The Cavern Club


The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club is a rock and roll club at 10 Mathew Street, Liverpool, England, where Brian Epstein was introduced to the Beatles on 9 November 1961. The club opened on January 16, 1957.

Early history

Alan Sytner opened the club having been inspired by Paris's Jazz district where there were a number of clubs in cellars. Sytner returned to Liverpool and wanted to open a club similar to Paris's Le Caveau. He eventually found a perfect cellar for his club, one which had been used as an air raid shelter during the war.

What started as a jazz club, eventually became a hangout for skiffle groups. Sytner ended up selling the Cavern Club to Ray McFall in 1959, after moving to London. Blues bands and Beat groups began to appear at the club on a regular basis in the early 1960s. The first "Beat night" was held on May 25, 1960 and featured a performance by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (which included Ringo Starr as drummer). By early 1961, Bob Wooler had become the full-time compère & organiser of the lunchtime sessions.

World fame

The venue has been made world famous by The Beatles, and it was on Tuesday February 21, 1961, that the band made their first lunchtime appearance at the club. The band had returned to Liverpool from Hamburg, Germany, where they had been playing at the Indra and the Kaiserkeller for up to eight hours a night. Their stage show had been through a lot of changes and some in the audience thought they were watching a German band. From 1961 to 1962 The Beatles made 292 appearances at the club. During 1962, The Hollies took The Beatles' slot at the Cavern Club. The Beatles had graduated from the club and had been signed to EMI's Parlophone label by producer George Martin. The amount of musical activity in Liverpool and Manchester caused record producers who had previously never ventured very far from London to start looking to the north.

In the decade that followed, a wide variety of popular acts appeared at the club including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Elton John, The Who and John Lee Hooker. Future star Cilla Black worked as the hat-check girl at The Cavern in her pre-fame days.

A recording studio, "Cavern Sound" opened in the basement of an adjoining building, run by Nigel Greenberg and Peter Hepworth.

The club closed in March 1973, and was filled in during construction work on the Merseyrail underground rail loop. Jan Akkerman with Dutch progressive rockers Focus were the last to play The Cavern just a matter of days before the club was shut down in May 1973(http://www.cavern-liverpool.co.uk:80/archive/news_akkerman.htm).

The Cavern Club today

In April 1984 the club was taken over by Liverpool F.C. player Tommy Smith in association with Royal Life. It was re-built with many of the same bricks that had been used in the original club. The new club occupies 75% of the original site. The new design was to resemble the original as closely as possible. This was a difficult period of massive economical and political change in and around Liverpool and the club only survived until 1989, when it came under financial pressures and closed for 18 months. In 1991, two friends - school teacher Bill Heckle and Liverpool cabbie Dave Jones - reopened the club. They still run the club today and are now the longest running owners in the club's history. Despite being a world famous tourist spot, the club continues to function primarily as a live music venue, although they do employ a DJ on a Friday and Saturday night. The music policy varies from 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's classic pop music to indie, rock and modern chart music.

On December 14, 1999, former Beatle Paul McCartney returned to the New Cavern Club stage to play his last gig of the 20th century publicising his new album Run Devil Run.

The Cavern Club is still open as one of the UK's most famous venues. It has around 40 live bands performing every week; both tribute and original bands, although the majority perform their own material.

The venue now operates a pay to play policy where bands lose a prepaid deposit if they do not gather a fixed number of audience members there to see them. This practice has been said to be at odds with the club's alleged commitment to supporting new live music in Liverpool

The Cavern is also used as a tour warm-up venue with semi-secret gigs announced at the last moment. The Arctic Monkeys did this is on October 2005 with Thomas Bohane, as well as many others before them, such as Travis and Oasis.

Tributes to the Cavern Club

Tribute clubs exist in Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Adelaide.

A similar looking club was also featured in the opening sqeuence of the film Across the Universe, in homage to The Beatles' beginings, though the club's name was never mentioned.

External links

* [http://www.cavernclub.org/ Cavern City Tours]
* [http://www.liverpooltheatreguide.com/music/tickets.htm What's On At The Cavern Club, Liverpool]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2007/01/12/cavern_birthday_feature.shtml Cavern Club at fifty]


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