This weekend marks a milestone for the world-famous Cavern Club in Liverpool – nothing less than 60 years since the iconic music venue first opened it’s doors in 1957. Many happy returns Cavern!
It’s quite right to say many happy returns, because that’s exactly what I’ve done – I’ve returned to The Cavern very happily many times. Albeit I’m a relative newcomer, my first visit was only six years ago in 2011.
As a child I have some very fond, albeit limited memories of the Beatles. Being carried out of bed one evening to watch Yellow (or more accurately black & white) Submarine on TV. Finding some reel-to-reel recordings of Eleanor Rigby and thinking I might have stumbled across lost studio tapes and then studying the Beatles in a secondary school music lesson.
When I was offered the chance to photograph The Rockits in the world-famous venue during International Beatleweek 2011 all of those memories came flooding back. Nothing though had prepared me for the electric atmosphere, the buzz, the crowds and the heat of The Cavern. I think it’s fair to say I was hooked within minutes.
One of my all time favourite photographs of The Cavern was created within those first few minutes in the venue – my good friend Chris Grindrod of The Rockits playing his Hofner bass with a Vox AC30 and the iconic arches in the background. It’s an image which is a firm favourite of mine – and I think a number of other people’s too. It’s been used widely and it’s always great to see it being displayed.
A few weeks after that Beatleweek I was invited back with the challenge of photographing Shannon’s amazing larger-than-life four piece canvas artwork of The Beatles for the Cavern. That only presented a few challenges – working in a narrow, dim corridor with the art protected by shiny perspex… But the resulting image can be seen on many pieces of cavern merchandise today. That visit also yielded some of the now iconic photographs of the empty Cavern which have also been recently widely used.
Since that time The Cavern has become a regular venue for both working and relaxing. I’ve photographed every International Beatleweek since 2011 and many other events throughout the years too. Not just live music photography, there have been corporate events, portraits, formal events. Work in the Cavern obviously, but also in theatres, hotels, the Town Hall, St. George’s Hall and outdoor venues all around Liverpool, all as a direct result of this one venue.
Through the last six years I’ve met and worked with some amazing names. Gerry Marsden, The Searchers, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Mark Hudson, Earl Slick, Clem Burke, Donovan, Brian ‘Boots’ Jones are just a few. Then there are the musicians I’ve had the pleasure to work with, from Great Britain, North and South America, Europe and as far away as Japan. More than that though, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with literally hundreds and hundreds of amazing people.
I owe a huge thank you to the Cavern City Tours directors, staff and resident artists and to the Cavern staff team for their hospitality and the opportunities they’ve provided, it’s been an absolute pleasure.
So Cavern Club, my heartfelt congratulations on 60 years of being the most famous (and awesome) club in the world. Thank you for every minute I’ve been able to share of it – here’s to the next sixty years too!!!.
All images are the original work ©Stuart Homer Photography. All Rights Reserved.