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August 24, 2023

Rare Photographs of the Beatles Playing at the Cavern Club in 1961, Shortly Before They Were Famous

Two previously unseen photos of the Beatles have been found in 2022, showing the band playing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1961, shortly before they shot to fame.

The images were captured in July 1961, more than a year before the band released their debut single “Love Me Do.” They show John Lennon and Paul McCartney at the microphone, with George Harrison on guitar and a partially obscured Pete Best, the group’s original drummer.

Paul Wane, managing director at Tracks, told CNN that the photos were taken by a fan who followed the band in the early 1960s and had a camera, which was unusual for the time.

“Not many people had cameras back then,” Wane told CNN. “That’s why there are so few shots of the Beatles in the Cavern. There’s very, very, very few. He followed the Beatles at some of the very early gigs. He was on speaking terms with them.”

Wane said the photographer is still alive and lives in the suburbs of Liverpool, but doesn’t want his name in the public domain. Although the anonymous photographer lost the negatives of the photographs, he still has the original contact sheet from the roll of film.

The photos are believed to have been taken during a lunchtime gig and it was one of these daytime performances where manager Brian Epstein would discover them. Epstein ran a music store just around the corner from the Cavern Club.

“I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humor on stage—and, even afterward, when I met them, I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that, really, it all started,” Epstein later said about the band’s performance.


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