‘John Lennon’s Childhood Friend Discloses Turning Down Offer to Join The Beatles’

‘John Lennon’s Childhood Friend Discloses Turning Down Offer to Join The Beatles’

**John Lennon’s Childhood Friend Discloses Turning Down Offer to Join The Beatles**

In a surprising revelation, Rod Davis, a childhood friend of John Lennon, disclosed that he turned down an offer to join The Beatles. Davis, who played with Lennon in The Quarrymen during the 1950s, cited his dislike for rock ‘n’ roll and his inability to play the drums as reasons for his decision.

Davis, now 82, is best known for his time with The Quarrymen, a skiffle band that Lennon formed before The Beatles. He joined the band with a banjo, an instrument he had no prior experience with, after failing to acquire a guitar. Despite his lack of skill, Davis did his best to contribute, often thrashing chords on his banjo. On several occasions, Lennon would borrow Davis’s banjo on stage after breaking the strings on his own guitar, with Davis frantically helping to restring it.

The Quarrymen played at various venues, including Liverpool’s Cavern Club, and were present at the church fete where Lennon first met Paul McCartney. However, as Lennon and other band members left school to pursue rock ‘n’ roll, Davis chose to stay in school and complete his sixth form. This decision marked the beginning of his divergence from the path that would lead to The Beatles’ global fame.

In 1962, Lennon approached Davis with an offer to replace Pete Best as the drummer for The Beatles during their Hamburg years. Despite the opportunity, Davis declined, stating, “John was moving towards rock ‘n’ roll which I didn’t like, then in the fifth form he left the school as did other members of the band. I stayed on into the sixth form. I met John again in 1962 and he asked me if I could play drums for The Beatles in Hamburg, but I wasn’t a percussionist.”

Davis’s decision to turn down the offer is a fascinating “what if” in the history of The Beatles. While Pete Best is often referred to as the “fifth Beatle” due to his departure from the band just before they achieved international fame, Davis’s story adds another layer to the band’s early history.

In recent years, Davis has reconnected with his past, reforming with other surviving members of The Quarrymen in 1997 for the Cavern Club’s 40th anniversary. They have continued to play together for the past few decades. However, Davis has decided it is time to part with his banjo, an instrument made by Arthur Octavius Windsor in the 1920s. The banjo, which he purchased for £5, is expected to fetch up to £15,000 at auction.

“I’ll be 83 soon and I thought it was about time I disposed of the banjo rather than leave the problem to the grandchildren. It’s better it is sold now so I can talk about it and provide provenance,” Davis explained. “I have had the banjo all these years and have played it although I’m more of a guitarist. It’d be great if the banjo could go on display somewhere.”

The auction, set to take place at Christie’s in London on July 7, will also feature a letter from Ringo Starr shortly after he joined The Beatles in 1962, confirming his agreement to be the drummer. The letter has a sales price guide of £20,000-£40,000.

Mark Wiltshire, an expert from Christie’s, emphasized the significance of the banjo in The Beatles’ origin story. “There are enthusiasts and collectors right around the world who would love to own it and I’m sure there will be a great deal of interest,” he said. “The instrument has never changed hands which makes it more desirable.”

Davis’s story is a poignant reminder of the many paths not taken in the history of The Beatles. His decision to stay in school and his subsequent refusal to join the band as a drummer highlight the unpredictable nature of life and the myriad factors that contribute to the making of legends.

As Davis prepares to part with his banjo, he reflects on his unique place in music history. While he may not have become a Beatle, his contributions to The Quarrymen and his connection to Lennon remain an indelible part of the band’s early narrative. The auction of his banjo will not only provide a tangible link to the past but also offer a new chapter in the story of The Beatles’ rise to fame.

Source: The Telegraph

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