P R O F I L E
The Cavern Beatles are officially endorsed
and authorised by:
The current cast of The Cavern Beatles show includes...
|Paul Tudhope as John Lennon||Chris O'Neill as Paul McCartney|
as George Harrison
Ramsden as Ringo Starr
:: TELEVISION CREDITS
In November 1993, NRK-TV Norway filmed the group in concert for a series of 6 half-hour programmes entitled "Men Beatles kom aldri til Bergen", which were broadcast throughout Scandinavia in January/February 1994.
After the groups performance on the daytime TV show PEBBLE MILL, in March 1994, the BBC were swamped with letters about them. which resulted in a repeat showing on POINTS OF VIEW with Anne Robinson.
:: SUPPORTING CREDITS
:: CORPORATE FUNCTIONS
Cavern Beatles have performed at
corporate functions and product
launches on 5 continents.
have been many Beatle mimics over the years, some have been more
successful than others. It is significant that the only such group
to have received a review and photograph in the "BEATLES
BOOK", has been the Cavern Beatles. The afore mentioned
magazine has been published every month since 1963 and is distributed
worldwide. It has to be said that they are not usually impressed
by Beatle impersonators, the Cavern Beatles appear to be the exception.
The very favourable article was written by TONY BARROW who was the
Beatles Press Officer between 1962 & 1966, he also wrote the sleeve
notes for the first 3 Beatle L.P.'s
At a promotion at Abbey Road Studios in October 1992, The Cavern Beatles were used in a film made in conjunction with Apple, to celebrate 30 years since the release of the " Love Me Do" single.
1999 saw the Cavern Beatles recreate the famous Abbey Road album cover
for the Planet Pledge campaign to promote re-cycling of waste products.
The band were photographed with Anthea Turner and were featured widely
in UK national and local press.
In 2001, The
band recorded the voices for American Software company, Music
Playground's, play-along versions of Beatle songs. The program was
demonstrated to Paul McCartney in New York City, where he played along
to a version of I Saw Her Standing There - backing vocals provided by
The Cavern Beatles.
In February 2002, Rick and Roy (in Haré Georgeson), performed at "The Concert for George" at the Liverpool Empire. Their set of 4 songs was watched from the wings by Sir Paul McCartney, who was mighty impressed and said that "George would have loved that". The band led the 'My Sweet Lord' finale of the concert, and were joined on stage by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Ralph McTell, Pete Wylie, The Merseybeats and members of The Haré Krisna Temple, with Macca singing along from the wings.
:: about THE CAVERN
The Cavern Club in Liverpool is the cradle of British pop music. Impressively, 50 years after its foundation, it survives and thrives as a contemporary music venue. Through those five eventful decades – before, during and after The Beatles’ reign – the legendary cellar at 10 Mathew Street has seen its share of setbacks yet has played a role in each epoch of music, from 1950s jazz to 21st century indie rock. On this album are some of the many hallowed names who have rocked its crypt-like confines and breathed its (formerly) rather inferior air.
Included here are the artists who helped to make the Cavern what it was, and were themselves shaped by the Cavern. Here, as well, are musicians who came along because every act should play the Cavern at least once in its lifetime. How many club venues could boast a roll-call as stellar as the track listing of this CD? Yet each of these acts has, at some time or other, made the descent down those fabled steps. The joint’s most celebrated DJ, Bob Wooler, once dubbed "the Best of Cellars". In fact, with due respect the Marquee, CBGB’s and the rest, the Cavern is the best-known rock club on the planet.
More than this, the Club’s story is a microcosm of the city in which it stands – a classic Liverpool tale of drama, disaster, romance and rebirth. The Cavern began as a dash of exotic fantasy in urban grime, grew so famous that its survival preoccupied the country’s top politician, yet was so undervalued in its home town that they demolished it. Perversely, it took the death of the Cavern’s most adored alumni, John Lennon, to trigger the Club’s reincarnation. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
The Cavern was born in a warehouse basement built to service Liverpool’s teeming 19th century waterfront. Hidden amid a warren of cobbled passages by the city’s shopping and business districts, Mathew Street was a dingy, crooked canyon unknown to anyone who didn’t work in its gaunt store-rooms or drink in its only cheerful corner, the tiny Grapes pub. That all changed in 1957 when a local promoter called Alan Sytner dreamed of emulating the Parisian Left Bank jazz clubs, those subterranean dives where femmes fatales and French philosophers met to escape the straight world upstairs. Merely to imagine such a place in mundane Liverpool was a romantic vision indeed, but Sytner’s plan was a winner. On the Cavern’s opening night, 16 January 1957, 600 fans crammed inside to see The Merseysippi Jazz Band (like the Cavern, they’re still going strong) and about 1500 were left outside.
Though jazz was hot in the late 1950s, a new musical mood was gathering force across Britain, especially in Liverpool. Skiffle, the folk style with a rock’n’roll influence, played DIY-style on cheap guitars and domestic utensils, threw up hundreds of teenage acts including John Lennon’s Quarrymen, who soon included Paul McCartney. They played the Cavern, as did Ringo Starr in a rival skiffle act. Under the Club’s new owner Ray McFall, from 1959 the jazz identity of the Cavern began giving way to the musical revolution now brewing in the city. Beefing up their sound with imported US influences, the groups had evolved a distinctive Liverpool style that would soon be christened Merseybeat.
The Quarrymen begat The Beatles, of course, who became the Cavern’s signature act and were talent-spotted here by Brian Epstein, the suave young businessman from a nearby record store. Alongside other Cavern regulars such as Cilla Black (who worked for a time in the cloak-room) and Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Beatles led a Liverpudlian takeover of British pop in 1963. In turn they inspired the British Invasion of America itself, effecting a transformation of global pop culture that shapes the world we live in today. No small achievement for a dank little fruit’n’veg depot in backstreet Liverpool.
The Beatles played the Cavern almost 300 times, including lunchtime sessions. Along with Hamburg, it’s unquestionably the place where their musical identity was forged and it was the nucleus of an early fan-base that was to spread around the globe. Many have maintained the band was its best in those sweaty gigs, rocking furiously, experimenting with the first Lennon & McCartney compositions, learning stagecraft through the exchange of wisecracks with an audience only inches way from their Cuban-heeled boots. The band themselves were always nostalgic about the Cavern. In the fractured final days they attempted, poignantly, to rediscover their lost solidarity as a tough young Liverpool combo. The spirit that informed Get Back was the spirit of the Cavern.
In the wake of the Beatle boom the Cavern became a prestige port of call for everyone from The Rolling Stones to Queen, who each played early gigs here. In truth it was a pretty basic kind of place, a disinfected dungeon. Descending the slimy steps from Mathew Street the visitor was plunged into an underworld whose air was a rancid fug of body odour, cigarette smoke, hamburger smells and a little something from the toilets. But the venue’s triple tunnels gave an almighty acoustic boost to any rock band – in those early days of puny amplification, the Cavern sound was uniquely powerful and its atmosphere electrifying. In the early 1960s it was the most exciting shrine of the youth revolution.
But even at the height of its fame the Cavern was not a secure business. As Merseybeat passed from favour, so the Club’s iconic status waned (while the Council grew ever more alarmed at that infamous lack of sanitation). Still, its closure in 1966 came as such a shock that it quickly attracted new investors and was re-opened by no less a personage than the Prime Minister of the day, Harold Wilson. Later years saw the Cavern adapt to modern customs with the introduction of alcohol and the addition of a disco room. Sadly, its historic standing didn’t stop the Council closing it in 1973 to allow for work on an underground railway line. The ancient warehouse was demolished while the cellar itself, rubble-filled, lingered like a sealed tomb until 1981.
Yet something in the Cavern’s spirit refused to die. A short-lived "New Cavern" opened across the street, was then re-named Eric’s and spawned a whole new wave of Liverpool stars, from Elvis Costello to Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Meanwhile, Lennon’s murder in 1980 awoke the city of Liverpool from its apathetic indifference to the Beatle heritage. In 1984 the real Cavern site was reclaimed and an exact replica of the old Club was built in situ, using 15,000 bricks from the original cellar. This is the Cavern of today, proudly back at 10 Mathew Street, an authentic and evocative location that draws visitors and bands from across the world. Obviously it’s the ultimate place of pilgrimage for Beatle fans – and much less hazardous than a certain London pedestrian crossing – but it’s an important modern venue, too. In recent years the Cavern has hosted memorable shows by Arctic Monkeys, Travis, Embrace, K.T. Tunstall and Liverpool’s own The Coral, to name only a few.
most memorable show of all, though, was on the night of 14
December, 1999, when the Cavern marked the new Millennium with
a back-to-basics gig by Paul McCartney. It goes without saying
that the Club was packed, but in fact a far wider audience
watched as well, thanks to a pioneering webcast that broke new
ground in a high-tech medium undreamt of in Paul’s early
Cavern days. The latterday Club has a larger additional stage,
as well as its faithful facsimile of the vintage model; it
occupies over half of the original space, and the stage
McCartney played upon is merely feet away from the site of
those first Quarrymen appearances.
Paul Du Noyer’s history of the Mersey music scene, "Liverpool: Wondrous Place" is published by Virgin Books.
© Fab Productions 2011