Drums! A hard driving, hard pounding, fast and heavy, 4/4, bass-drum laden 'Atomic' beat—thump thud thump thud—thump thud thump thud—was the essence of what was to emerge—worldwide—as the unique sound of 'Merseybeat'.
And the places the sound emerged from—the cellar clubs—the jive hives—the ballrooms—were to be found all over Merseyside.
'527' CLUB | LEWIS'S DEPARTMENT STORE
28 November 1962. The Beatles played the 'Young Idea Dance' at the '527' Club on the top floor of the department store. It wasn't a regular club venue—but a special set up for young staff members. By all accounts Spike Jones and Sandra Dudley were there that night—and Paul McCartney dedicated the song 'P.S. I Love You' to the two young lovebirds. Nice one, Macca.
"THERE'S A PLACE…WHERE I CAN GO…"
CASBAH COFFEE CLUB | 8 HAYMAN'S GREEN | WEST DERBY
This very popular and justifiably famous ‘teenagers’ club was opened in September 1958 by Mona Best, in the basement of her large Victorian-style home, way out in the suburbs of Liverpool, as a place for her son, Peter, and his friends to meet, drink coffee and Coca-Cola, and jive to the latest 45-rpm records played on a Dansette record player.
It was so successful they installed a juke-box and invited local groups to play ‘live’ on weekends. One of the bands that played regularly was The Quarrymen—John Lennon's first group.
Pete Best began playing drums and formed a group called The Blackjacks, which proved very popular with beat fans. When The Beatles were later offered a contract to play Hamburg—if they found themselves a regular drummer—they asked Pete to join them. He did—and all five Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe, and Pete Best—set off to play The Indra Club, in St Pauli, for Bruno Koschmeider.
The Casbah Coffee Club had 2000 members in its heyday. It also has the distinction of being where—over bottles of Coke—the nascent Beatles met and discussed the fine details of their first contract with Brian Epstein .
Now re-opened and fully restored to its former glory, the Casbah Coffee Club—all seven of its original interlocked cellar rooms intact—is one of the key Beatles’ sites that still has something of the original rockin’ vibe.
THE JACARANDA CLUB | 23 SLATER STREET
The coffee bar-by-day/club-by-night (based on the famous 'Two I's' coffee bar in Soho, London) once owned by Allan Williams—The Beatles' first promoter-cum-manager. A much needed hang-out for the band in the very early days. They played a dozen or so gigs down in the basement. It was from here that John, Stu, Paul, George, and Pete set off for their very first trip to Hamburg.
The 'Jac' looked a little worse for wear as it approached the millennium—the sign boards no doubt jemmied off so that they could adorn a pub or club somewhere else in the world—some place that valued The Beatles far more.
THE BLUE ANGEL NIGHT CLUB | 108 SEEL STREET | L1
Formerly the Wyvern Social Club, this is where, on the 10th May 1960, the London impresario, Larry Parnes and Billy Fury, his star pop singer, auditioned for a backing group for a national tour. The Silver Beetles didn't make the cut, but were offered an 8-day tour of Scotland, backing Johnny Gentle—another of Parnes' stable of stars. Allan Williams later changed the name of the club, redecorated it to suit 'ladies and gentlemen of taste', and over the next few years it became the late-night watering hole of choice for The Beatles and other Liverpudlian beat groups.