23rd March 1961 – the beatles at the cavern

The Beatles at the Cavern in 1961
The Beatles at the Cavern in 1961

WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO SEE THE BEATLES AT THE CAVERN?

“I couldn’t get enough of the Cavern,” says Cavernite and author Debbie Greenberg. “I would go there for every lunchtime session from Tuesday to Friday. There were two sessions, from 12 to 1pm and 1.15pm to 2.15pm. The later one was always the best – and then I would go back again at night for more.

Debbie Greenberg
Debbie Greenberg with Paul McCartney

“We were greedy for our fix of non-stop beat music. The club didn’t look like much from the outside. After dodging the fruit lorries delivering to the Fruit Exchange opposite and the lunchtime shoppers, we queued to get in through a small door in the wall of a towering brick warehouse at 10 Mathew Street.

DOWN INTO THE CAVERN

“Once we descended a steep flight of well-worn stone steps to a small landing, where a few more steps led to a man seated at a small wooden table taking the entrance fees. I paid a shilling to become a member of the Cavern Club entitling me to an admission discount at each visit – which in my case was most days. The heat and noise would send your senses reeling as you stepped through those cellar arches. It was enthralling and unbearably hot.

“The Cavern’s identity began to change at the start of the new decade. Rock ‘n’ roll slowly replaced jazz and the Cavern became the heart that have Mersey its beat.

THE BEATLES DEBUT

“We watched the Beatles debut at the Cavern at the lunchtime session on 9th February 1961. We were blown away. The Beatles were different, their music was incredible, their appearance raunchy, their energy infectious. They just oozed excitement.

OFF TO HAMBURG

The Beatles on stage at the Top Ten in Hamburg
The Beatles on stage at the Top Ten in Hamburg

“Six week later on 23rd of March, after a lunchtime session at the Cavern, they jumped on a train at Liverpool’s Lime Street Station on their way to Hamburg for the second time, having previously played there in 1960. This time they sped off out of our lives for four months. We missed them but still went down to the Cavern to watch other groups, like Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Swinging Blue Genes, the Remo Four, the Big Three, Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes and many more. They were all fabulous groups but they weren’t the Beatles.

BACK HOME AGAIN

“News soon spread around Liverpool that the Beatles were back from Hamburg and were to be guests of the Swinging Blue Genes at the Cavern on Friday 14th July 1961 for their welcome home appearance.

“Everybody wanted to see them. They were already by far the best group in Liverpool. Everything about them was exciting and intoxicating. They seemed to be infused with even more vigour and passion than before. The transformation was unbelievable, with their gyrating hips, humourous banter on stage and sexy outfits – clad in tight black leather with black Cuban heeled boots.”

The Beatles on stage at The Cavern in 1961
The Beatles on stage at The Cavern in 1961

“Their repertoire was now wide-ranging, making them stand out from other bands. Their sound was unique and addictive, their energy palpable. Liverpool had never seen or heard anything quite like them. Sue and I made sure we were at the Cavern for every one of their performances after that. They appeared every Wednesday night and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunchtime.

“The Hamburg connection proved the ultimate testing ground for many Liverpool groups. On some nights, groups would be expected to play at the Top Ten Club or Kaiserkeller or later on the Star Club for up to seven hours with only s ten-minute break every hour.

“Those sessions transformed Liverpool groups into totally professional outfits. None more so that the Beatles. It turned them from talented amateurs into the band of bands, as Klaus Voormann described them. The Cavern was soon packed every time they played. Bob Wooler booked them and they received £5 for their debut (£1 each). At that time, Stuart Sutcliffe was playing bass guitar, although not very well, and he would play with his back to the audience so no one could see how he was playing.”

READ MORE IN DEBBIE GREENBERG’S BOOK CAVERN CLUB: INSIDE STORY

Cavern Club - The Inside Story
Cavern Club – The Inside Story

David Stark – guided london tour

David Stark's Tour of London
David Stark’s Tour of London

This Sunday 14th I’ll be guesting on a special virtual Beatles Tour of London with guide & expert Richard Porter, visiting various iconic locations as mentioned in the book.  We’ll be “passing by” Abbey Road Studios, Hammersmith Odeon, the London Pavilion Cinema, the Saville Theatre, the Apple building at 3 Savile Row, John & Yoko’s flat at 34 Montagu Square among many other London locations, as well as Aunt Mimi’s house in Dorset.

The tour starts at 7.00pm GMT (12 noon EST), entry is £10. These Zoom tours are always a lot of fun and also give participants a chance to ask questions along the way. Book in advance here, your Zoom link will be sent before the tour starts.

Meet The Beatles: David Stark’s London, Sunday March 14th

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/meet-the-beatles-david-starks-london-tickets-143756526641

Best wishes,

David

GET YOUR COPY OF DAVID’S BOOK NOW

It's All Too Much

LEt me take you down – travel with sandi

Exploring Fab Four Landmarks by Sandi Borowsky

What is like for an American Beatles fab to travel to the UK and walk in the footsteps of The Beatles? Meet Sandi Borowsky, who did just that and has captured the essence of Liverpool and London as she takes you on her pilgrimage.

Here is an interview with Sandi talking about her incredible book.

Review

“Sandi Anne Borowsky’s Exploring Fab Four Landmarks is spot on!
With vivid descriptions of her surroundings and adventures, plus colorful, close-up photographs (taken by the author, herself), we feel like we are traveling through England right alongside her!

She takes us on a tour of important Beatle landmarks, as well as places we wouldn’t expect to see (from a very special bathroom to a sudden shocker at Strawberry Fields! Read about it in this book!). We learn how resourceful Sandi is and of her absolute love, love, love of coffee…and ice (find out in these pages!)!

We come to know her friends or “mates” (both old and new) and the warmth and good humor of the British people, through Sandi’s retelling of conversations and events. One of Sandi’s friends and her grandmother even knew Ringo (Sandi’s favorite Beatle!)and his “mum!”

“Love one another” and peace us Sandi’s wish for us all. She hopes you have as much fun reading about her absolutely Fab adventures as she did having them!

So let the movie in your mind begin!”

Howard Cohen, November 29, 2019

GET YOUR COPY NOW

Exploring Fab Four Landmarks
Exploring Fab Four Landmarks

Beatles, cowboys & country music

Paul McCartney, Arthur Kelly, George Harrison and John Lennon
Paul McCartney, Arthur Kelly, George Harrison and John Lennon

The Country of Liverpool: Nashville of the North by David Bedford: A Review

“Fans of the Beatles are familiar with the group’s affinity for country music created in America. What many people don’t realize is that in the 1960s and up to today, country music experienced tremendous popularity in Europe as evidenced by its root in the skiffle craze that eventually developed into British rock and roll music. The interest of the Beatles and others is not as simplistic as records coming off the ships berthing in Liverpool. It is much deeper and more substantive.

“The earliest immigrants to the American colonies from Britain and Ireland brought with them folk songs, hymns, and primitive African blues. The songs told stories of love, war, legends, and more and were written with a regular rhythm generations remember and repeat easily. The early settlers came from Britain, Ireland, and Scotland, and found homes in the Appalachian Mountains. As time went on, the descendants moved to other parts of the new world and the songs began to evolve and develop into what eventually became all the splinter forms of the country music genre, from country and western to bluegrass and beyond.

1950s, Westerns and Cowboys

British children of all ages were obsessed with cowboys!
British children of all ages were obsessed with cowboys!

“Bedford expertly describes the growth of country music in the US and how it is also firmly formed in the roots of rock and roll of the early 1950s in the music of Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, and others. Interest in the country and western genre in both America and Britain also included western movies and American cowboys and it was a regular occurrence for British youth to attend Saturday movies to revel in their interest. Many Liverpool bands took names that were reminiscent of the American cowboy, as well.

“The cowboy image quickly evolved into the British rocker. Country and western music did not disappear with the advent of the Liverpool rock scene. Far from it. It had a strong following in Europe that continued to grow, despite slipping into the background. Country stars such as Phil Brady blossomed and grew in their own right and there were many, many clubs that specialized in country music.

Posters, Tickets and Clipping

“Bedford presents the story in a way that keeps the reader interested. His research skills are deep and impeccable. He uses old photos and posters as key parts of the story with a charm that adds to the book.

Memorabilia from Phil Brady's scrapbook
Memorabilia from Phil Brady’s scrapbook

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

“David Bedford has tackled subjects, that other authors sidestep, in his books, such as Liddypool, The Fab One Hundred and Four and Finding the Fourth Beatle, and presents topics that are new to readers. The Country of Liverpool is no exception and cements Bedford’s standing as one of the top Beatles historians of today. An excellent book and an excellent story told in a way that is interesting, educational, and just plain enjoyable.

Another must-have for Beatles, and music, fans.”

Tom Aguiar

Adapted with permission from Octopus’ Garden fanzine, Volume 30, Issue #3, March 2021. Review by Tom Aguiar.