Monday, February 21, 2011

How Did They "Turn" the Cavern?

February 21, 1961

The Beatles play three venues today, and all three are certainly among the most important.  They play their lunchtime at the Cavern followed by evening appearances at the Cassanova Club and Litherland Town Hall.  If you are into fantasy, this would be a great day to travel back in time, follow them around, and see all three shows.
Stage of the Cavern in 1961
London Road, site of the Cassanova Club today (left side of street)

Tomorrow, the Beatles play at the Aintree Institute and run the teddy boy gauntlet at Hambleton Hall.

Gerry and the Pacemakers were another band playing these same places and would in future years achieve some measure of success as members of Brian Epstein's "stable of artists".  They took a Beatles reject song, "How Do You Do It" and made it into a hit early in  the British Merseybeat craze of 1963.  Front man Gerry Marsden gives the impression of being a very nice person and the Pacemakers fine musicians, but you can tell from the video they just don't generate the same electricity in person as the Beatles.  A band like the Beatles comes around only once in a hundred years.

About the Cavern, in his book "I'll Never Walk Alone", Gerry remembers, "Paul McCartney and I often approached the club manager Ray McFall on behalf of our bands asking for dates there - it would be prestigious to play right in the centre of town.  But he refused us for what seemed like months."  Economics and the fading fortunes of traditional jazz in Liverpool have finally begun to change his mind.  For the Beatles, it was one more step up the ladder.

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