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(Credit: VARA)

Music

Listen to the historic first recording by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison

The Beatles have such a solid and far-reaching cultural grasp; are so immortally burned into the public cultural consciousness, that sometimes it is hard to remember that they had such simple and humble beginnings. Other times it is hard even to imagine that they had a beginning at all, rather than simply appearing one day fully formed with swathes of Beatles-mad fans along with them.

The Beatles’ origin story goes something like this. In November 1956, a young 16-year-old lad from Liverpool named John Lennon formed a skiffle group with some of his mates from Quarry Bank High School. They decided upon the name the Quarrymen. On July 6th, 1957, another young Liverpool lad, Paul McCartney met Lennon and soon joined the Quarrymen as rhythm guitarist.

Early the following year, in February 1958, McCartney invited his friend George Harrison to come and watch the band. The fifteen-year-old Harrison soon auditioned for the band, and though Lennon was impressed with his guitar skills, he felt he was too young. But Harrison persisted, and after performing a complex lead guitar piece on the top deck of a bus, the Quarrymen hired him as their lead guitarist.

After a few personnel and name changes, the Quarrymen soon became known as the Beatles. A string of UK dates and a residency in Hamburg, Germany followed, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Beatles went on to become arguably the most recognised rock band in the world and remain so today. They are the top-selling music act of all time, selling an estimated 600 million units worldwide and holding the record for most number one albums in the UK albums chart (they had 15).

It was during the original Quarrymen days though, that the friendships (that would ultimately one day be strained and lead to the end of the Beatles as a group) were formed. No one could have known that Lennon and McCartney’s meeting that fateful day at a church fete in Liverpool would contribute to the most significant musical craze the world has ever seen.

In fantastic rare footage, we can listen to the first-ever recording of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison playing together. The event occurred in July 1958, just a year after Lennon and McCartney first met. The new-look Quarryman (with Harrison) stood around in a house somewhere in Liverpool together with their guitars in hand, recording what was to be their first original song laid down on track. It was called ‘In Spite of All the Danger’. Fittingly, Paul McCartney played the song during this year’s headline Glastonbury set, having played it at his other live shows for some time now.

The track is credited to McCartney and Harrison, though sung by Lennon. McCartney has previously gone on record to say, “It says on the label that it was me and George,” said McCartney, “but I think it was actually written by me, and George played the guitar solo!”

Take a listen to the recording below, which serves as one of the most truly commemorative moments in music history.