Stimulated L’s intellectual/artistic curiosity Suggested new names: Beatals, Silver Beats, and Silver Beetles L’s decision Liverpool coffee houses Casbah, 1959 (owner: Mona Best) Jacaranda, 1960 (owner: Allan Williams) Unaccomplished No drummer Other Liverpool bands Gerry & The Pacemakers Formed by Gerry Marsden in 1959 Rory Storm & The Hurricanes Recognize the drummer? Richard Starkey, alias Ringo Starr Playing with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes in Hamburg, Germany Drums & Hamburg Williams offered stint in Hamburg, August to November 1960 Reeperbahn: clubs, strip clubs, sex shops, brothels Drummer? Randolph Peter Best Born November 24, 1941 Good looking Main attraction for girls Personality: quiet, sullen, aloof His band: The Blackjacks Joined Beatles August 12, 1960 First Hamburg visit Long sets at Indra, Kaiserkeller Decadent atmosphere, rowdy audiences, drugs, dismal living conditions Opportunity to learn large repertoire of US hits, showtunes, etc. …to try out their own compositions Rehearsal, Hamburg 1960 “Movin’ n’ Groovin’” (Eddy) “Hello Little Girl” (Lennon) NB – Vocal harmonies? Influences? The Look Developed electrifying stage act Hooked up with existentialist youth groups: art, literature Astrid Kirchherr New haircuts, leather Back to Liverpool Ignominious end to Hamburg stint Top Ten Club / Tony Sheridan H deported McC & Best arrested, deported Sutcliffe & Kirchherr Sutcliffe opted to stay in Hamburg and atten
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