The Beatles in Liverpool- In association with Merseyguide
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Merseybeat Takes a Grip

While the Beatles continued to wow crowds in the Cavern and the now the rest of the country, more and more new bands began to grace the Cavern stage. Cilla Black, the Four Jays and the Searchers were all enjoying new successes at the club, but it was Jerry and the Pacemakers who were the most notable of opponents to the Beatles stranglehold on the club. The band made many appearances with the Beatles at the Cavern and at one point Gerry himself actually joined the Beatles - for one night only as stand in for John Lennon! This helping of other bands wasn't too uncommon at the Cavern, in fact the great camaraderie at the Cavern was said to be the essence of the whole Merseybeat scene.

By 1963 and under the wing of their new manger - Brian Epstein, the Beatles had become a nation-wide phenomena. Their performances at the club became fewer and fewer until unknowingly the band played their last gig at the club on August 3rd 1963. The Beatles had outgrown the Cavern and the £600 paid to the band on that last night actually left the club's manager (McFall) out of pocket. The Beatles where about to take their second prize - the UK.

Venue of Legends
Although the Beatles had left forever, the Cavern's loyal crowds would not be disappointed by who was to follow in the footsteps of their heroes. The Cavern's exposure during the Beatles reign had elevated the club to legendary status and was soon to be frequented by the century's most famous musicians. The club even had its own radio show on Radio Luxembourg!

January 24th 1964 was the date that Blues hit the Cavern in guise of the legendary Yardbirds. Surprisingly, the band was awarded at the end their set with a fairly damp response from the crowd. This was probably due to the crowd's uneducated ear towards the sound of R&B. But regardless, the bands lead guitarist Eric Clapton would return to the club a year later to much more appraise.

Following this, a young Rolling Stones played their Cavern debut on November 5th. The gig was a success and noted by Bill Wyman in his biography. Others that year who played the Cavern included: John Lee hooker, Howlin Wolf, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Memphis Slim.

By 1965 the Cavern has reached its pinnacle and was suffering financially (desperately in need of a major refurbishment), but nethertheless great acts continued to play the club. The line up for the 31st March read like this: Gene Vincent, Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, Manfred Mann, the Kinks and the Clayton Squares. But topping that, on 31st October the 'Who' played the Cavern for their first and last time. The gig was apparently one of the best the club had ever seen.

In 1966 just after an appearance by Elton John at the club, news spread that the Cavern was heavily in financial debt and might have to close. Immediately local bands got together to host massive 12-hour benefit gig to raise money for the club. Sadly this was not enough and the Cavern was officially closed down.

 


31st March 1965
60's Legends


Gene Vincent
Sandie Shaw
Petula Clark
Manfred Mann
The Kinks
T he Clayton Squares


Rolling Stones
A 'young' Rolling Stones

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