Line-ups 1956-1970

This page contains information on the key line-ups in The Beatles’ history.

Some of the dates are, by necessity, approximate. Additionally, some names which were only used for a very brief time – often a matter of days – have been excluded. These included The Silver Beatals, The Silver Beats, and Long John and the Silver Beetles.

The Les Stewart Quartet was a group George Harrison belonged to during 1959, during a time in which The Quarrymen found themselves without a drummer or a promising future.

A range of guest musicians appeared on The Beatles’ recordings over the years, but were never part of the core line-up. The group were also joined by Billy Preston during the sessions for Let It Be and Abbey Road in 1969; however, as they were billed as “The Beatles with Billy Preston”, it is apparent that the group remained just four people.

Also included are the 1964 dates during which Jimmie Nicol stood in for Ringo Starr, although he was never anything other than a temporary substitute.

Name
Dates
Members
The Black Jacks/The Quarrymen
Summer 1956
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Eric Griffiths: guitar
  • Rod Davis: banjo
  • Bill Smith: tea chest bass
  • Pete Shotton: washboard
The Quarrymen
March-April 1957
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Rod Davis: banjo
  • Ivan Vaughan/Nigel Whalley/Bill Smith: tea chest bass
  • Eric Griffiths: guitar
  • Pete Shotton: washboard
The Quarrymen
April-August 1957
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Rod Davis: banjo
  • Eric Griffiths: guitar
  • Len Garry: tea chest bass
  • Pete Shotton: washboard
  • Colin Hanton: drums
The Quarrymen
August-October 1957
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Rod Davis: banjo
  • Eric Griffiths: guitar
  • Len Garry: tea chest bass
  • Colin Hanton: drums
The Quarrymen
October 1957 – February 1958
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • Rod Davis: guitar
  • Eric Griffiths: guitar
  • Len Garry: tea chest bass
  • Colin Hanton: drums
The Quarrymen
February-March 1958
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar
  • Eric Griffiths: guitar
  • Len Garry: tea chest bass
  • Colin Hanton: drums
The Quarrymen
March-September 1958
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar
  • John Charles Lowe: piano
  • Colin Hanton: drums
The Quarrymen
September 1958 – January 1959
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar
  • Colin Hanton: drums
The Quarrymen
January-February 1959
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar
The Les Stewart Quartet
August-September 1959
  • Les Stewart: bass
  • George Harrison: guitar
  • Ken Brown: drums
The Quarrymen
September-October 1959
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Ken Brown: bass
Johnny And The Moondogs
October 1959 – January 1960
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Ken Brown: bass
The Beatals
January 1960 – May 1960
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Stuart Sutcliffe: bass
23-24 April 1960
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
The Silver Beetles
May-June 1960
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Stuart Sutcliffe: bass
  • Tommy Moore: drums
The Silver Beatles
July-August 1960
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Stuart Sutcliffe: bass
  • Norman Chapman: drums
The Beatles
12 August 1960 – December 1960
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Stuart Sutcliffe: bass
  • Pete Best: drums
The Beatles
December 1960
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Chas Newby: bass
  • Pete Best: drums
The Beatles
January 1961 – 15 August 1962
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Pete Best: drums
The Beatles
16-17 August 1962
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Johnny Hutchinson: drums, vocals
The Beatles
18 August 1962 – September 1969
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Ringo Starr: drums, vocals
The Beatles
3-13 June 1964
  • John Lennon: vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Jimmie Nicol: drums
The Beatles
September 1969 – April 1970
  • Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
  • George Harrison: guitar, vocals
  • Ringo Starr: drums, vocals
Related articles:

15 Responses to “Line-ups 1956-1970”

    • Joe

      I’m sure the biogs are trustworthy, as it’s the Quarrymen’s own site.

      Their earliest documented performance is 22 June 1957. However, the Quarrymen say there were several before then. As no firm dates exist we’ll have to take their word for it. They do, however, say the group formed in 1956 so I’ve adjusted the dates in this article accordingly.

      As nobody was really keeping notes at the time, a lot of this is relies on piecing together fragments of evidence to come up with a best interpretation. If better information comes to light I’ll gladly amend the details.

      Reply
  1. David

    Very interesting – I didn’t know there were quite so many short-lived line-ups.

    Just one minor quibble: I know you can’t list every instrument each Beatles played, but just as you’ve listed harmonica for John from a certain point, can you add the periods when piano was a major instrument for Paul in performance? Not only Lady Madonna/Hey Jude/Let It Be/Long and Winding Road, etc., but also the period in Hamburg when (apparently) he played piano a lot.

    Reply
  2. Phil Anderson

    So there was no Quarrymen between March 1959 and September 1959 ?
    This timeline implies that when George left the Quarrymen in February 1959 and joined the Les Stewart Quartet the Quarrymen became defunct.
    Otherwise you should have listed just John and Paul as the Quarrymen from March to September 1959. You did not.

    Reply
  3. Mathew

    Regarding the last entry … even though I know (from this site) that Lennon told the others in September 1969 that he was leaving, wasn’t he still actively involved with the Beatles? Okay not musically and creatively. But he got Phil Spector to work on the Let It Be. And wasn’t the band’s corporate partnership was actually fractured in 1970 by Paul’s solo album announcement and subsequent lawsuit against the other three to dissolve their partnership?

    Reply
  4. Olof

    In Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In, it seems that the line-up name Japage3 is used a lot during 1959. Maybe worth a mention in your list?
    Kind regards.

    Reply

Leave a reply