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The first song John Lennon ever wrote


Although John Lennon started making music when he was 15, after his mother bought him his first guitar, and he soon formed his first group, The Quarrymen, it took him another year before he finally jumped two feet into the world of songwriting.

The Quarrymen were formed towards the back-end of 1956 after Lennon decided he wanted to play in a skiffle group. However, they had no initial ambitions to write their own material and were content with covering other artists.

Once Paul McCartney joined the band the following year, things started to click into place, but they still didn’t have any original songs. Finally, this changed towards the end of 1957 as their writing partnership began to develop. While it was yet to flourish, progress was being made at breakneck speed.

Both McCartney and Lennon wrote their first songs individually around the same time, with the latter penning, ‘Hello Little Girl’, which went through a series of iterations before finally coming to light in 1995 as part of Anthology 1 by The Beatles.

Lennon wasn’t born with a gift from the songwriting heavens, and it took him years of working on his craft before the singer started to reap the rewards for the countless hours of dedication that he put into bettering his talent.

The track was one of the two initial efforts they recorded for their failed audition for Decca in 1962. However, it did impress George Martin, who signed The Fab Four to EMI, and gave it away to The Fourmost and Gerry & The Pacemakers, who released their version in 1963.

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Reflecting on ‘Hold Little Girl’ with David Sheff in 1980, Lennon said: “That was me. That was actually my first song. [Singing] ‘When I see you every day I say mmm hmm, hello little girl.’ I remember some Thirties or Forties song which was [singing] ‘You’re delightful, you’re delicious and da da da. Isn’t it a pity that you are such a scatterbrain.'”

He continued: “[Laughing] That always fascinated me for some reason or another. It’s also connected to my mother. It’s all very Freudian. She used to sing that one. So I made ‘Hello Little Girl’ out of it.”

Writing ‘Hello Little Girl’ was part of Lennon’s learning curve as a rookie, and McCartney later admitted he was more than happy to give the track away rather than recording it with The Fab Four. McCartney told Barry Miles: “Unfortunately the words aren’t too wonderful. They’re a bit average, but the Fourmost were eager to have a hit and they were very good friends of ours. They were more of a comedy group, a really very funny cabaret act, and when it came to making a record and being serious on a TV show, they always laughed and giggled.”

He added: “They were always having such a laugh, it was very difficult for them. They just weren’t the kind of guys who were going to get a major hit. I tried a few times.”

‘Hello Little Girl’ is a reminder that having a strong work ethic and resilience is the key to excelling at anything. Even John Lennon wasn’t immediately a songwriting polymath, but that slowly changed with every song that poured out of his pen.