Monday, 21 March 2011

50 Years Anniversary For The Beatles "First" Cavern Club Gig

Today is March 21, a date which marks The Beatles' first real concert at the Cavern Club. Now you might wonder why the italic on real, well it's a bit complicated and a bit about how one define a concert. If you do a Google search for "The Beatles first cavern club concert", March 21 isn't your first result.

                                                       The Beatles at the Cavern                                                        

Let's jump a couple of hours back, to this morning, when my old man comes rushing into my room and tells me how he "just heard on the radio that this day marks the 50 years anniversary for The Beatles preforming on The Cavern. And how come he hear this kind of stuff on national radio first, and not on my blog?"

Well I obviously can't have this one hanging on me, national radio better than my blog? No thanks, so
when I get home from work I start my little research on the topic, by checking a couple of Beatles books. Here's the references for the date, of the first Cavern Club concert, I found:
"something [entering the stage] the Beatles would do 275 times between 9 February 1961 and their final performance there on 3 August 1963"
-Barry Miles' Paul McCartney - Many Years From Now (1997) (p 80)
Another source that supports the February 9 is the time-line in Ian MacDonald's Revolution In The Head (1994).
Checking a third Beatles book, Cynthia Lennon's John (2005), is finnally giving me the date I've been looking for: March 21! But now there are two against one on the whole first concert date thing. Now if you are like me you'll check Wikipedia for this kind of stuff, and I did, but Wikipedia claims that the first Beatles Cavern concert was on February 21.
At this point I'm thinking that February 9 is the right date, because I also found a couple of articles that celebrated this as the 50 year anniversary, this is when I stumble on this article, which in one paragraph explains everything:
Jon Keats, of the Cavern, says: “The appearance on February 9 was an unadvertised session, and their first advertised lunchtime appearance was on February 21. Their first evening show was March 21.

Setting a few bullets to clear it up once for all:
  • February 9 was the first time they played on the Cavern, from what I understand the Cavern had some kind of lunch hour concert and on Februrary 9 1961 The Beatles played in that lunch hour gig, but "the gig wasn't publicised", to quote the article again.
  • The February 21 gig was another of these lunch hour gigs, and as far as I understand it was publicised who would play, unlike the Feb 9 one.
  •  The March 21 gig was the first evening concert, quoting Wikipedia here: "Tuesday has become "Bluegenes guest night", and tonight's event features Dale Walker & the Jay Walkers, the Remo Four and the Beatles"
For those who don't know, in early 1961 the Cavern was a jazz club, so rock and roll bands were only allowed in lunch hour and apparently Bluesgenes guest night.
So today is the 50 year anniversary for the first evening concert, but I would still point towards February 9 as the first Cavern Club gig, even if it was unofficial.

Hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed learning and sharing this knowledge, which was something new to me.