Paul McCartney saw skiffle king Lonnie Donegan perform at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre on 11 November 1956.
The concert inspired McCartney to start playing the guitar. Shortly afterwards he traded the trumpet he had received four months previously on his 14th birthday for a guitar.
It was just after my mother’s death that it started. It became an obsession. It took over his whole life. It just came along at that time and became an escape.
The guitar was a natural finish flat top acoustic model of an unknown make. It was a beginner’s instrument with 18 frets, only 12 of which were clear of the body. By the following year he had moved on to a Zenith guitar which he played until 1960.
Also on this day...
- 2013: Paul McCartney live at Kyocera Dome, Osaka, Japan
- 2012: Paul McCartney live at Scottrade Center, St Louis
- 2010: Paul McCartney live at River Plate Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- 1968: George Harrison produces Is This What You Want? by Jackie Lomax
- 1968: US album release: Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
- 1965: Recording, mixing: The Word, You Won’t See Me, Girl, Wait, I’m Looking Through You
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.