Although it's receiving far less fanfare than another recent anniversary (in the States anyway), one of the most pivotal events in music history -- some would say the spark that ignited the last 45 years of popular culture -- happened 50 years ago today, on July 6, 1957. That was the day that 15-year old Paul McCartney attended a summer garden fete at St. Peter's Church in Woolton, Liverpool, where he saw a ragged performance by a group of teenaged skiffle musicians called The Quarrymen. The leader of that band, to whom Paul was introduced later in the day, was 16-year-old John Lennon. In a brief chat before the evening set, Paul showed John how he tuned his guitar, and accompanied himself on some Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Little Richard tunes. Within 3 months, The Quarrymen had a new, left-handed guitar player, and the rest, as they say . . .
Of course this is all a much bigger deal in the U.K., and on June 26, the BBC broadcast a really nice hour-long special on this momentous anniversary, The Day John Met Paul, featuring interviews with Sir Paul, Cynthia Lennon, little brother Mike McCartney and original members of The Quarrymen, as well as -- get this -- a brief recording made on the fateful day. Charged, as I am, with bringing BBC goodness to deprived music geeks across the pond, I just had to snag a copy for the TTT faithful. Listen, learn, and think about how perfectly the planets had to be aligned, not just for these two young scruffs to meet 50 years ago today, but for them even to be alive at the same time, and in the same little part of the world. In my book, it's one of the miracles of history.
THE DAY JOHN MET PAUL - BBC special broadcast on June 26, 2007