The legendary Cavern Club is still as busy today as it was when it first opened back in 1957 as a jazz club - except today it's appeal is World famous....
Liverpool's Mathew Street today is a mecca for all Beatles fans Worldwide but when it first opened it was only jazz music which bounced off it's cavern walls by owner Alan Sytner. Being used as a fruit warehouse at the time, he leased the underground rooms and modeled them on similar clubs he visited in Paris. Popular with skiffle groups at the time, local band The Quarrymen managed to secure a booking there but it was almost to be there last. Band member John Lennon persuaded the rest of the band to slip in a little Rock 'N' Roll number that was a hit for a certain Elvis Presley. Although their cards were marked from the start, their popularity increased considerably when new band members Paul McCartney and George Harrison appeared with them. It was during this time the club was sold and the emerging Blues and Beat hip music replaced the jazz scene of old.
Thursday 9 February 1961 was the date to be immortalised in pop history when the newly renamed Beatles first performed there after gaining valuable experience gigging in Berlin clubs. The band the Cavern had before they left for Germany re-emerged as a tight group with confident live performances. The Liverpool music scene loved their new sound as did a certain Brian Epstein . After some 292 appearances at the club, 3rd August 1963 would see their last as their first recording of 'She Loves You', and the rest as they say is history. Although the club closed soon after, such was it's status that the local MP persuaded the then PM Harold Wilson to get it re-opened 3 years later. Any band of note wanted to play the cavern this time round but still it wasn't enough to keep it open when in 1973 it closed in advance of a new underground rail network. Although the rail project was abandoned, the filled in cellars were too badly damaged to be repaired and so a new 'Cavern' was built just up the street using some 15,000 original bricks salvaged from the old site.
Today owners Bill Heckle and Dave Jones have done a proud job in keeping the Cavern alive by daily performances with many big names clamoring to appear there, including Adele, Jessie J and Jake Bugg to name but a few. In fact the venue is often used as a tour warm-up venue for big music names and many last-minute announcements has resulted in the keen eyed audience being treated to an intimate gig of a huge act or singer.
On the night we visited the Cavern, their resident tribute Beatles band 'Cavern Club Beatles' were on stage in the Live Lounge set aside from the main club area. Liverpool brothers Jimmy and Tony Coburn become Paul & John alongside Steve Finnigan and LIPA graduate Paul Jones. Playing through an impressive set of hits and album tracks, they worked the excited crowd with confidence and ease. "Close your eyes" so starts one of the 'fab 4's hits and so it was for us as we were transported back to the early sixties with the sound of the music echoing around the Cavern once more.
'The Most Famous Club In The World' is alive and well. Liverpool are just happy that it exists today as it always has - pleasing music lovers the world over!
The Cavern Club is open 7 days a week and situated on 10 Mathew St, Liverpool L2 6RE