I haven't done one of these in a while and I decided to revisit my roots. I actually end up learning quite a lot when I do these so I hope that you can learn a thing or two as well. I enjoy doing it and I learn something at the same time and who doesn't enjoy a good two birds with one stone type situation?
Beatles play their first gig as a house band
There are a lot of firsts for the Beatles and if you dig into the history of one of the biggest (if not the biggest) bands of all time, there were a lot of things that could have shaped their history very differently. It is easy to imagine that they would have "made it" anyway, but they had their share of bumps in the road as well. When they played their first gig as a house band at Liverpool's Cavern Club they likely had no delusions that they were going to make it big in the U.K., let alone become the hottest band in the world whose music is still celebrated nearly 60 years later.
The year was 1961
they would later play slightly larger gigs
This was NOT the first time that the members of the Beatles ever played together and it is important to note that Ringo was not even part of the band yet. Various members of the band had played under a number of different band names especially "The Quarrymen." They had actually played this club before but without Paul McCartney, who was away at scout camp of all things.
The "Beatles" (known by other names) had played at this club 4 times before, the first time being when it was a jazz club that allowed music other than jazz only at lunchtime. The band was paid only 5 pounds and the show wasn't advertised at all. They were so popular that on their 4th gig, they were signed as the house band and went on to play many many nights and eventually succeeded in converting the Cavern Club into a primarily rock and roll establishment. More than a year later, they would perform here with Little Richard, who was already very popular in the United States with 18 hit singles on the charts.
Again, it is very conceivable that The Beatles would have "made it" anyway, but even Paul McCartney acknowledges that a great deal of their early success had a lot to do with performing with the already famous American who gave them tips and even worked with members on their vocals.
John Lennon stated in an interview that “It’s hard for people to imagine how thrilled the four of us were to even see any great rock ‘n’ roller in the flesh. We were almost paralyzed with adoration.”
The Beatles would go on to play between 275 to 292 performances at the still famous Cavern Club (it varies depending on who you ask) and they played their final show there in August of 1963, where they were paid a mere 300 pounds for the grand finale after recording "She Loves You."
It is worth noting that the club went out of business in 1965. Coincidence?
Everyone has to start somewhere, and this tiny little club in Liverpool is where one of the biggest names in music had their first chance at stardom as it was the first time they were a regular fixture. Sure they had played other gigs (mostly for very little money) but it was the Cavern Club that game them a big push to get a record deal and eventually cause Beatle-mania to cross oceans and take over the world.
The original wooden stage from the club was broken up and sold to raise money when the club was refurbished. These small portions of the stage are worth 1500 Pounds (nearly $2000) today.
The club was demolished in 1973 to make way for a subway system but was later rebuilt on 75% of the original space, according to records 15,000 of the original bricks were used in the build.
It remains a very popular tourist attraction to this day and it all began today 59 years ago. I would imagine they have a massive party planned for next year!