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Was Stuart Sutcliffe ever a member of the Quarrymen?
The Quarrymen had active periods and fallow times. From 1956 till late 1958 – the group was quite active. By 1959 things had become quieter and the gigs had dwindled. The lineup was now just the nucleus of John, Paul and George – and they had shifted the group away from its skiffle beginnings towards rock ‘n’ roll.
Stuart Sutcliffe had became a friend of John when they met at the Liverpool College of Art in late 1957. In early 1960, John decided to recruit his pal Stuart into the almost dormant Quarrymen as the bass player. He persuaded his friend to apply some prize money he had just received for a painting towards the purchase of an electric bass – a comparatively new instrument at that time but already a prerequisite for a rock ‘n’ roll group. Stuart’s protestations that he had no idea how to play the instrument fell on deaf ears! John wanted his pal to be in the group.
Simultaneously with recruiting Stuart, the group started on the process of changing its name. John had decided that the Quarrymen name had outlived its usefulness and they needed a fresh name. As history records, the group tried out several names in the early part of 1960, including “Johnny & The Moondogs” and “The Silver Beetles” before finally settling on “The Beatles” in August 1960.
Technically Stuart Sutcliffe joined the group while it was still called The Quarrymen. But his first public appearance was at a rehearsal in April 1960 when John Lennon is recorded as publicly announcing that the group had changed its name and would henceforth be known as “The Silver Beetles”. So we consider Stu Sutcliffe an honorary Quarrymen – and a full member of what was rapidly becoming The Beatles.