Daily Beatle Break

Your Daily Beatle Break


That’ll Be The Day

Written by: Allison-Holly-Petty
Recorded: 12 July 1958
Engineer: Percy F Phillips

Released: 21 November 1995

John Lennon: vocals, guitar
Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, guitar
George Harrison: guitar
John 'Duff' Lowe: piano
Colin Hanton: drums

Available on:
Anthology 1

This cover version of Buddy Holly's classic song was recorded by the Quarrymen in 1958. A single 78rpm disc was pressed, making it the very first recording to feature John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

The first thing we ever recorded was That'll Be The Day, a Buddy Holly song, and one of Paul's called In Spite Of All The Danger.

John Lennon, 1974

The Quarrymen's first recording was made in the summer of 1958. A Liverpudlian man, Percy F Phillips, had a small studio in the living room of his Victorian terraced house. According to the studio log book, the budding musicians taped their performances for a fee of 17 shillings and three pence.

I remember we all went down on the bus with our instruments – amps and guitars – and the drummer went separately. We waited in the little waiting room outside while somebody else made their demo and then it was our turn. We just went in the room, hardly saw the fella because he was next door in a little control booth. 'OK, what are you going to do?' We ran through it very quickly, quarter of an hour, and it was all over.

Paul McCartney
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The studio was known as Phillips Sound Recording Service. The Quarrymen's two songs were played live into a single microphone. After the recording was pressed onto the 10-inch shellac disc, the tape was erased to save costs.

John did That'll Be The Day, which was one of our stage numbers, and George played the opening guitar notes and I harmonised with John singing lead.

Paul McCartney
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The Quarrymen had only 15 shillings between them, so Phillips held onto the disc until they returned with the full amount.

When we got the record, the agreement was that we would have it for a week each. John had it a week and passed it on to me. I had it for a week and passed it on to George, who had it for a week. Then Colin had it for a week and passed it to Duff Lowe – who kept it for 23 years.

Paul McCartney

Astonishingly, Lowe kept the single in a sock drawer until 1981, when it was suggested to him that it may be worth something. It was valued by Sotheby's, and its existence was reported by Sunday Times journalist Stephen Pile.

Before midday on that Sunday Paul McCartney had called my mum in Liverpool. I eventually spoke to him on the phone and we had long conversations over the next few days because he wanted to buy it from me. I was living in Worcester at the time and he sent his solicitor and his business manager up. I deposited the disc in a small briefcase at the local Barclay's Bank and we met up in a small room the bank kindly let me use. The deal was done, I handed the record over and we all went home.

John 'Duff' Lowe
A Hard Day's Write, Steve Turner

The amount McCartney paid for the disc was undisclosed, although Lowe is known to have rejected an initial offer of £5,000.

I ended up buying it back for a very inflated price. I have since had some replicas made. I don't want to play the shellac because it would wear out, as demos in those days would. But it's great to have.

Paul McCartney

The Quarrymen's version of That'll Be The Day was first played by McCartney during a 1985 documentary on Buddy Holly. Shortly thereafter it was circulated by bootleggers. It was eventually released, along with In Spite Of All The Danger, in 1995 on the Anthology 1 collection.