The Cavern Club Exterior on Mathew Street

Liverpool’s Cavern Club has been dubbed the most famous club in the world due to its eventful seven decades of life and we couldn't think of a more apt title for it to hold. 

The venue is steeped in musical history from helping to introduce the famous Merseybeat sound to the city, providing a stage for The Beatles to changing the face of music, giving Liverpool sweetheart Cilla Black a job in the cloakroom and allowing for countless grass roots musicians to kick start some huge careers, we've all heard of Queen and The Arctic Monkeys, right? 

Over the years The Cavern Club has seen its ups and downs but it will always be seen in Liverpool as a holy land, the place that helped turn Liverpool into the music city we know it as today. Have a look over The Cavern Club’s history to see how it has gained its world famous status today. 
 


1950s - Cavern Club Doors Open 

It all started on 16th January 1957 when the Cavern Club Doors were opened on Mathew Street. The owner, Alan Sytner named the club after the Paris jazz club, Le Caveau de La Huchette. Sytner intended for the club to be the top jazz venue outside of London. Topping the bill on opening night was the Merseysippi Jazz Band and over 600 jazz fans crammed inside the basement for an historic night of music. 

John Lennon’s first band, The Quarry Men performed their first gig at The Cavern Club on 7th August 1957 when the skiffle movement started to become popular. They wanted to sing rock ‘n’ roll songs but only Skiffle was allowed by the owner. Half way through the set John Lennon went rogue and along with the rest of the band dived into a rendition of  Elvis Presley’s “Don't be Cruel”. The song was met with a note from Sytner telling John Lennon to “cut out the rock ‘n’ roll!” - little did he know, rock ‘n’ roll would take over The Cavern Club in a few years time. 

Paul McCartney’s first appearance at The Cavern Club was with The Quarry Men on 24th January 1958. He joined the group in October 1957 after meeting Lennon at a church fair. 

1959 saw Sytner sell The Cavern Club to Ray McFall and he welcomed American Blues legends, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee to perform on the opening night of the club under its new management - thus starting the rise in blues and rock ‘n’ roll at the venue. 
 


1960s - The Beatles Play first Gig

The 1960s was probably the most historic decade for The Cavern Club as the blues and beat groups of Merseyside started to descend on the cellar. The first Beat night at the club was held on 25th May 1960 and featured a performance by Rory Storm and The Hurricanes whose drummer at the time was Ringo Starr! 

The 9th of February 1961 was a pivotal day in not only The Cavern Club’s history but also music history as The Beatles played their first gig on the Cavern’s stage. The line up of the band for their first gig was a little different to what we know it as now; at the time it consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best on drums.

Nine months later, Brian Epstein went along to The Cavern Club and saw The Beatles play for the first time on 9th November 1961. After seeing the potential in the band, he quickly signed up to be their manager and by June 1962 had secured them a recording contract with Parlophone Records. Ringo Starr was snapped up to become their drummer and he made his first appearance on The Cavern Club stage as a member of The Beatles on 19th August 1962 - cementing The Beatles as the band we know today.

Between 1961 to 1963 The Beatles made around 292 appearances at the club with their last gig being on 3rd August 1963. Their rise in popularity and the start of ‘Beatlemania’ meant that they had outgrew the small cellar at The Cavern Club and went on to play in some huge venues across the world.  

Unfortunately, on 28th February 1966 the club was forced to close due to Ray McFall having been declared bankrupt but it was quickly snapped up by Alf Geoghegan and Joe Davey who set about developing club. The British Prime Minister Harold Wilson officially opened The Cavern Club on 23rd July 1966 after it had been extended with a new entrance, souvenir shop, coffee lounge and eatery.    
 


1970s - Eric's

The 1970s brought with it another decade of extreme changes to The Cavern Club, starting with another change in ownership. Alf Geoghegan decided to retire and sold his company, Cavern Enterprises Ltd to Harry Waterman and Roy Adams and they continued to bring in a high standard of top bands and local musicians. The early days of Queen appeared at the Cavern Club on 31st October 1970 with other acts like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who following in their footsteps. Suzi Quatro was the last major recording artist to perform at the club before its final closure in 1973. 

British Rail took ownership of the warehouse block 8-12 Mathew Street containing The Cavern Club and its cellar in 1972. Their plan was to demolish the building to make way for a ventilation shaft for the city’s new underground railway network and work began to knock down the warehouse and fill in the original cellar. By 1973 the proposed ventilation site was never built as water was found underneath and the flat surface was later turned into a car park. 

A new Cavern Club opened across the road from the original on 27th May 1973 with the iconic sign hanging above the new entrance until it was blown down in 1992 in bad weather and destroyed. 

The new Cavern Club changed its name to the Revolution Club in March 1976 but it unfortunately closed again on 14th April 1976. Going through yet another name change, the club reopened on 1st October 1976 as Eric’s and welcomed some very influential local bands to its stage including Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Echo and the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes. 
 

#liverpoolgem #charleyontour

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1980s - Cavern Club Excavations 

The 1980s welcomed a series of developments to The Cavern Club as plans to excavate the buried remains of the original club’s cellar as part of a 7 million redevelopment project were announced. Unfortunately tests to the old cellar found that damage to the arches had been too badly damaged in the original demolition so reopening The Cavern Club in its original form would not have been possible 

In August 1983 thousands of bricks from the damaged archways from the original cellar went on sale for £5 each with proceeds from 5000 of the bricks sold going towards the Strawberry Field Children’s home. A further 15,000 bricks from The Cavern site were used on the authentic reconstruction of the new Cavern Club. 

On 26th April 1984 the Cavern Club was reopened alongside the Cavern Walks Shopping Centre, an authentic reconstruction of The Cavern Club cellar and a bar, restaurant and memorabilia shop. In February 1987 James McVite became the new owner of the club and returned it to its former glory by introducing live music on a Saturday afternoon and disco dance music in the evenings. Yet another closure upset the running of The Cavern Club when in December 1989 the club lost its licence, ending another decade of its roller coaster life.
 


1990s - Cavern City Tours 

In 1991 Cavern City Tours became the new owners of the famous club and found a balance between paying tribute to the past and welcoming up and coming bands to the stage with Manchester band Oasis being one of them. 

On 28th August 1993 the first Mathew Street Festival took place as over 20,000 people turned up to celebrate the life of the street and The Cavern Club.  

To end the 20th century and bring The Cavern Club into the new millenium, Paul McCartney announced on 3rd December 1999 that he couldn't think of a better way to end the century than with a rock ‘n’ roll party at The Cavern Club which he performed on 14th December 1999.  
 


2000s - 50 Years of the Cavern 

During the beginning of the 21st Century The Cavern Club celebrated its 50th anniversary and Liverpool was awarded the European Capital of Culture in 2008. The Cavern Club had not only managed to survive and maintain its iconic status as the most famous club in the world but also help to show how Liverpool was truly a city of culture. 

That #FridayFeeling anyone?

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2010 - Jessie J and Macca

The Cavern Club’s status has gone from strength to strength since the turn of the millenium and has been a vital part of the city’s music scene. The club welcomed British star Adele to its stage in 2011, Jessie J and James McCartney in 2012 and Yoko Ono in 2013.

The Cavern Celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017 with the unveiling of a Cilla Black statue outside the original entrance to the Cavern. 

In 2018 Paul McCartney announced he was going to perform a free secret gig at The Cavern Club on 26th July for only around 200 people. Fans queued up outside The Cavern from the night before assuming tickets would be given out there only for them to be told they were being given out across the city at The M&S Bank Arena. The lucky few who managed to claim their free ticket were treated to over two hours of Paul McCartney performing songs from his entire career. 



Visit the Cavern

Visitors from all over the world flock to the Cavern to enjoy live music all day every day from 10am and experience the history and nostalgia within the iconic club. 

Opening Times

MONDAY TO WEDNESDAY
Open 10am-midnight. Admission free.

THURSDAY
Open 10am to 1.30am. Admission free until 7pm, then £4 on the door and in advance.

FRIDAY
Open 10am to 2am.
910am – 12pm: FREE
12pm – 8pm: £2.50 (no re-entry)
8pm – 2am: £5.00 (no re-entry)
All Day / All Night ticket (re-entry allowed) – £6 or £5 in advance.

SATURDAY
Open 10am to 2am.
100am – 12pm: FREE
12pm – 8pm: £2.50 (no re-entry)
8pm – 2am: £5.00 (no re-entry)
All Day / All Night ticket (re-entry allowed) – £6 or £5 in advance.

SUNDAY
Open 10am to midnight.
10am – 12pm: FREE
12pm – 8pm: £2.50 (no re-entry)
8pm – 12am: £4.00 (no re-entry)
All Day / All Night ticket (re-entry allowed) – £5.00 or £4.00 in advance.


BLOG POST PROFILE

This blog post has been written by Sophie Shields, Digitial Marketing Assistant for Marketing Liverpool.

Sophie is from Liverpool, loves all things music, particularly the local music scene and Liverpool FC. 

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