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YouTube Gold: The Beatles In The Cavern Club

Before it all went worldwide

John Lennon
December 1961: Singer, guitarist and songwriter John Lennon (1940 - 1980) of the British group The Beatles live on stage at the Cavern Club in Matthew Street, Liverpool.
Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It’s hard to imagine it, but the Beatles time of great fame basically only went from 1962-1969.

That takes in an awful lot of music and events - the Ed Sullivan Show, Beatlemania, the Shea Stadium performance, the Jesus controversy, Sergeant Peppers, the White Album, the Maharishi, acid, heroin and, finally, the Rooftop Concert and Let it Be.

It’s incredible to think that their run - the celebrated part anyway - was only seven years.

Before the ride got totally crazy, they were just four kids from Liverpool, a city that was still rebuilding after being heavily bombed in World War II, and they really loved making music.

One of their earliest haunts was the Cavern Club, where they would put in long, exhausting sets that helped to build their remarkable chemistry. You can see some of that here, along with the early reactions they got from fans.

Only Paul McCartney, now 81, and Ringo Starr, now 83, are still alive. Recently, Starr took an online test to see which Beatle he most resembled - it told him John Lennon. He was not impressed.