The Quarry Men
Sometime 1958-1959
location unknown
presumably Liverpool
Photographer: unknown (Mike McCartney?)

This photo first surfaced in late 2006 on Paul McCartney's concert DVD The Space Within Us. It can be presumed the photo is from Paul's personal archive with a good possibility that it was taken by his brother Mike. However, the DVD provided no definitive date or info. Thus, for researchers, the precise dating of this photo is very vague.

I asked Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn what he thought. He replied that he was, in fact, researching the same thing. The only thing he had were the conclusions I had already come to...

George joined in Feb. 1958 and, according to Andy Babiuk (Beatles Gear), George had the President before joining The Quarry Men. John purchased a Hofner Club 40 in August 1959. The photo HAS to date between that time.

At some point 1958-59, John no longer had his Galloton and performed for some time without a guitar. In the photo from 20 December 1958 at George's brother's wedding, John is seen without his Galloton. However, I almost have to think that doesn't indicate that he didn't have it. I can't see John going from Dec 1958 to August 1959 without some sort of guitar. I have found no specific dates but I would suspect he had the guitar well into 1959.

In Hunter Davies' The Beatles Authorized Biography (page 63), in the chapter "From Quarrymen To Moondogs", Davies writes,
"For their public performances, they were usually all dressed like Teddy-boy cowboys, with black-and-white cowboy shirts with white tassels from the top pockets and bootlace ties."

However, there is no clear date indication other than it was after George joined. In the surrounding text, Duff Lowe is mentioned as well as the band entering in skiffle competitions and that John was still at art college. So, we're still at 1958-59 in general. Still nothing to narrow that date down.


It has been suggested that the fourth fellow is the photo is one-time Quarry
Men member, the late Eric Griffiths and, indeed, he does look similar to Eric.
However, as is implied in Hunter Davies' The Quarrymen, he was ousted
from the group shortly after George joined if not almost immediately. And it
appears as though he severed contact as well.

I asked former Quarry Men member, Rod Davis, what info he might be able to provide. His reply was...

"Several people have already emailed me and asked me if I know who this is. I'm afraid I have no idea who it is. I'm sure it's not Eric, I knew him pretty well and this guy's ears are the wrong shape for Eric's for a start.

Regarding the cowboy shirts, you could be right, but it was after my time so I can't offer an authoritative opinion."

Recently, Mark Lewisohn informed me he has learned the fourth fellow in the photo is Arthur Kelly who, along with George's brother Pete, had been in George's previous band The Rebels in 1957. He is probably the same person
seen in the photo with George on this page.


In a thread on the Beat Gear Cavern forum board, U.S. Beatles
expert/collector, Larry Wassgren, offered the following info and theories.

"It's likely we'll never know the date but I would think it would be before he went 'guitarless'. If he still kept the Gallotone at Mendips it is never mentioned or seen in any photos again. It's certainly not the one in Boston. In the December 1964 Beat Instrumental magazine John says:

'I was about fourteen when I got my first guitar. It was a beat-up old Spanish model which cost about ten quid. It was advertised in 'Reveille' Magazine as 'guaranteed not to split!' After a few months of chord-learning I decided to buy a model which I think was a 'Martin Colletti'. But, a short time later both George and I saw a Hofner Club 40 and we both thought it was the end.'

"John says he bought a beat-up old Spanish model but it was actually new when he bought it. Maybe he's remembering beating it up and trashing it!? If he had been looking at the Gallotone in Mendips wouldn't he remember it was a Gallotone? Because he can only remember it was 'guaranteed not to split' tells me the guitar had been gone since more than likely 1958."

"If he replaced it with a Martin Colletti that guitar would be a little better quality than the Gallotone but not much. I believe Paul's second guitar was a Martin Colletti and it's likely John gave/sold Paul that guitar after he 'relieved' somebody of their Dallas Tuxedo in Manchester at the Carol Levy's Competition. The Dallas guitar is real as I was there when Ernie Burkey tried to give it to me in Lennon's bedroom. He was using that room for storage and put the Tuxedo guitar there after workers found it and the banjo magazines in the loft. This was in 1996 and there was 35 years worth of grime on that guitar! Lennon couldn't take this guitar out and pestered Mimi until she finally gave in and put a down payment on his Hofner Club 40 at Hessy's. That's the way I see it, can anybody prove me wrong?"

(Further details about the Dallas Tuxedo guitar can be read - here)

"In Julia Baird's (John Lennon's sister) new book, Imagine This (page 113)
she says:

'We were at Garston market one day when my mother was drawn to one such rowdy auction. They were selling 'the best geniune cowboy shirts outside America'. We stopped and edged our way into the crowd. Mistake. Unless my mother meant it. The runner was there in a trice with several folded coloured check shirts. The game was on. I stood and gaped as Mummy bought not one, not two, but three of these shirts. You can see the boys wearing them in both the Rosebury Street and the Woolton fete photographs. Quarry Men cowboys. John loved those shirts'.

"She was remembering wrong. The checked shirt was worn at the fete and Rosebury Street. Now with this new photo surfacing I would imagine she'd rewrite that. I did e-mail her the link to this new Quarrymen photo as I knew she'd love to see those shirts!"