On this day in 1957, the most famous music club in the world opened its doors: Liverpool’s Cavern Club.
The Cavern Club by Christopher Brown on Flickr
Want to impress your Liverpudlian friends? Here are all the things you need to know:
Now a major tourist attraction, it’s located in a warehouse cellar at number 10 Mathew Street, in the heart of the city centre near the River Mersey, local theatres, museums and shopping centres.
It was originally a jazz club, hosting Ronnie Scott and Acker Bilk in its early days.
The club has closed down, remodelled and re-opened on several occasions, and was owned at one time by former Liverpool FC hardman Tommy Smith.
Closing down in February 1966, the club was officially opened again by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in July the same year.
Its original owner, Alan Sytner, named the club after a Paris jazz club, Le Caveau De La Huchette, hoping to make it the biggest jazz club outside of London.
The first jazz festival held in Liverpool and featuring many of Britain’s top acts took place at the Cavern Club on January 16, 1960.
The Cavern Club Wall – Ian Ransley on Flickr
The club is home to 25 resident artists, from The Cavern Club Beatles tribute band – brought together following comprehensive auditions to find those who captured the look and sound of the four Liverpool lads – to The Amazing Kappa Band, who are somehow an eclectic mix of Led Zeppelin, Ravel, Dolly Parton and more!
A statue of former club hat-check girl Cilla Black is being unveiled outside the club today, a present to the city from her family.
The club offers Rock School Tuition, with expert tutors in bass guitar, guitar, piano/keyboard and drums.
In 1983, the Strawberry Fields Children’s home benefitted financially following the sale of 5000 bricks from the original cellar area of the club.
Hosted by the club, Liverpool’s first Mathew Street Festival took place on August 28, 1983 until being replaced by the Liverpool International Music Festival in 2013.
Books about the club include three by Spencer Leigh, BBC Radio Merseyside presenter: ‘Twist and Shout! – Merseybeat, the Cavern, the Star-Club and the Beatles’, ‘The Cavern – The Most Famous Club in the World’ and ‘The Cavern Club: The Rise of the Beatles and Merseybeat’ and one by former Liverpool FC player and coach Phil Thompson, called ‘The Best of Cellars’.
American actor Billy Bob Thornton appeared at the club in 2002 and said: “It’s the dream of my life to be here in Liverpool and playing the Cavern because this music got me through my childhood.”
The artist for the original club posters and signage, Tony Booth, has been commissioned to produce the 60th anniversary artwork which will feature all the artists ever to appear at the club.
In July 2006, American golfer John Daly took to the stage and performed during the launch of his autobiography.
The Cavern Club by Ronald Saunders on Flickr
The first Beatle to play at the club is rumoured to be Ringo Starr, who was apparently a member of the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group when they appeared there in July 1957.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney debuted at the club a few months apart but both with The Quarrymen, John in August 1957, and Paul in January 1958, after joining The Quarrymen in October 1957.
The first performance at the club by The Beatles was on February 9, 1961. Brian Epstein saw them in November that year and subsequently took over their management. The last of their 292 performances at the club was on August 1, 1963.
Do you have any special memories from the Cavern Club? Let me know in the comments.
Photo Credits: Christopher Brown, Ian Ransley, Ronald Saunders