Tuesday 1 December 2020

Brother Michael, Auntie Jin

147 Dinas Lane,
Huyton, Liverpool,
L36 2JZ

'John, Paul, George, and Dennis' (Mike McCartney)

‘I find lost photos and drawings all the time. This will be my definitive statement of a magic era.’ – Mike McCartney 

Genesis publications has today announced the April 2021 publication of Mike McCartney's Early Liverpool which brings together  all of his finest work including a wealth of previously unseen photographs and treasured drawings. Examples of both can be viewed on the Genesis website here.  

Most astonishing of all is this one, a second colour photograph of the Quarrymen on Saturday 8 March 1958.

The photos were taken in the rear parlour of 147 Dinas Road at the wedding reception for Ian Harris and his new bride Jackie. 

Ian was Paul McCartney's cousin, the son of Harry Harris and his wife Jinny, known the world over as 'Auntie Jin' after Paul namechecked her in his 1976 hit 'Let 'Em In'. 

(Left and above) Jin and Harry and Harry and Ian Harris.

As Ian was 19 and Jackie only 16 they naturally wanted some musical entertainment at the reception suitable for their own age group. Ian asked cousin Paul and his mates to provide it. While it's highly unlikely that drummer Colin Hanton would have attended - he's certainly never mentioned it - it has been suggested in some books that on the original, uncropped version of the first colour photo the headstock of an acoustic  guitar is visible to the extreme left of George leading some experts and historians to ponder who it might be, and reasoning that at the time the photo was taken the Quarry Men's other guitarist, Eric Griffiths, had already left the band.

Personally I'm not convinced it is another guitar. Would Mike have deliberately excluded a member of the group when framing his photograph, or twice if you count the new one?

I suspect the group on this day were just the core members, John, Paul and George. If it had been a year later the trio would have been using the name the Japage 3, but for now they were still the Quarry Men.

There are arguments that this may have been George's first 'public' appearance, only 11 days after his 15th birthday. He may not have been in the group for very long but with a guitar which is a clearly superior instrument to those held by his bandmates he already looks very much like the star musician, despite looking about ten years younger than his companions*.

The well known photograph outside his home at 25 Upton Green may well have been taken on this same Saturday, his proud Mum capturing him setting off for his first 'booking'.        

Earlier this year we were thrilled when the previously unseen photo of John, Paul and George at the Casbah surfaced. The release of McCartney's super-deluxe version of the 'Flaming Pie' album included a hitherto unknown image of  Paul, George and Ivan Vaughan in the accompanying book which delighted Beatles scholars and historians.

And now, at the end of what has been a pretty miserable year in nearly every other aspect we suddenly have another Quarry Men-era photograph, in colour (!) thanks to Mike McCartney, whose 14 year old self was on hand to capture the moment with the family camera and share it with us 62 years later. 

Incidentally, the fourth person in the top photo is Dennis Littler, a friend of Ian Harris. When asked about the wedding in later years he admitted he didn't remember much about the day, perhaps because of the Guinness which was flowing freely. This being a Liverpool knees up there was plenty of drink on hand. Certainly John Lennon's rosy cheeks indicate that he was well on his way to being 'bevvied' by the time Mike photographed him. 

Mike McCartney and Dennis Littler in 2012

Forty two years later Paul played a hands-on role in another Harris family wedding, as reported in the Daily Mail:

You can usually find one at most family weddings. 

The jolly older relative who seems to pop up everywhere, keeps things running smoothly - and leaves bemused guests wondering whether he belongs to the bride or groom. But there was no mistaking the identity of this well-wisher at a wedding in Merseyside last week.

Sir Paul McCartney was determined to help his second cousin Sally's register office do go off without a hitch. On the way he had a starring role as chauffeur, photographer, and not surprisingly, even chipped in with some entertainment.

Paul - The ChauffeurIn a grey suit and trainers, the former Beatle was accompanied by his girlfriend Heather Mills for a family day to remember.

First on his list of responsibilities was hiring a black Jaguar to ferry his cousin from her home to the wedding and later, with her groom Kevin Murphy, to the reception at her father's home nearby. Sir Paul is said to have taken it through an automatic car wash before the ceremony. Because it was the first time he had used one, he had to wait for the attendant to show him what to do

Then during the ceremony, there was the traditional duty of making some sort of noise at the vital moment. "When it came to the part about knowing any reason why they should not be married, Paul began clearing his throat as if he was going to say something" said the bride's father, Ian Harris. "Sally's heart was in her mouth and Paul had a big grin on his face."

After that, Sir Paul and Miss Mills joined the throng outside Wallasey Town Hall to congratulate the newlyweds. He snapped away with a camera he had snatched off his brother.

Paul - The PhotographerLater, Mike McCartney said with "our kid" as chauffeur the day had been a "total family affair".

"Paul hired a nice car for the day and decorated it with wedding flowers," he said. "I did complain that he did not have a chauffeur's cap, though. At least he kept his fun sense of dress with a pair of pumps like those he wore to my wedding 18 years ago."

At the reception, Sir Paul was centre stage again, grabbing a guitar for a rendition of "Fly Me To The Moon". Miss Mills, a former model, displayed another of her talents, accompanying him on saxophone. 

Paul - The Entertainer
Despite such a hectic schedule, there was time for a little romance as well. Immediately after the wedding Sir Paul was spotted kissing Miss Mills as they stood on the register office stairs.
"It was a nice kiss - pretty passionate," said an onlooker. "He seems very fond of her and they seem to be in love. Weddings bring out the romantic in people."

(Daily Mail, 26 July 2000, by Kate Hurry)

Mike McCartney's Early Liverpool

In a commentary that is honest, revealing and often humorous, McCartney describes growing up in a post-war Liverpool and the cultural sensation that followed. McCartney shares his love of satire, poetry and music, and his experience of being there to photograph the talent that came out of Liverpool, including his own group, the Scaffold. From The Beatles to the Fourmost, and from the Roadrunners to Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, McCartney captured the local bands as well as Liverpool's poets and artists, including Adrian Henri, Sam Walsh and Maurice Cockrill, RA. 

In Mike McCartney's Early Liverpool the incredible visiting acts that Liverpool welcomed are also celebrated, including Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Long John Baldry. With each photograph, McCartney gives a fascinating insight into the history of the vibrant city.



Collector Copies are numbered 351 to 2,000, signed by Mike McCartney and include a stamped 8"x10" (200mm x 254mm) print.

Mike McCartney's Early Liverpool is limited to only 2,000 copies worldwide, each signed by Mike McCartney.

Quarter bound in black cloth, the Collector cover features an original stencil by McCartney, created for a poster advertising an early Beatles gig at the Casbah, rendered in gold foil blocking. The Collector copies also include a double-sided 8"x10" print (200mm x 254mm). On the front, a Kodachrome colour photograph captures John, Paul and George playing as the Quarrymen at a McCartney family celebration in 1958. A friend of the family, Dennis Littler, appears at the right of the frame. On the reverse, Mike McCartney is pictured with Dennis more than 50 years later, in 2012. The print is numbered, stamped, and is suitable for framing.

The Collector copies are housed in an archival slipcase screen-printed with a montage of photographs and original artwork.



Deluxe Copies are numbered 1 to 350, signed by Mike McCartney and include three signed 8"x10" prints (200mm x 254mm).

Mike McCartney's Early Liverpool is limited to only 2,000 copies worldwide, each signed by Mike McCartney. The first 350 copies are Deluxe copies.

Fully bound in cloth with an original inset stencil, the Deluxe copies include three signed and numbered 8"x10" prints (200mm x 254mm), suitable for framing.

The Deluxe copies are housed in a cloth-bound solander case with original artwork by Mike McCartney in gold foil blocking.

More details here 

All photos by Mike McCartney except George at Upton Green (c) Harrison family, the photo of 147 Dinas Lane by Ged Fagan and the two B&W photos of the Harris family which came to me via Peter Hodgson. 

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic that pictures like this and the Casbah one keep turning up, great read as usual Mark!