Site of First Beatles Concert Given Landmark Status
Mon, 18 Sep 2006 09:32:54
Liverpool, England's Casbah Coffee Club was granted "Grade II Listed" status last week by the British government, meaning that the building is of historic significance and cannot be destroyed. The club was founded by the mother of early Beatles drummer Pete Best, and still houses some musical equipment with the era, along with paintings by members of the band, and John Lennon's first wife, Cynthia. The Casbah was modeled after successful "beat" clubs in London, and would come to host numerous shows by The Beatles up until its closure in 1962. The Best family has retained ownership, but the new designation protects against any future redevelopment without clearance from the proper authorities.
"The basement rooms are historically significant because they represent tangible evidence of The Beatles' formation, their growth in popularity and their enduring cultural influence," said English Heritage officer Bob Hawkins.
In an era when many venerable rock clubs and record stores are being removed from the modern landscape, the protection of the Casbah marks a victory for anyone with a soft spot for musical history. A more famous locale in Beatles lore, the Cavern Club, was lost in the 1970s, although a replacement was eventually built, partly from the rubble.
The Beatles -- sans Ringo Starr -- played their very first show at the club in 1959, going under the name The Quarrymen, and even pulling double duty as bartenders. They later switched to The Silver Beatles after Pete Best joined them on drums, before finally swapping Best for Starr, dropping the "Silver" from their name, and releasing "Love Me Do."
--The ARTISTdirect Staff