Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening) – George Martin watches The Beatles perform

An evening performance at the Cavern Club, scene of so many Beatles shows in 1962. There was, however, one difference: the presence of Parlophone producer George Martin in the audience.

Martin and his assistant Judy Lockhart-Smith – who would later become his wife – were unlikely spectators at the sweaty underground club. The reason was that Martin was considering the possibility of recording The Beatles in front of their home crowd, and releasing the live recordings as the group’s début album.

Of course, he decided against the move, and the Please Please Me album was recorded and released early in 1963. A key factor in George Martin’s decision was the fact that the sweaty, hot atmosphere in the club would be unsuitable for EMI’s expensive recording equipment.

The Beatles were on a bill with The Fourmost, The Blue Jeans and the Zenith Six Jazz Band. Martin expressed an interest in The Fourmost’s comedy routines, which prompted Brian Epstein to offer them a management contract.

We nearly blew it as George invited us to London and we worked up Happy Talk for the audition. It’s a tricky piece and we were pleased with ourselves, but George Martin said that we were playing the wrong chords.
Dave Lovelady, drummer, The Fourmost
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

This was The Beatles’ 265th known Cavern Club performance took place on this day, and their 117th evening show.

Although the precise number of their Cavern performances is not known, The Beatles played at least 155 lunchtime and 125 evening shows. Their final performance at the underground venue took place on 3 August 1963.

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