Former bandmate reveals the legend thought the instrument was too difficult…

John Lennon almost gave up playing the guitar after just two lessons as he found the instrument too difficult, a former bandmate has revealed.

Drummer Colin Hanton, who played with the Beatle in school band The Quarrymen, has said that the legend tried lessons but “decided it was going to take forever to play music properly”.

However, John Lennon changed his mind after seeing skiffle artist Lonnie Donegan, according to Hanton.


He told the BBC World Service: “Once Eric (Griffiths, guitarist) and John Lennon actually tried to learn to play guitar properly, they went to a music teacher for two lessons – and decided it was going to take forever to play music properly.”

“But then Lonnie Donegan came on the scene and said ‘All you need is three chords and something you can bang’ – a rhythm section or whatever – so overnight everybody joined a skiffle group,” he added. “They realised you didn’t have to be particularly musical or talented, as long as you could keep a tune.”

John Lennon founded The Quarrymen with Griffiths and Pete Shotton in 1957 at Quarry Bank School in Liverpool.

George Harrison saw the band at a church fete and soon joined, followed by John Lennon.

Rod Davies, banjo player in the band, remembers: “I was actually playing a banjo, so I was allowed to play banjo chords, but Paul McCartney and Eric played guitars tuned like banjos. When John Lennon turned up, he eventually taught them how to play guitar chords. That was a great improvement to the sound.”

After the founding members started to drift away from the group, John Lennon, George Harrison and John Lennon briefly became Johnny and The Moondogs before turning into The Beatles.


The Quarrymen will release their first studio album, ’Songs We Remember’ on Monday (January 17). The band have only previously recorded one single, in the late 1950s – a cover of Buddy Holly’s ’That’ll Be The Day’ and the John Lennon/George Harrison penned, ’In Spite Of All The Danger’.