McCartney Times

My Turn: Edward Achorn: The Beatles were just my mates

My Turn: Edward Achorn: The Beatles were just my mates

My Turn: Edward Achorn: The Beatles were just my mates
December 20
08:58 2017

Fifty years after the Beatles were at their zenith, I finally made a pilgrimage this year to the places sacred to their story. The crossing on Abbey Road in London. The childhood homes in Liverpool. Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.I loved it all, but the highlight of my visit to dank, misty Liverpool was surely meeting Colin Hanton, a gentlemanly but tart 79-year-old upholsterer who, six decades ago, played drums for the Quarrymen, the pre-Beatles band that included John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.He was a treat, not only for what he imparted about his teenage friends, but for what he conveyed about the city that shaped them.Like many Liverpudlians, Mr. Hanton is funny and self-effacing, deeply proud of his roots yet profoundly unimpressed with life’s ephemera. Though he was smack in the middle of the Beatles’ formative experiences, he seemed peculiarly indifferent to their celebrity.“I never bought a Beatles album in my life,” he said — not even the best-selling “Anthology 1,” on which he plays. He loved their music, “but it’s weird you see, because they weren’t Beatles to me, they were just the lads. My mates. I wasn’t going to buy their records, was I?”We rode over to Ringo Starr’s boarded-up birthplace at 9 Madryn St., in the poor Dingle section.One street over, abandoned terrace houses on both sides had been painted a grimy black for the TV series “Peaky Blinders.” Mr. Hanton, with a burst of Liverpudlian pride, denied it would have looked like that a century ago. “All those steps would have been scrubbed on a daily basis,” he insisted.The Beatles grew up in a Liverpool that had been pounded by Hitler’s Luftwaffe, leaving craters and smashed buildings. Here, the concept of a teenager took root — the idea that kids deserve to have fun.“My dad was a copy of his dad. Come 14, you put a suit on and went to work. There was no such thing as a teenager,” Mr. Hanton said. But after the war, “perhaps even the adults had had enough of authority. They had six years of a sergeant major screaming at them. I think they relaxed slightly.”Colin invested his money as a teen in two pairs of socks — fluorescent pink and fluorescent lime green — and a drum kit. A friend invited him to join a group he and John Lennon had formed.

Source: My Turn: Edward Achorn: The Beatles were just my mates

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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