29th August 2019 – Happy 60th birthday, Casbah: Birthplace of The Beatles

The Beatles at The Casbah; Paul McCartney, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best
The Beatles at The Casbah; Paul McCartney, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best

When I first picked up a book called “The Beatles: The True Beginnings” about the Casbah Coffee Club, written by Pete, Rory and Roag Best, I enjoyed it. However, I thought it was mainly fictional! How could there be a place of this importance in Liverpool, claiming to be the Birthplace of The Beatles and I not know about it.

Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles by David Bedford
Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles by David Bedford

So I started digging, and looking for the evidence, and I was truly gobsmacked! What became clear was that the story of The Casbah, Mona Best and Pete Best had been airbrushed out of Beatles history. As I continued my research for my first book, Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles, it became clear that I had to tell people, Beatles fans, about the Casbah Coffee Club.

Brian Epstein and the Fab Four

Brian Epstein was a genius! Without him, The Beatles would never have made it. He was a top salesman and marketer; but when he sent out the press releases about The Beatles, he named himself as the only Beatles manager, and The Beatles as only John, Paul, George and Ringo. And where were they discovered? The most famous club in the world; The Cavern! And so nobody mentioned the Casbah, except to say it was a club where The Beatles played.

The True birthplace of The Beatles

The Beatles performing at The Casbah
The Beatles performing at The Casbah

What became obvious was that The Casbah was the birthplace of The Beatles, and that the Best brothers’ book was not a work of fiction, but essential reading for any Beatles fan. In Liddypool, I decided to devote a significant chapter just focusing on The Casbah, because it is that important. It is also a wonderful story too, especially about the lady whose brainchild it was; Mona “Mo” Best. What a lady!

Mo Best

The Amazing Mona Best
The Amazing Mona Best. The Casbah was her dream; her vision

if you don’t know about Mo, then you need to find out more about her. She had pawned her jewellery and placed the money on a horse, “Never Say Die”, which romped home at 33/1. Mona bought the impressive house at 8, Haymans Green. Mo saw a TV show featuring the famous “2is” Coffee Club in London, and decided to create a coffee club in her basement.

That club opened as The Casbah Coffee Club on 29th August 1959, with the group being The Quarrymen; John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ken Brown (a guitarist from the Les Stewart Quartet whom George had been playing with).

The Quarrymen open the Casbah; George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ken Brown and John Lennon
The Quarrymen open the Casbah; George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ken Brown and John Lennon

birthplace of the Beatles? Why?

So why is the Casbah the birthplace of The Beatles? The group that had been The Silver Beatles (among other names) became The Beatles just before heading to Hamburg, where they became a fantastic rock ‘n’ roll group. When they returned from Hamburg, Mo kept the group from falling apart, and had them play at the Casbah on 17th December 1960. This marked the birth of The Beatles.

MO gets them into the Cavern

The Beatles at the Cavern - Pete, George, John and Paul
The Beatles at the Cavern – Pete, George, John and Paul

It was Mona Best who then contacted Ray McFall at The Cavern and persuaded him to book The Beatles. They made their debut there on 9th February 1961, going on to make around 292 appearances.

The Casbah Coffee Club closed on 24th June 1962, with The Beatles of John, Paul, George and Pete Best closing the club. It was only open for just under three years, but every top Liverpool group played there. No wonder they called Mo the “Mother of Merseybeat”.

TAKE A TOUR

The first stage where The Quarrymen performed; Paul McCartney's painted ceiling is still there
The first stage where The Quarrymen performed; Paul McCartney’s painted ceiling is still there

For every Beatles fan who visits Liverpool, I always tell them that they have to visit The Casbah, which is open for private tours. It is essential! You can see the club as it was when it closed, including the ceilings hand-painted by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with other painting done by George Harrison, Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe and Cynthia Powell too. This is Beatles history at its best; its Mona Best! If you would like to book a Beatles tour that includes the Casbah, go to Liverpool Beatles Tours.

MAGICAL BEATLES MUSEUM

The Magical Beatles Museum on Mathew Street
The Magical Beatles Museum on Mathew Street

To add to the Casbah tour, Pete, Roag and Paul Parry (from the Pete best band) have opened a new Beatles museum on Mathew Street, with many unique pieces of Beatles history on display. You can buy a combined ticket to do both the museum and Casbah. It is highly recommended!

Happy birthday Casbah Coffee Club!

David Bedford

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Author: David Bedford

David Bedford grew up in The Dingle, attended the primary school that Ringo Starr did, before moving to Penny Lane, where his three daughters attended Dovedale Primary School, where John Lennon and George Harrison had previously attended.His first book, "Liddypool" was published in 2009, now in its third edition. His second book, "The Fab one hundred and Four" was published in 2013, and his third book, "Finding the Fourth Beatle" was published in 2018. He was also the Associate Producer and Beatles historian for the documentary feature film, "Looking for Lennon".He is working on several other projects at the moment,

4 thoughts on “29th August 2019 – Happy 60th birthday, Casbah: Birthplace of The Beatles”

  1. David: Pix show that many parts of the club were used -both performances and band breaks- near the bar and the arches near stairs upstairs to the first floor of the house. Well written again!

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