The Beatles’ final Cavern Club show

After nearly 300 performances at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, The Beatles’ final show at the venue took place on 3 August 1963.

It was well known that The Beatles had outgrown the Cavern by this time, and their regular fans were grudgingly aware that their popularity could only be served by bigger venues.

The crowds outside were going mad. By the time John Lennon had got through the cordon of girls, his mohair jacket had lost a sleeve. I grabbed it to stop a girl getting away with a souvenir. John stitched it back on. They may have altered their style elsewhere, but they didn’t do it at the Cavern. They were the same old Beatles, with John saying, “Okay, tatty-head, we’re going to play a number for you.’ There was never anything elaborate about his introductions.
Paddy Delaney, Cavern Club doorman
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

Tickets for the final show had gone on sale at 21 July at 1.30pm, and sold out within 30 minutes.

Ticket for The Beatles' final Cavern Club show, 3 August 1963

That August appearance only came about because Brian Epstein couldn’t pull them out of an appearance at the Grafton the night before. Les Ackerley [actually Albert Kinder] said ‘I’ve got them under contract,’ and Epstein was furious because, by then, he had other things in mind for them. He was calling Ackerley all sorts of names, but he didn’t use four-letter words as he never did that. Ackerley had a barring clause preventing The Beatles appearing in Liverpool before but not after that appearance, so Brian asked us to take The Beatles for the Cavern on the following night, which was a Saturday. I resented this as he was only doing it to get at Ackerley, and anyway, I had booked all the groups for Saturday 3 August. If I’d said no, he would have gone to Ray McFall, who would have said, ‘Of course we’ll take them.’

The Beatles were paid £300, which was quite a bit of money then, and Brian restricted the audience to 500. I can’t blame Brian as he had seen how crowded the Cavern got and he had to think of The Beatles’ safety. The admission price was 10 shillings and so that meant that we collected only £250 on the door. All the staff had to be paid, and the other groups on the bill too, so we made no profit that night.

It was more Mercenary Beat than Mersey Beat that night. The Escorts and The Merseybeats still wanted paying for the night: the kudos of being on with The Beatles wasn’t enough for them. When I told them that we would be starting the evening an hour earlier, the first thing they said was, ‘We’re still getting paid, aren’t we, Bob?’

Bob Wooler
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

Although Brian Epstein promised the club’s compère Bob Wooler that The Beatles would return, they never did.

The Beatles were very professional: there was no larking around and they got on with it. We all felt it was their swan song and that we would never have them at the Cavern again. Brian Epstein still owes the Cavern six dates for The Beatles as he kept pulling them out of bookings by saying, ‘You wouldn’t stand in the boys’ way, would you, Bob?’
Bob Wooler
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

The show lasted from 6-11.30pm. Also on the bill were The Escorts, The Merseybeats, The Road Runners, Johnny Ringo and the Colts, and Faron’s Flamingos.

I was on the bill for the last show that The Beatles did at the Cavern. I was performing in a pool of water and it was so crowded that two members of my band collapsed and had to be carried outside.
Faron, Faron’s Flamingos
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

During The Beatles’ set a power cut silenced their instruments and plunged the Cavern into temporary darkness. Lennon and McCartney performed an acoustic version of ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ – a song they wouldn’t release until 1967 – while waiting for the electricity to return. Lennon, however, was particularly displeased by the Cavern’s primitive concert facilities.

We were on just before The Beatles and we were delighted with our reception as everybody was cheering and going mad. The Beatles all had long faces and John Lennon was saying, ‘We never should have come back here.’ Everything was sweaty and wet and we told them to make sure that they didn’t slip on stage. Once the walls got wet, all that condensation came down onto the stage and it was dangerous. This was proved as they fused the electrics and the lights went out. Normally, John Lennon would have cracked jokes while somebody got it right but he was in such a bad mood that he came off stage.
Tony Crane, The Merseybeats
The Cavern, Spencer Leigh

Originally a jazz venue, The Quarrymen had first played their brand of skiffle at the Mathew Street venue on 7 August 1957. The Beatles made their début there on 9 February 1961.

This show was officially declared by the club’s management to have been The Beatles’ 292nd there, although the accuracy of that number has been disputed. There are 280 known appearances, consisting of 155 lunchtime and 125 evening shows.

The Beatles' summer 1963 itinerary

Last updated: 27 June 2023
The Beatles live: Grafton Rooms, Liverpool
The Beatles live: Queen's Theatre, Blackpool
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