The original blue no back

Welcome to the Quarrymen’s Official Website

Is the group name the QUARRYMEN (one word)?  Or is it the QUARRY MEN (two words)?

Our name was inspired by a reference in the lyric in the official song of the school (Quarry Bank Grammar School) that the five original band members attended.

The lyric includes this couplet that contains “Quarrymen” clearly spelled as one word:

      “Quarrymen old before our birth

                     Straining each muscle and sinew…”

According to band founder-member Pete Shotton, his pal John Lennon’s droll reaction to the school song was that he wasn’t going to strain a muscle or even a sinew if he could possibly help it!  So naming the group after a word in the school song was a tongue-in-cheek reference to what some of the members felt was pompous doggerel.

The band members therefore regarded their band name as being one word – but it certainly wasn’t a crucial matter in 1956!

The occasional spelling of the name with “Quarrymen” split into two words as “Quarry Men” that people see in Beatles history books probably arose because of a number of factors.

Adults who put together the event programme for our appearance at the St. Peter’s Village Church Garden Fete in Woolton on Saturday 6th July 1957 – and the journalist who reported the event for the local newspaper – were all more familiar with the name of the school (“Quarry Bank” – two words) than an unusual word in an obscure school song (“Quarrymen” – one word) so it was understandable that they might assume that the word “Quarrymen” had been mistakenly written as one word. 

Our drummer Colin Hanton wanted to write the band name across the front of his bass drum.  But there was insufficient space to write it as one word across the circumference of the drum – so he staggered the name in two words at diagonal angles.  And vintage photographs of that drumhead have been erroneously cited by some as evidence for the name being split in two words.

Tea-chest bass player Len Garry also wanted to display the band name on his instrument – and like Colin Hanton he found that he had insufficient space on which to write the name as one word.  So the band name on the tea-chest bass was also broken in two - which compounded the assumption some drew from the name on the bass drum.

A friend of John’s called Nigel Walley – who played tea-chest bass a couple of times and then became the group’s manager – had some business cards printed up to try and help secure some “engagements” for the group.  On the card, the printer compounded the same error made by the adults who prepared the flyers for the July 1957 event and spelled the name in two words. However, Nigel was not a pupil at Quarry Bank school (he went to the Bluecoat School in Liverpool) and was thus not familiar with the Quarry Bank school song and how it had inspired the single-word “Quarrymen” band name.

For what it’s worth, all of us Quarrymen prefer our name spelled as intended – in one word.