Category Archives: The Beatles

rare Photo of the cavern club in 1957

Poster for the 60th Anniversary of The Cavern Club
Poster for the 60th Anniversary of The Cavern Club

On 16th January 1957, The Cavern Club opened. Discover a rare photograph and the inside story of the world-famous Cavern Club.

“The above is the poster that Tony Booth produced for the Cavern Club during the summer of 2016 in preparation for the club’s 60th anniversary celebrations in January the following year. It really showcases the range of styles and creativity of a unique, unsung lettering artist who certainly played an important part in the marketing of music history. Posters and flyers were the social media of the sixties and they helped create the legends of the era.”

Debbie Greenberg saw The Beatles at every performance in the ’60s at The Cavern, before her father went on to buy The Cavern. In her book, Cavern Club: The Inside Story, she talks about the opening of the Cavern Club in January 1957.

The Opening of The Cavern Club: 16th January 1957

“Alan Sytner ran The Cavern strictly as a jazz club but starting in 1957 he allowed skiffle groups to play, getting very annoyed if any of them tried to play rock ‘n’ roll. The Quarrymen Skiffle Group, precursor to the Beatles, first played the Cavern on a date no-one can pinpoint in mid 1957 and again on 7th August 1957, only weeks after John Lennon met Paul at St. Peter’s Church Garden fete in Woolton Village.

John upset Sytner by playing rock ‘n’ roll numbers. Paul didn’t appear with them, though he’d just been recruited. He was away at Scout Camp with his brother Mike in Hathersage, Derbyshire. While at camp, Mike broke his arm when he fell out of an oak tree he was climbing.”

Rare, Unpublished Photograph of The Cavern

Debbie recently uncovered the following photograph of Joyce Lee, showing The Cavern Club in early 1957.

Rare photo of The Cavern in 1957
Rare photo of The Cavern in 1957

“In 1959, Alan moved to London and left his father, Dr. Joseph Sytner, to run the club until a buyer could be found. Ray McFall was a clerk with the Sytner family’s accountants and occasionally sat in at the Cavern cash desk. His offer of £2,750 to buy the club was accepted, and he officially took over the Cavern on 31st October 1959.”

The 60th Anniversary of The Cavern Club Opening

On the 60th anniversary of the Cavern Club in 2017, Debbie and her husband Nigel met with the star of the night, 70s pop star Gilbert O’Sullivan, who played a fantastic set in front of an exclusive packed Cavern crowd.

Debbie Greenberg, Gilbert O'Sullivan and Nigel Greenberg
Debbie Greenberg, Gilbert O’Sullivan and Nigel Greenberg

Debbie also posed with former Beatles Fan Club Secretary, Freda Kelly.

Freda Kelly with Debbie Greenberg
Freda Kelly with Debbie Greenberg

The Inside Story of The Cavern

To discover this and so many more amazing stories about the famous Cavern Club, read Debbie’s book:

Cavern Club – The Inside Story

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

Gerry Marsden – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Gerry Marsden
Singer Gerry Marsden. 5th July 1964.

Gerry Marsden

Gerry Marsden was seen by The Beatles as one of their main challengers in the early days of Merseybeat in Liverpool.   With his group, The Pacemakers, he was signed by Brian Epstein and recorded ‘How Do You Do It’, a song which had been rejected by The Beatles, taking it to the top of the charts in the UK and doing the same with his second record, ‘I Like It’.   He became the only person to have topped the UK charts with their first three records when his uniquely emotional version of a ballad from the musical ‘Carousel’ reached Number One in the autumn of 1963.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is still played before every home game at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club, but those of who were lucky enough to have been there the first time it was played will never forget it.

It was mid-October 1963. We stood on the Kop to watch Bill Shankly’s Liverpool team play against West Bromwich Albion, a team from the Midlands who were nicknamed ‘The Baggies’. It was a historic moment in the rise to glory of Liverpool Football Club.

“And now for our next record.” The voice of the announcer came from the Tannoy high above our heads. “It’s the first time we’ve played this one. Into the Top Ten at Number Seven, it’s Gerry and The Pacemakers with their version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.”

The song could have been written for us. The words carried a message that reached deep into the heart of every single Liverpool supporter. Twenty-five thousand voices on the Kop were united in belief as red and white scarves were held aloft between raised arms. It was the perfect anthem for a crowd.

Gerry and the Pacemakers

The roar as the record came to an end was for Gerry and The Pacemakers. It was for Liverpool Football Club and the mighty Reds. It was for our city. Every one of us knew at that moment that we were part of the greatest football family in the world.

From that day ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was our song. Nobody was going to take it away from us. Ever. A magical genie had been let out of the bottle.   Gerry Marsden had stolen the show.

His glorious anthem had transformed Anfield. The Baggies never stood a chance.

Bill Shankly and his mighty Reds were now invincible.

“Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey”

Gerry Marsden continued to live on Merseyside with his wife, Pauline, and their two daughters even after he had achieved international fame. In his self-penned hit song ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ he was clearly speaking from the heart when he sang, “This land’s the place I love; and here I’ll stay.”

George Harrison

He had fallen for Pauline, who ran his fan club, back in the sixties. She had previously been going out with George Harrison, but The Beatles had gone off to play in Hamburg. Gerry was a wonderful raconteur, and he would tell the story of how he spoke to George when The Beatles got home from Hamburg.

“I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you, George. The good news is that while you were away in Germany, I’ve fallen in love. The bad news is it’s with your girlfriend.”

Everyone said Gerry Marsden was a lovely man who remained unaffected by fame. Over the years he raised many millions of pounds for charity, supporting those who had been less fortunate than him in their lives.

“THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, GERRY.”

“REST IN PEACE”

“YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE

John Winter

The story of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at Anfield is taken from the book ‘Blame It On The Beatles … And Bill Shankly’.

Blame it on the Beatles and Bill Shankly
Blame it on the Beatles and Bill Shankly

The Country of Liverpool

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

Exciting news following the recent publication of David Bedford’s latest book, “The Country of Liverpool: Nashville of the North” is going to be made into a documentary film.

Stay in touch with news by subscribing at the website and joining their Social Media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Sign up at the website now at www.thecountryofliverpool.com

Get your copy of The Country of Liverpool in either:

The Country of Liverpool tells the previously untold story of the country music scene in Liverpool in the 1950s, and the country roots of The Beatles.

Full Colour Limited Edition Hardback – only 250 being published and 50 have sold already!

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

Full Colour Paperback

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

Black and White Paperback

The Country of Liverpool
The Country of Liverpool

The Business of Buying Beatles Merchandise

Fifty-seven years ago this November (1963), December, into January 1964 and February, Beatles merchandising got jump-started. 

The Beatles Merchandise
The Beatles Merchandise

STRAMSACT?

NEMS (the band’s management company), not wanting to get involved with merchandising, organized a subsidiary company named Stramsact.  They were to handle the U.K. and the rest of the world licensing rights for merchandise.  Stramsact created its own subsidiary company called Seltaeb (Beatles spelled backward) to take care of licensing products in the U.S.

For the most part, starting in November, the licensing of everything from jewelry, dolls, shirts, games, egg-cups, blankets, chairs, food, perfume, fabric, garters, pompons, calendars, bedspreads, wigs, and much more started.  Beatlemania, carried over to store shelves, was reaching a new level!  Mass merchandising around the world would never be the same!

Christmas Presents?

Back in the ’60s, parents all over the world were buying Beatles-related Christmas presents for their children and those children now have their own children and grandchildren too!

Rediscover the magic in Terry Crain’s great book:

NEMS and the business of selling Beatles Merchandise in the U.S. 1964-1966
NEMS and the Business of Selling Beatles Merchandise in the U.S. 1964-1966 (2ND EDITION)NEMS and the business of selling Beatles Merchandise in the U.S. 1964-1966

The Beatles Play in Aldershot – 9th December 1961

The Beatles in Aldershot
The Beatles in Aldershot

From Debbie Greenberg’s book:

However, Brian Epstein was not the first candidate for the position of Beatles manager. A Liverpool-based promoter called Sam Leach, who regularly organised dances and live shows in local venues, frequently hired the Beatles. As he was giving them regular work and they were all very good friends, he suggested he should become their manager.

The group agreed and on the strength of a handshake with John Lennon, the group’s leader, he thought he’d secured the position as their first manager.

The Beatles Play Aldershot

Sam Leach, George Harrison, John Lennon and Dick Matthews
Sam Leach, George Harrison, John Lennon and Dick Matthews

On the 9th December 1961 Sam booked the Palais Ballroom in Aldershot, about forty miles outside London. He paid for a full-page ad in the Aldershot News and expected a good turnout for the gig. However, he had paid by cheque and the newspaper would not insert the ad until the cheque had cleared.

The cheque didn’t clear in time and on that night only 18 people turned up to see the Beatles.

George Harrison and John Lennon dancing together
George Harrison and John Lennon dancing together

After the hiccup at Aldershot everything was going very well for a few weeks until Brian Epstein stepped into the frame. The Beatles, ever eager to climb the ladder of success, were tempted by Brian’s obvious wealth and promises of fame and fortune. With a heavy heart John Lennon had to break the news to Sam that they had signed with “Eppy”.  

Cavern Club: The Inside Story

Find our more about Beatles history in Debbie’s great book – ON SALE NOW!

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

Rattle Your Jewellery!

The Beatles meet the Queen Mother at the Prince of Wales Theatre

The Beatles’ famous appearance on the Royal Command Performance took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London, on 4th November 1963. This is an annual charity event, which is always attended by at least one member of the Royal Family. For this concert the Royals were the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. These performances are very high-class occasions with extremely expensive tickets.

It was in front of this distinguished audience that John made his famous comment: “For our next number I’d like to ask for your help. Will those in the cheaper seats clap your hands? The rest of you just rattle your jewellery!”

F***ing Jewellery?

It sounded like an impromptu joke, but in a later interview John Lennon said that the Beatles actually worked it out the day before the show – so this was a well thought out comment! However, John told Brian he was going to tell the crowd to rattle their f***ing jewellery. If John had used that word in front of the Royals it would have been the end of the Beatles career!

Luckily, John’s comment did not outrage the Royals; after the show the Queen Mother asked Paul McCartney where they were playing next. Paul said they were playing Slough. The Queen Mother was delighted and said, “Ah, that’s near us!” Windsor Castle, a royal residence, is just down the road from Slough. She did not go to the concert though.

Watch The Beatles

You can watch the Beatles performance here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWDFuVRWdn4&feature=youtu.be

No Way Man

The Beatles were asked to perform on the show many times after this – but always refused. As John Lennon said in the Beatles Anthology book:

“We managed to refuse all sorts of things that people don’t know about. We did the Royal Variety Show, and we were asked discreetly to do it every year after that, but we always said, ‘Stuff it.’ So every year there was a story in the newspapers: ‘Why no Beatles for the Queen?’ which was pretty funny, because they didn’t know we’d refused. That show’s a bad gig, anyway. Everybody’s very nervous and uptight and nobody performs well. The time we did do it, I cracked a joke on stage. I was fantastically nervous, but I wanted to say something to rebel a bit, and that was the best I could do.”

Richard Porter

Find out more about this momentous event in Richard’s Guide to the Beatles London

Guide to The Beatles London
Guide to The Beatles London

31st October – Life-Changing events for Paul McCartney and Ed Sullivan

Ed Sullivan with The Beatles
John Lennon Paul McCartney George Harrison and Ringo Starr with American TV show host Ed Sullivan on the 8th February 1964

On 31st October 1963, Ed Sullivan was passing through London’s Heathrow Airport when he witnessed “Beatlemania” for the first time. By chance, The Beatles were just returning from their overseas tour in Sweden. There were hundreds of fans gathered in the rain, as well as over 50 journalists and TV crew covering the event.

Who Are The Beatles?

Sullivan asked the journalists; “Who is this all for?” The reply was, “The Beatles”. Ed Sullivan then asked the important question: “Who are The Beatles?” Ed Sullivan began investigating who The Beatles were and, as he recalled later; “I made up my mind that this was the same sort of mass hit hysteria that had characterized the Elvis Presley days.”

This planted the seed in Sullivan’s mind that he needed to have this sensational British group on his show. As we know, that first Ed Sullivan Show appearance in front of 73 million people changed pop music forever, especially for the Beatles.

Mary McCartney

Paul and Mike McCartney
Paul and Mike McCartney

The 31st October 1956 was a tragic one for Paul and Mike McCartney, as this was the day they lost their mother, Mary. Paul was only 14 years old. Although he later commemorated his mother in song, things changed for Paul from this day. His brother Mike always said that the way for Paul to cope with losing their mother was music. Just two weeks after Mary died, Paul went to the Liverpool Empire and saw Lonnie Donegan in concert. Following that concert, inspired by Donegan, he asked his father Jim if he could swap his trumpet for a guitar. Jim agreed.

The first song Paul wrote was called “I Lost My Little Girl”: was this Paul writing about the loss of his mother by creating a fictional broken relationship with a girl?

Ian James

Paul needed someone to teach him to play the guitar which he did. He went to his school friend Ian James, who helped Paul to learn the guitar. Ian, from the Dingle, spent hours teaching Paul to play – Paul was a natural.

Ian James – photo taken by Paul McCartney

I interviewed Ian for my book, “The Fab One Hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”, and he told how he helped Paul to prepare for meeting John at St. Peter’s Church on 6th July 1957, as well as Ian’s memories of being there at Woolton that momentous day.

Selling The Guitar

Ian James with the guitar Paul learned to play on

Ian shared his memories of still being friends with Paul, going to Woolton, and what happened when he decided to sell his guitar. It was valued at approximately £30,000.

However, when he was advised to get a letter from Paul McCartney, that valuation was dismissed.

It Sold for How Much?

Discover what happened when Ian visited Paul McCartney in London before the auction and how much the guitar sold for – an incredible amount of money!!!

Find out Ian’s story and every musician and influencer in the evolution of The Beatles – 104 people!

SPECIAL SALE PRICE

The Fab one hundred and Four
The Fab one hundred and Four

Did you know that The Cavern had a Recording Studio?

Cavern Sound Ltd.

Nigel Greenberg set up Cavern Sound Ltd. Nigel’s connection with the Cavern went way back. “During my teenage years one of my close friends was Franklin Sytner,” he recalls. “We shared an interest in skiffle, and some nights I would tag along with Frank to the Cavern Club, which was then owned by his brother.”

By 1961 the music scene in Liverpool was starting to take off. Hundreds of groups were playing in suburban dance halls and city centre clubs. Most bands were quartets – lead, rhythm and bass guitarists and a drummer. Each guitarist needed an amplifier and the group also needed a public address system with microphones and loudspeakers.

Frank’s older brother, Alan Sytner, had opened the premises in 1957 as a jazz club, but from the early ’60s skiffle groups started playing. Alan eventually sold the Cavern to Ray McFall, who took over on 3rd October 1959, with Mr. Acker Bilk and his band top of the bill.

At The Cavern Club, Mathew Street

Nigel outside The Cavern

After installing a new sound system for Hope Hall, a city centre cinema that doubled as a live music venue, they were approached by Ray McFall and Bob Wooler to discuss a new venture. By 1963 the Beatles had made Liverpool and the Cavern world famous, and now Ray and Bob wanted to open a recording studio in the vacant cellar next door, where local bands could record demo discs. Cavern Sound Ltd was incorporated and the studio opened in late 1964.

25th October 1964: Cavern Sound Ltd. Opens

Nigel explains: “It transpired that Ray’s sound studio idea was a last-gasp attempt to generate additional revenue to prop up the club, which was rapidly going down the drain. He loved the limelight and even accompanied the Beatles on their first trip to the US at enormous cost.

Find Out The Whole Story Now

Read the fascinating story of this little-known period in the Cavern’s history and how Nigel met Debbie many years later on a blind date and realised their paths crossed many years before in The Cavern! It is all in Cavern Club: The Inside Story

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

Visiting George Harrison in Hospital

George Harrison in hospital

Leslie Cavendish, The Beatles hairdresser recalls the time he was visiting George at the London University Hospital on February 1969, as he had his tonsils removed and  he wanted to see a friendly face. So, Derek Taylor asked me to go and visit him at the hospital.

Because the world’s press was waiting outside Derek told me not to say anything, especially as I told a journalist that Lennon was going bald!

A Day in his Life

I walked in and a few recognised me, but I just went straight into reception and went to the ward. I mentioned that I had never seen so many press people, before but George said that it was a normal day in his life.

When I came down and came out of the entrance they asked if I had any news about Beatle George. “Will he be able to sing again, how ill is he?” etc. etc.

I have always watched people on the TV say this and now I had my chance; “NO COMMENT”, and then I smiled and went back to work.

George had this very special peaceful aura around him and all the times I had been in his company you felt it and maybe it was “SOMETHING IN THE WAY HE SMILED.”

Leslie Cavendish

Read more about this story and so much more in Leslie’s book, The Cutting Edge.

The Cutting Edge by Leslie Cavendish
The Cutting Edge by Leslie Cavendish

Hi. I’m Paul McCartney, The Cavern

Debbie with Paul McCartney
Debbie with Paul McCartney

It was 25th October 1968 and I had paid my usual Friday visit to the hairdressers and arrived at the club mid-morning to start work. Dad was stocking the Top Bar when I arrived.

“We’ve had a visitor,” he said.

“Who was it?” I asked.

“Paul McCartney,” he said.

“So I’ve missed him?” To say I was disappointed doesn’t come close.

“Don’t worry, he’s coming back,” Dad assured me. “You finish stocking the bar and put some champagne on ice. I’m going to the photography shop to buy a camera.”

Dad walked across North John Street to Photo Optics in Dale Street. He had to spin the photographer a yarn that he wanted to take photographs of a group in the club and asked if he’d come over and set up the camera so he wouldn’t have to do anything but take photos.

Paul had just walked into the club and out of the blue, while Dad was stocking the Top Bar ready for the evening.

Recognising him instantly, Dad held out his hand.

“Hi, Alf Geoghegan, the Cavern.”

Paul shook his hand and replied, “Hi, Paul McCartney, the Cavern. I’m going over to the Wirral to deliver a record player to Ruth, my stepsister, and I’d like to come back later. I’ve got my girlfriend in the car and I’d like to show her the Cavern, on one condition – you don’t tell the press.”

“You’ve got it,” Dad said. “Would you mind if we took some photographs?”

“No, that’s fine, I’ll be back in about an hour.”

Dad locked the main door to prevent any visitors wandering in. We gathered by the bar where Dad offered them a drink and proceeded to open the champagne.

Linda Eastman Takes a Photograph

“I’ll do that,” Linda said. “I’m a good bartender.” She took over and served the champagne.

Dad made a toast: “To Paul and the Cavern.”

He asked Paul again if he could take some photographs and was about to pick up the camera, when Linda said, “I’ll do that, I’m a good photographer.”

She picked up the camera and after altering all the settings started to take the shots. Dad was afraid she’d messed up the camera!

Discover this story and so much more in Debbie’s book; “Cavern Club: The Inside Story”.

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