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Eric Griffiths

Eric Griffiths, the guitarist in John Lennon’s school band The Quarrymen, which evolved into The Beatles, died on January 29, aged 64.

Born in Denbigh, North Wales on October 31, 1940, Griffiths met Lennon while attending Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool in the fifties. Both were fans of rock and roll music but were getting fed up with their basic guitar lessons. When Lennon’s mother Julia taught the two how to play banjo chords, they were inspired and invited a few other school friends to form a band. In 1957, Lennon later invited another schoolboy, Paul McCartney, to join the group.

Griffiths left the band in 1958 when the young George Harrison replaced him as principal guitarist. After several other member changes, the band becameÊThe Beatles in 1960.

After leaving school, Griffiths joined the merchant navy as a cadet navigation officer. He kept in touch with Lennon during shore leave until The Beatles moved to London. In 1964, he left the navy for a career in the prison service.

In 1997, Griffiths wasÊinvited back to Liverpool with the original non-Beatles members of The Quarrymen for the 40th anniversary of the Cavern Club, where the Quarrymen had performed in the fifties. The reunited band recorded the CD Get Back Together and went on to tour Europe, North America and Japan. A second CD, Songs We Remember, was released last month.

Griffiths became ill after a Quarrymen concert in Norway and died at his home in Edinburgh. He is survived by his wife Relda and three sons. Ê

Patrick Newley

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