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Beatles stages 1961 PDF Print E-mail

January - February - The Beatles are fully booked at various venues in Liverpool and the surrounding area.

Litherland Town Hall - 5 January 1961

St. John's Hall, Bootle, Lancashire - 6 January

Aintree Institute, Liverpool - 7 January

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 7 January

Aintree Institute, Liverpool - 13, 14 January

Casbah Coffee Club, West Derby - 15 January

Aintree Institute, Liverpool - 18 January

Alexandra Hall, Liverpool - 19 January

Aintree Institute, Liverpool - 21 January

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 21 January

Hambelton Hall, Liverpool - 25 January

Litherland Town Hall - 26 January

Aintree Institute, Liverpool - 27, 28 January

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 28 January

Casbah Coffee Club, West Derby - 29 January

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 30 January

Hambleton Hall, Huyton - 1 February

Litherland Town Hall - 2 February

St. John's Hall, Bootle, Lancashire - 3 February

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 4 February

Blair Hall, Walton, Liverpool - 5 February

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 6 February

Merseyside Civil Service Club, Liverpool - 7 February

Aintree Institute - 8 February

Hambleton Hall, Huyton - 8 February

Cavern Club, Liverpool - 9 February

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 10, 11 February

Aintree Institute - 10 February

Cassanova [sic] Club, Liverpool - 11 February

Casbah Coffee Club, West Derby - 12 February

Litherland Town Hall - 14 February

Cassanova Club, Liverpool - 14 February

Aintree Institute - 15 February

Hambleton Hall, Huyton - 15 February

Litherland Town Hall - 16 February

Cassanova Club, Liverpool - 16 February

St. John's Hall, Tuebrook, Liverpool - 17 February

Aintree Institute - 18 February

Casbah Coffee Club - 19 February

Litherland Town Hall - 21 February

Cassanova Club, Liverpool - 21 February

Cavern Club, Liverpool - 21 February

Hambleton Hall, Huyton - 22 February

Aintree Institute - 22 February

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard - 24 February

Lathom Hall, Seaforth - 25 February

Aintree Institute - 25 February

Casbah Coffee Club - 26 February

Litherland Town Hall - 28 February

Cassanova Club, Liverpool - 28 February

Cavern Club, Liverpool - 28 February

9 February 1961. Cavern Club, 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool. This marks the return to and first official performance by the Beatles at the Cavern Club. This is thanks to Bob Wooler who had been won over by the group during its performance at Litherland Town Hall and asked by his friend Mona Best to persuade the owner of the Cavern Club, Ray McFall to book the Beatles. Remember that the club had begun as a centre of jazz music but, largely thanks to the Beatles, had gradually transformed into a venue which was starting to play rock only. It should be said that the gigs here were played in the middle of the day when young working people gathered at the club in their lunch breaks. The Beatles' repertoire then included songs by the famous Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Waverley Brothers, and others.

21 February 1961, Cavern Club, Liverpool (midday), Casbah Coffee Club, West Derby (evening), Litherland Town Hall (late night). This day is the clearest example of how busy the year 1961 was for the Beatles. Judge for yourselves: two to three performances in 24 hours! And the same applied to nearly every day of that year during which the youngsters played at every conceivable venue - at cafes for young people and music schools and colleges, at concert halls and various clubs. It would be take up another chapter to list all their performances. We shall restrict ourselves to a few significant events:

11 March 1961. After a day-time session at the Aintree Institute, the Beatles played a 12-hour (!) concert called Rock Around The Clock - the first of several performances known as the Big Beat Sessions organised by Sam Leach at the Liverpool Jazz Society (later known as the Iron Door Club). Kingsize Taylor And The Dominoes, Rory Storm And The Hurricanes and Gerry And The Pacemakers featured alongside the Beatles on the bill.

21 March 1961. Cavern Club, Liverpool. This is the Beatles' first evening session at the Cavern Club.

Second visit to Hamburg, West Germany

27 March - 2 July 1961. Top Ten Club, Hamburg, West Germany (98 nights). After Peter Eckhorn, the owner of the Top Ten Club, had helped the Beatles to obtain permission to enter West Germany, John and his group arrived in Hamburg for the second time, to perform at the Top Ten Club, which was more prestigious than the earlier venues at which they had played. It was here that, for the first time, they wore black leather clothes and sported their famous haircuts (a' la Beatles) and the no less famous collarless jackets. Astrid Kirchherr was behind all these changes.

Almost simultaneously the group dispensed with Allan Williams's services as promoter. The group informed Allan Williams of this decision in a letter written by Stu. Around three months later Stuart Sutcliffe left the Beatles, giving as reasons the fact that he was planning to marry Astrid, who had since become his girlfriend, and the fact that he wasn't really interested in music and he wanted to go back to being an artist. John, who really loved Stu, said: Do what you like. But remember, if you ever decide to come back, there will be a place for you. Stu gave his bass guitar to Paul, who then became the Beatles' bass guitarist. The youngsters returned to Great Britain without Sutcliffe. Having returned home, the Beatles were swept further into the ever more turbulent whirlpool that was their musical life in Liverpool.

Virtually every day, pushing themselves harder and harder, they play wherever they can. They are recognised everywhere, their popularity grows, and they begin to be invited to appear in print in newspapers and receive coverage (6 July) in Mersey Beat - Billy Harry's weekly newspaper dedicated to Liverpool's beat music. People begin asking in shops for the record they released in Germany. Finally, the first historical day is reached - 28 October 1961 - when the young Kurt Raymond Jones конец [end] [sic] goes into the NEMS shop in Liverpool and asks the sales assistants if they have the Beatles' record "My Bonnie".

They do not have the record. However, this grabs the attention of Brian Epstein, who knows that the Beatles are Liverpudlians, playing on a neighbouring street to his shop, and that they often drop in to the shop, although they don't actually buy anything. Epstein is surprised and decides he wants to see the youngsters with his own eyes.

9 November 1961. Cavern Club, Liverpool. This is a very important day in the Beatles' story: this is the day Brian Epstein, together with his assistant, Alistair Taylor, goes to the Cavern Club and, "having become immersed in the humid, stuffy, dark and resonant atmosphere", meets the Beatles. This is how he describes his first encounter with the four in this autobiography "A Cellarful of Noise" (Epstein, Brian, A Cellarful of Noise. Ann Arbur: Popular Culture UK, 1964).

Later that day, in the evening, the Beatles performed at Litherland Town Hall. And that's how it was until the end of the year: gigs and yet more gigs. And among them are some very significant moments which will go on to influence the Beatles' story.

3 December 1961. This is the first time the Beatles meet Brian Epstein to discuss the possibility of his becoming their manager. A sharp dispute meant that no agreement was signed on this occasion. The only thing they did agree on that day was the date of their next meeting.

The middle of December 1961. Mike Smith, manager of Decca's A&R (Artistes and Repertoire) department went to the Cavern Club and, having seen the Beatles, invited them to audition for his company in London. (On 1 January the Beatles play fifteen songs at Decca's studio and leave full of hope, encouraged by the words of Mike Smith who said everything they had done that day was fantastic). Alas, cruel fate in the form of Dick Rowe, head of A&R, was to thwart these high hopes ... something for which he would later chastise himself.

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