A rare photograph of the trio who evolved into the Beatles has emerged.
The previously-unpublished photo of The Quarrymen shows Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison a year before becoming The Beatles.
The picture, captured in a Liverpool home in 1959, has surfaced on the 50th anniversary of McCartney announcing he was leaving the group.
“History shines in every dimly-lit detail,” said Beatles’ historian and author Mark Lewisohn.
“Within a year of this moment the Quarrymen had become The Beatles, professional musicians playing long hours in Hamburg,” he added.
“Four years from here they’d have attained the inconceivable level of fame and popularity that joyously maintains to this day – out from this Liverpool room and across the universe.”
Lennon formed the skiffle and rock ‘n’ roll group in early 1957 alongside Rod Davis, Pete Shotton, Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths and Len Garry.
The group was later joined by McCartney and Harrison.
McCartney, Lennon and Harrison evolved into The Beatles, along with Pete Best, until he was replaced by Ringo Starr in August 1962.
The image was uncovered by music memorabilia specialists Tracks Ltd.
“There are few Quarrymen photos and a discovery such as this is extremely rare,” said Mr Lewisohn.
“Precise information of where and when it was taken would be welcomed by collectors and historians alike.”
On 10 April 1970, the headline “Paul Is Quitting The Beatles” appeared in the Daily Mirror.
McCartney sent out a press statement to promote his new solo album and, when asked if the break was temporary or permanent, he replied: “I don’t really know.”
He added he could not foresee a time when the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership would become active again.
In 1974, the career of the most successful group in the history of popular music was legally and formally terminated.