Len played tea-chest bass with the Quarrymen from 1956 until 1958 and he now plays guitar and has been lead vocalist with the revived Quarrymen since 1997.
“I was born in Liverpool on 6 January 1942, in Lance Lane in Wavertree. My father, Henry, was a compositor at the Liverpool Daily Post, was married to Phyllis and they had another son, Walter, who was three years older than me. I attended Mosspits Lane Primary School, which also counted Pete Shotton and Nigel Walley amongst its pupils, but as they were a year ahead of me, I did not get to know them. John Lennon himself also spent a short time at Mosspits!
Under my mother's influence, I learned the piano at an early age, but after mastering the Blue Danube - gave up!!
In 1953 I went to the Liverpool Institute High School, where I became a close friend of Ivan Vaughan, where we both shared a zany sense of humour. It was here I got to know Paul McCartney, who was a fellow member of my German class. In 1955 I finally met John Lennon when Ivan Vaughan invited him to Woolton, where I bumped into Lennon, Shotton, Ivan and Nigel walking along Vale Road. I soon became "one of the gang" who would hang around Calderstones Park. In 1956 a lad called George Lee, a friend of Eric Griffiths and John Lennon at Quarry Bank School, suggested to John that he form his own group. This was at the height of the skiffle craze, and sure enough in the autumn of 1956 the band that was to become the Quarrymen took shape, with another Quarry Bank lad called Bill Smith on tea chest bass. Bill however, never turned up for practices and so I soon stepped into his shoes and became a permanent member of the band, staying with the group until August 1958 when I fell seriously ill with tubercular meningitis, spending some 7 months in hospital.
Some of my notable appearances with the Quarrymen included our first ever booking at the "Cavern" in early 1957, on the back of the lorry at Rosebery Street, and probably our best known gig at the St. Peter's Church Rose Queen on 5 July 1957, the day Ivan Vaughan brought his friend Paul McCartney to hear John Lennon's band!
I eventually became articled to a firm of architects in Liverpool and married. In 1971 our family left Liverpool and went to live in Chard, Somerset, where I became lead vocalist in a rock gospel musical called "Come Together", originally started in America by Pat Boone, which toured the south west of England. My two daughters were born during our time in the south-west.
In 1987, my wife Sue, the girls and myself emigrated to New Zealand but couldn't settle, so we moved back to England a few months later and eventually settled in Liverpool, where we still live.
In 1992 I linked up with John Duff Lowe and Rod Davis to do some recording, with me singing vocal lead on most of the numbers, but unfortunately the tapes from this session were never published.
In 1997 I met the rest of the Quarrymen at the 40th birthday party of the "Cavern" which led to the recreation of the day forty years before in Woolton when John Lennon met Paul McCartney! I am now enjoying singing and playing with my old mates and have written a fascinating account of my early days in Liverpool entitled "John, Paul and me, - before the Beatles". See also Hunter Davies’ biography of the Quarrymen.”
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her.
History notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. Many people came in and out of the band's circle as they grew to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the Beatles' devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there as history unfolded; she was witness to the evolution – advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges – of the greatest band in history.
In Good Ol' Freda, Freda tells her stories for the first time in 50 years. One of few documentaries with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the world of music.
"The hour we spent with Len and Colin (original Quarrymen) is one of the most profound and moving experiences we've ever had"
Colin played drums with the Quarrymen from 1956 until 1959, appearing with John, Paul and George and he has been playing with the revived Quarrymen since 1997. For Colin’s full story see Hunter Davies’ biography of the Quarrymen.
“I was born in Walton Hospital on 12 December 1938 and lived in Bootle during the war years. The family moved to Woolton in 1946 when I was about seven or eight, together with my elder brother, Brian. This was where I first got to know Rod Davis, who lived in a nearby street and used to come and play football with the lads in my road.
My sister Jacqueline was born in Woolton and then a not long after my mother went into hospital with tuberculosis where she eventually died. Meanwhile we had gone to live in Bootle with my grandparents.
Some years later my father remarried and we went back to live in Woolton again, where I went to St. Mary's School and then on to Horrocks Avenue Senior School.
When I left school I decided I wanted to be a carpenter and the careers master sent me off to a furniture company called Guy Rogers in Speke where I after a time I became an apprentice upholsterer.
I was very interested in jazz and played along to records with drumsticks but no drums. At last I got my mum and dad's permission to buy some on hire purchase from Frank Hessy's Music Shop in Liverpool, a set of white Broadway drums which I still own, in fact I used them on the Quarrymen’s cd and now they are on exhibition in the Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool!
It was very unusual for anyone to have a set of drums at all in those days and of course the attraction of skiffle music was that you didn't need expensive instruments. I used to meet Eric Griffiths on the bus going to work and when I told him I had drumkit he asked me to join the Quarrymen.
My first meeting with the rest of the Quarrymen was at Eric Griffith's house in Woolton in 1956. With the Quarrymen we played at Childwall Golf Club, St. Peter's Youth Club, Carroll Levis Discoveries at the Liverpool Empire, the Cavern and the Wilson Hall, Garston amongst others.
One by one the other original members of the Quarrymen dropped out or were replaced and I found myself as the drummer playing with John, Paul and George. In 1958 we made a record, John, Paul, George, John Duff Lowe on piano and myself on drums - the famous recording of "In spite of all the danger" and That'll be the day" which appeared on the Anthology.
I left the Quarrymen after playing a booking at LCPT Club in Norris Green. We had drunk a few beers during the interval and an argument started on the way home on the bus. I got off to catch another bus to take me home to Woolton and somehow or other that was that, they never contacted me again to ask me to play. I saw John a few times and he told me that they had got a drummer called Pete, which must have been Pete Best. After that I lost touch completely. I put my drums away and never played them until we got together to practise for the 40th Anniversary at St. Peter's in 1995!
I married my wife Joan in 1965 and we have two daughters, Christine, who lives in Glasgow with Craig, and Allison, who lives in Liverpool with Gary.
I continued working for Guy Rogers until the company closed down in 1979 when I started up my own upholstery business which I still run.
I live in Liverpool near Penny Lane and it amuses me when I see the Magical Mystery Tour Bus go by and I wonder what they would think if they knew they have just passed one of John's Original Quarrymen!”