The original blue no back

Welcome to the Quarrymen’s Official Website

Were you originally called the Blackjacks? And if so – for how long?

Musical ensembles don’t start with a sudden Big Bang and emerge into the world fully formed with membership and band name intact.  They usually evolve over a period of time.  Acccording to Eric Griffiths the original idea of forming a skiffle group came from another Quarry Bank boy called George Lee, who for some reason never actually became part of the group. John Lennon decided in the summer of 1956 that he wanted to form a skiffle group – even though he had no musical experience or training – and he rounded up a handful of his closest school pals and simply said that we were now a skiffle group. Initially we had no name, and then in the very earliest days, a name was decided upon – and that initial name was indeed The Blackjacks.  However that name only lasted a short time and it was jettisoned - for reasons long forgotten - before any performances took place. In fact Rod Davis is the only Quarrymen who even remembers using the name Blackjacks.

The name The Quarrymen was decided upon and that is the name under which the group made its first public appearances.  Therefore the name the Blackjacks was, at most, just the provisional name of the Quarrymen.  There has been speculation that the Blackjacks name was dropped because we’d discovered that there was already a skiffle group of that name in Liverpool.  That was not the case.  In 1956/1957 we were not aware of any other group by that name.

By coincidence, in late 1959 Pete Best - the drummer who in August 1960 would become the drummer for the newly-named Beatles - started a group called the Blackjacks.  But it had no connection to our very fleeting use of that name which was three years earlier, in 1956.