A rare photograph of the trio who evolved into the Beatles has emerged on the 50th anniversary of Paul McCartney announcing he was leaving the group.
The previously unpublished photo of The Quarrymen shows McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison thrashing their guitars in a Liverpool house a year before they morphed into The Beatles.
The image was uncovered in a purchase by music memorabilia specialists Tracks Ltd but it is unclear who captured the moment on camera and when exactly – although it is thought to be dated towards the latter part of 1959.
Lennon formed the skiffle and rock ‘n’ roll group in 1956 which played at parties and school dances before McCartney and Harrison later joined up.
Tracks director Paul Wane said: “Having seen thousands upon thousands of Beatles photos in my career, I was amazed to stumble quite randomly upon this shot of the Quarrymen amongst a collection of photos that I bought recently.”
Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn said: “It’s late 1959, somewhere in Liverpool, and history shines in every dimly-lit detail. Schoolboys Paul McCartney and George Harrison, 17 and 16, are rock and rolling together with art-school student John Lennon, 19.
“John, Paul and George were a trio for much of 1958–59. ‘The rhythm’s in the guitars’, they’d audaciously tell promoters who wondered where their drummer was.
“Within a year of this moment the Quarrymen had become The Beatles, professional musicians playing long hours in Hamburg. Four years from here they’d have attained the inconceivable level of fame and popularity that joyously maintains to this day – out from this Liverpool room and across the universe.
“There are few Quarrymen photos and a discovery such as this is extremely rare. Precise information of where and when it was taken would be welcomed by collectors and historians alike.”
The date of April 10 1970 was a sad day in the lives of many music fans as the headline “Paul Is Quitting The Beatles” appeared in the Daily Mirror.
McCartney had sent out a press statement to promote his new solo album in which when asked if the break was temporary or permanent, he replied: “I don’t really know.”
He added he could not foresee a time when the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership would become active again.
In 1974 the career of the most successful group in the history of popular music was legally and formally terminated.