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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Puttin’ On The Style” (The Quarrymen)

Posted by on October 19, 2007 at 6:14 am.

It’s that time of the week again. Happy Friday.

This week’s BROW is not a very good quality recording. In fact, it’s not even complete. The playing is not very good on it either. So what gives it the worthiness to be this week’s BROW? Well, it’s a piece of history, that’s why.

Last week’s BROW went back very early to a Beatles recording from the BBC made even before The Beatles met producer George Martin. This week goes back even earlier, when the name of the band was The Quarrymen.

When this recording was made on July 6, 1957, John Lennon was 16 years old and Paul McCartney was not yet in his band. In fact John and Paul were only to meet later that same day since Paul happened to be in the audience at The Woolton Garden Fete where this song fragment was taped.

The song The Quarrymen are playing was a British number 1 at the time called “Puttin’ On The Style” by skiffle artist Lonnie Donnegan (1931-2002). John Lennon is singing (his vocals are unmistakable) and playing guitar with Pete Shotten (washboard), Eric Griffiths (guitar), Len Garry (bass), Rodney Davis (banjo) and Colin Hanton (drums).

I believe this is the earliest known recording by what was to become The Beatles. Isn’t it great that someone happened to have a tape recorder going?

The Quarry Men - Puttin' On The Style
The Quarry Men

The Quarry Men

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  • But for Lennon’s nasal tone poking outta the mush…..this just barely makes it as interesting noise.

  • Happy Nat says:

    lol…yep there was apparently some crappy tape recorders back then

  • carol says:

    This is of very historical importance!

  • Jack says:

    Quality? Tape? Mic? Audience?

    The quality is better than other “Beatle Boots” I’ve heard – small tape hiss, no 50 Hz buzz, not overloaded or distorted – listen on mind iso to John’s voice.

    Having made many recordings in similar situations, it sounds like a single mic at 3 3/4ips, mag tape, half track mono. Inexpensive dynamic or more probably a “crystal” mic. 50 people close to the band maybe. Mic at 25-35 feet -probably an omni pattern. From the photos they had a PA (Tannoy as Paul says?) and amps, but it looks like Lennon is playing acoustic.

    Historical reference only, please. They actually sound like they’re tearin’ it up – well, John does anyway. The voice is unmistakable and the energy.

    Compare to That’ll be the Day by John and Paul on the Anthology -mics up close, but very poor sound – and that in a “home studio”.

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