Skimming Stones on the Mersey
by Shannon MacDonald

The most famous club in the world, The Cavern Club, has been smitten with the press ever since the Fab Four gained momentum on the “Mersey Side” of the world. The Beatles were a staple in The Cavern, as they had rocked their music in the old wine cellar 292 times. Their last-ever appearance was on August 3, 1963… only 1-month after recording “She Loves You”, and 6-months before conquering the USA. Although manager, Brian Epstein, had promised the club owners The Beatles would return to The Cavern someday, their popularity had become far too superior for that eventuality to ever happen. Beatlemania scooped the world up in its Mop-Topped arms, and that ride continues to this day.

In 1962, The Hollies took over The Beatles “hot spot”, and another UK band was cemented in Mersey history. Because of the sudden injection of the fresh new sound of music from the other side of the world, record companies quickly ventured out of the USA and London into Liverpool and Manchester. The gold was now in them hills!

In the decade to follow, a wide variety of popular acts appeared at the club, including: The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Elton John, Queen, Cilla Black and The Who.

Another band, perhaps just gaining their own popularity, was destined and signed to play that most famous club on November 5, 1963. Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts took to The Cavern stage that night. The Rolling Stones stayed, just down the road, at the Adelphi Hotel in anticipation of their Cavern gig. Unannounced, before the show, they made their way down to Mathew Street and down the stairs to The Cavern. These two photos shown here are the only photos known in existence of The Stones at The Cavern.
There are none of their actual live gig that evening and no photos have ever appeared since. Rumor has it, no photos were allowed to be taken that evening. Others say, “The Stones just weren’t that popular” at the time, so no one was concerned with photographs.

Lead Singer Mick Jagger was quoted saying….
“Man it was hot! We almost sweated away. They’ve had so many big groups at the Cavern that you’ve really got to prove yourself, they asked us back so they must like us.”
Bassist Bill Wyman, in his autobiography, says….
“While some people were building a wall, metaphorically ‘dividing the North from the South’ in pop music, we found no barriers whatsoever from Merseyside fans. Walking around the city, we were stopped and chatted to by friendly Liverpudlian’s. In the evening, our show at the Cavern was fantastic, with a marvelous crowd.”

A painting of The Rolling Stones now hangs in The Cavern today. It shows “what-might-have-been” on that late November evening. The large 6-foot by 6-foot canvas actually hangs where the original stage once was. It was unveiled by the artist and Julia Baird (John Lennon’s sister) who declared herself “A true Stones fan”.