That'll Be The Day
In Spite Of All The Danger

Running an electrical goods shop in Liverpool wasn't enough for Percy Phillips, and being 60 certainly wasn't going to stop him. So in 1955, spurred by the local interest in country and western music, Phillips spent 400 pounds on a portable tape recorder and portable disc cutting machine, microphones and a four-way mixer, which were installed in the middle living-room of his Victorian terraced house at number 38 Kensington, a major thoroughfare located a mile beyond Liverpool city centre.

Sparse it may have been but Phillips' recording facility was efficient. Having arrived for their appointment customers would sit in a waiting area and, when prompted, move into the living-room, face up to the microphones and perform, live. While trams rattled along Kensington - their noise was deadened by a heavy curtain over the studio door - Percy Phillips would first commit the performance on tape and then, provided that the Artiste was not distressed with the result, immediately transfer this to a shellac disc, wiping over the tape next time someone used the studio.

Word of Phillips' facility soon spread, and as skiffle and then beat music took hold so it began to attract a number of Liverpool's younger musicians, eager to commit their sound to disc and able to announce that they had "made a record". Having travelled with their instruments from the south end of the city, a quintet called the Quarry Men - John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, who all played guitars, John Lowe who played the piano, and Collin Hanton the drummer - turned up at Phillips Sound Recording Service on day in the spring or summer of 1958. A short while later, having parted company with 17s 6d [88p] (about $2) the five Quarry Men left 38 Kensington passing among them the cherished fruit of their debut recording session: a very breakable 78rpm record, ten-inches in diameter. The disc's label clearly instructed "Play with a light-weight pick-up" ... but no mention of the words Quarry Men, and certainly not Beatles, a name they wouldn't adopt for another two years.

On one side of the disc was That'll Be The Day, homage to Buddy Holly and the Crickets, featuring John Lennon's lead vocal with Paul McCartney providing the high harmonies. On the other side was In Spite Of All The Danger, co-written by Paul McCartney and George Harrison, but, again, with John Lennon singing lead.

Colin Hanton (whose membership of the Quarry Men pre-dated both Paul's and George's) and John Lowe (who was recruited principally because he could play Jerry Lee Lewis's exacting arpeggio part in Mean Woman Blues) left soon after the band's one and only recording session, leaving the nucleus, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, to aim for fame.

Paul McCartney owned the only known original copy. Paul had the song digitally re-mastered and 50 copies pressed as Christmas presents for friends.

This recording was released in both the US and the UK on November 21, 1995 on "The Beatles Anthology Volume 1."

Phillips acetate sleeve
(circa late 1950s)

This sleeve is NOT associated with The Beatles' acetate.
At last fans got to hear the Quarry Men's That'll Be The Day in full, and In Spite Of All The Danger, a Beatles legend, was finally unveiled as the earliest known recording of a Harrison or McCartney song. Interestingly, though, In Spite Of All The Danger, the Beatles' only
doo-wop ballad, appears here in edited form. The Anthology 1 version runs for just 2.45, while McCartney's priceless original shellac acetate clocks in at 3.25.

Paul: The strangest thing for me, listening to it, is that it's like drowning, it's like your life flashing by in front of you. From the earliest things by me and John when we used to sag off school and the earliest demo tape we ever made, to the first little record we made which was
a version of John singing That'll Be The Day, and a little song of mine on the other side that's never been released before.


This item is a fascinating replica of the Quarry Men acetate. This disc was auctioned on eBay in March 2004. Paul McCartney (owner of the sole authentic acetate) had several replicas (reportedly 50 copies) of the original acetate made for friends and associates. It is unclear if the disc featured here is one of Paul's or some subsequent replica.

According to the owner of this specific disc , "In Spite Of All The Danger" is the full 3:25 version.


The Beatles That'll be the Day
78rpm Acetate

Item number: 4000239174
Winning bid: US $1,500.00
Ended: Mar-11-04 13:58:08 PST
Start time: Mar-04-04 13:58:08 PST
History: 44 bids (US $10.00 starting bid)
Item location: dracut, MA
United States

You are bidding on a Beatles Acetate with That'll be the day w/ In spite of all the
danger on the other side. This record plays
at 78rpm but do not play on an old style
victor type gramophone, it will ruin the grooves. I bought it from a record dealer at a flea market a few years ago. I have played it
on my record player, it sounds great. Very
cool to take out and show it off at partys.
My wife wants this thing out of the house,
and we could use the extra cash. The real one is in paul's safe. Paul made several of these 10'' as well as a few 7'' at 45rpm. I do not believe this is original. No reserve.

Photos taken by John Lowe in 1981

From "The Beatles Monthly Book" August 2000