Tuesday, May 29, 2018

There In The Beginning, And In The End - the Cavern Club

Sadly, our Beatles tour bus dropped us off at our last stop, the world-famous Cavern Club.  Sadly, because I could have ridden on those wheels for hours, listening to the tour guide's stories supplemented by a Beatles soundtrack, and checking out the childhood stomping grounds of some of my favorite musicians of all time.
The Cavern Club first opened its doors in a cellar at 10 Mathew Street in Liverpool on January 16, 1957, featuring the Merseysippi Jazz Band playing before a crowd of more than 500 fans of jazz.
On August 7th of that year, the Quarrymen Skiffle Group debuted, a six-man band led by one John Lennon.  Paul McCartney would make his debut with the band there the following January.

Then came Thursday, February 9, 1961, when the Beatles, now consisting of Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best on drums made their debut at the club.   They would continue on as the club's signature act.

That November, Liverpool businessman Brian Epstein, the owner of a nearby record store, stopped by the club for lunch and saw the Beatles for the first time.  He offered to become their manager and secured a recording contract for them by the following June.
In all, the band would perform there 292 times.
Then four lads from Liverpool left their hometown for global stardom, the Cavern Club was elevated to legendary status and became a weigh station for hundreds of other artists.
Who else played their tunes from this vaunted stage during that ensuing decade?  Oh, a few other musical acts known as the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Hollies, the Kinks, Elton John Black Sabbath, Queen, and my other favorite British band, the Who.
A respectable lineup.

Here's where the story reaches heartbreaking proportions.
The club closed in May of 1973 and was demolished.  Yes, you read that right.
It reopened across the street, in a new address, but the original fell to the bulldozers.
And it gets worse.  In 1985, new owners of the club decided to wipe out the Beatles legacy, thinking the group had run its course, and opted for a disco.  Shockingly, it failed after just over one year.
Cavern City Tours bought the club in the 1990s, and began restoring it to its former glory.
McCartney would return there for a concert in 1999.
Adele performed there in 2011, a fact not lost on both Jackie and Heather, who were quite pleased to see their fave performer's name adorning one of the bricks in the club wall.
Happily, whilst there, I got to raise a pint in honor of the four lads from Liverpool, as a solo musician played his afternoon setlist on the iconic stage, complete with, of course, some Beatles covers. 
For those of you who've come along for this Magical Mystery Tour ride, I hope the pics helped give a taste of the flavor of the most nostalgia-filled, emotional, and inspirational bus ride I've ever had the pleasure of taking part in.  Music historian and fellow Beatles buff Paul Marion frequently quotes bucket list items in terms of  wandering the annals of music history.  Rarely do I indulge in making such a list, as life has so much to offer, it seems nigh impossible to create a list that would encompass everything I've wanted to drink in or experience, especially with my family by my side.  (Though a pilgrimage to Asbury Park and the Stone Pony with Andrew a few years back did foot the bill.)
But in this case, with the Magical Mystery Tour, I'm willing to add one colossal CHECK to that list.

We're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you have enjoyed the show
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
We're sorry but it's time to go
Sgt. Pepper's lonely, Sgt. Pepper's lonely
Sgt. Pepper's lonely, Sgt. Pepper's lonely
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
We'd like to thank you once again
Sgt. Pepper's one and only Lonely Hearts Club Band
It's getting very near the end
Sgt. Pepper's lonely, Sgt. Pepper's lonely
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

And finally, with a nod to my favorite of the Fab Four, John

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

No comments: