The day John and Paul met at Abba’s

6th of July, 1957: The Quarry Men play at St Peter’s church field in Woolton, Liverpool. Photo: Geoff Rhind. Colourised by Sardjono.

Today is the 6th of July, the day most Beatles sites around the world are commemorating as “the day John met Paul”, back in 1957. And this morning on BBC Radio, Rod Davies of the Quarry Men was interviewed about the day’s events. Listen to his phone interview at 1:10:03 into this show, the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show. It will be available for 30 days only.

And yet, the two had actually met before. Mark Lewisohn brought to light in the first volume of his trilogy biography on the Beatles, “Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years” an earlier meeting between Lennon and McCartney, which happened the year before – outside the newsagents during the time Paul was a paperboy. Lewisohn found out that the newsagents were called Abba, but to pinpoint the exact location, Mark Ashworth and Peter Hodgson to the rescue. You can read that story in Ashworth’s superb blog There Are Places I Remember – The Beatles Liverpool Locations.

At the Woolton village fete, some audio of the Quarry Men’s afternoon concert inside Woolton village hall was recorded by an audience member, Bob Molyneux, on his portable Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. In 1994 Molyneux, then a retired policeman, rediscovered the tape, which contained scratchy recordings of the band performing Lonnie Donegan’s “Puttin’ On The Style” and Elvis Presley’s “Baby, Let’s Play House”. Purchased by EMI, the full tape has never been published, but these samples were released at the time of the auction.

EMI considered releasing the recording as part of the 1995/96 “Beatles Anthology” series, but even after the tape had been cleaned up in the studio, EMI decided that the sonic quality of the recordings were not up to the standard set for prospective “Anthology” album or TV material. This was confirmed by New York Times journalist Allan Kozinn, who described the sound quality of the restored version of the tapes as appalling. When asked about the recordings, Apple spokesman Derek Taylor said he didn’t even know what had become of the tape.

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