On This Day: Beatles' first Cavern Club slot

Liverpool's most famous musical export made their debut at the Cavern on February 9 1961, at the start of a career which would rocket them to superstardom.

February 9, 1961: When the Beatles embarked on their first ever show at Liverpool's Cavern Club 52 years ago today, it was the first of almost 300 appearances they would make at the iconic gig venue.

Liverpool's most famous musical export made their debut at the Cavern on February 9 1961 at the start of a career which would rocket them to superstardom.

Amazingly, the group were paid just £5 for the appearance - while George Harrison was nearly denied admission altogether for wearing jeans.

Mona Best, the mother of then-drummer Pete Best, had to haggle with Ray McFall, the club's booker, to get the Beatles a lunchtime slot in the first place.

The gig was a success, however, and the Beatles were soon offered four lunchtime slots per week at the venue, as well as weekend gigs.

Paul McCartney later recalled in the 1995 book, 'Beatles Anthology': "The Cavern was sweaty, damp, dark, loud and exciting.

The Fab Four during the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 (PA)

"As usual, we didn't start out with much of an audience, but then people began to hear about us. We could always entertain them."

February 9 is a memorable date in the Beatles calendar - not only did it mark their first Cavern slot, but three years later 73 million Americans tuned in to see their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The TV slot, seen in over 23 million US households (a third of the US population), was one of the most-watched television events in American history.

The video above charts the Beatles progress as they arrived in New York before the Ed Sullivan Show appearance.

The Fab Four are seen on a photo shoot in Central Park, where they were constantly followed by hundreds of women as 'Beatlemania' took hold of America.

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