Ian Anderson, Jeffrey Hammond and John Evan (originally Evans), who would become members of Jethro Tull, attended grammar school together in Blackpool. Anderson was born in Dunfermline, Scotland and grew up in Edinburgh before moving to Blackpool in January 1960. Evans had become a fan of the Beatles after seeing them play "Love Me Do" on Granada Television's Scene at 6:30. Though he was an accomplished pianist, he decided to take up the drums, as it was an instrument featured in the Beatles' line-up. Anderson had acquired a Spanish guitar and taught himself how to play it, and the pair decided to form a band. The pair recruited Hammond on bass, who brought along his collection of blues records to listen to.
The group initially played as a three piece at local clubs and venues, before Evans became influenced by Georgie Fame and the Animals and switched to organ, recruiting drummer Barrie Barlow and guitarist Mike Stevens from local band the Atlantics. By 1964 the band had recruited guitarist Chris Riley and developed into a six-piece blue-eyed soul band called the John Evan Band (later the John Evan Smash).