Mental Floss recently posted a list of the best humble beginnings for some of music’s greatest songwriting duos. Despite the superhuman greatness these pairs achieved together, the stories are remarkably average and serve as a reminder that even the biggest household names were once just average people who came together in the most normal of circumstances. For example, the story of Jon Lennon and Paul McCartney’s meeting can be attributed to a local show and a mutual friend.
On July 6, 1957, The Quarrymen were playing an afternoon show in a field near St. Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool. It was there through a mutual friend that The Quarrymen’s singer—some guy named John Lennon—would meet some guy named Paul McCartney. Little did they know 55 years ago, as Paul taught John how to tune a guitar, that they’d someday be the world’s foremost songwriting team and, you know, The Beatles. Remarkably, someone recorded The Quarrymen’s set that day; the tape was sold at Sotheby’s for £78,500—the highest price ever paid for a recording at the time.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards rekindled an old friendship at a train stop.
Richards and Jagger were childhood friends and classmates in Dartford, Kent, in the early 1950s. Their families moved apart and the two lost touch… until a chance meeting in 1960, as both waited at the Dartford station for the trains back to their respective schools. Jagger had some Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters recordings with him, and the pair found themselves friends again with a mutual interest in music. By 1962, Richards and Jagger had a band, along with Dick Taylor, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart and Charlie Watts. What they didn’t have was a name. During a call to Jazz News, Jones was asked what the group was called; he spotted a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor and chose a track on the fly. The Rolling Stones was as good a name as any.
Sonny and Cher met through a chance encounter at a coffee shop.
In November of 1962, Salvatore Bono spotted Cherilyn Sarkisian in a Los Angeles coffee shop. He was 27; she was 16. Sonny was working for Phil Specter at the time, and since he and Cher hit it off pretty quickly, got her work as a session singer. By 1964 they were performing together as Ceasar and Cleo, but soon dropped the gimmicky pseudonyms and released “I Got You Babe” as Sonny & Cher in 1965. Bono wrote their songs, and Cher did most of the heavy lifting vocally, a fact that the duo highlighted in their final studio album, Mama Was a Rock and Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs.
For more stories, check out the full post at Mental Floss.