I’ve decided that, since Tumblr is exploding today with Paul McCartney love to celebrate his birthday, I’m going to be a c-c-c-c-combobreaker and celebrate the birthday of someone else of massive importance in the Beatles story.
Ivan was an old childhood friend of John’s - his family’s garden backed onto that of John’s Aunt Mimi’s - and existed a splendidly wild life in the raucous company of John, Pete Shotton, Len Garry, Colin Hanton and their clique. There are some fantastic little stories floating about.
”We had a strict uniform code at Liverpool Institute but it hardly mattered to Ivan. His blazer badge wasn’t sewn on, but held in place with a paper clip so after school he could whip it off and be in “civvies” to chat up the girls.”- Peter Sissons
“Once, minus his Institute badge, Ivan walked into Quarry Bank School where John was a pupil, sat down in the same class and was given a set of textbooks and signed on as a new pupil before irate staff realised he was an imposter.”- Dennis Ellam
When John eventually got into rock ‘n roll and started his own skiffle group called The Quarrymen, Ivan joined in on rehearsals on a tea-chest bass whenever Len Garry couldn’t make it.
Pete Shotton, Ivan and Len on July 6, 1957
Ivan invited a classmate, Paul McCartney, to a gig The Quarrymen would be performing at. Paul initially declined, but Ivan tempted him over with the promise of girls.
”I remember coming into the fete; there was a coconut shy over here and the hoopla over there, and all the usual things-and there was a band playing on a platform with a small audience in front of them. We headed to the stage first because as teenagers we were interested in music. There was a guy up on the platform with curly, blondish hair, wearing a checkered shirt-looking pretty good and quite fashionable - singing a song that I loved: the Del-Vikings ‘Come Go With Me’. He didn’t know the words, but it didn’t matter as none of us knew the words either. There’s a little refrain that goes ‘Come little darlin, come and go with me, I love you darling.’ John was singing ‘Down, down, down to the pentitiary.’ He was filling in with blues lines, I thought that was good, and he was singing well.” - Paul McCartney
“I wandered around the fair and then Ivan and I went backstage. The band was getting ready to move indoors, into the church hall for the evening show. There was some beer being drunk. […] John was a little afternoon-pissed, leaning over my shoulder breathing boozily. We were all a little sloshed. I thought ‘Bloody hell, who’s this?’ But he was enjoying what I was playing. Then I played guitar-upside down. I did ‘Twenty Flight Rock’, and knew all the words. The Quarrymen were so knocked out that I actually knew and could sing ‘Twenty Flight Rock’. That’s what got me into the Beatles. I often pedalled around Woolton at that time, going to see Ivan. I lived a bike ride away in Allerton. Pete Shotton, who was in The Quarry Men, was cycling around too, and we met by chance. Pete was a close friend of John’s. He said, ‘Hey, Paul, it was good the other day, and we’ve been having a talk, would you like to join the group?’ I said ‘I’ll have to think about it.’ But I was quite excited by the offer, so - through Ivan - I agreed to join.” - Paul McCartney
“It’s possible they’d never have met… and The Beatles would never have been, without Ivan.” - Rod Davis
So thank you, Ivan, on behalf of every fan out there and a very happy birthday.*salutes the skies*