Tuesday, 6 January 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEN GARRY


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 the four surviving original members of the Quarrymen reunited to perform at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the garden fete performance at which Lennon and McCartney met for the first time. The band decided to continue playing, and since 1998 have performed in many countries throughout the world. Griffiths died in 2005, and Shotton retired due to ill-health. As of 2014, three original members are still actively performing as the Quarrymen.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Len,
    I am pleased to read of how you are and that you are still activly involved in music.
    You have certainly had an interesting life.
    I'm glad you and Sue have had a family and are once again settled in Liverpool.
    You'll remember me from the "Peeps"
    Regards,
    Ron Flynn

    ReplyDelete

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