Rare images emerge of the Beatles playing at the Cavern Club in 1961 | The Beatles

Rare photographs have been discovered of the Beatles playing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool before they officially released music.

The footage was captured in July 1961, over a year before the band released their debut single Love Me Do. They show John Lennon and Paul McCartney on the mic, with George Harrison on guitar and a partially masked Pete Best, the band’s original drummer.

Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn said: ‘Set inside Liverpool’s cramped and damp Cavern Club, these never-before-seen photos capture the Beatles playing for lunchtime or evening audiences in July 1961.

“Just back from Hamburg – 500 hours on stage in 90 days – The Beatles are skinny, undernourished guys aged 20 (John), 19 (Paul and Pete) and 18 (George).

“As thin as this marathon has made them, it’s like their heads and bodies are weirder. A look highlighted by atypical outfits – leather pants and cotton tops. No other photos show them dressed like this.

A second photo of the Beatles playing at the Cavern Club in July 1961. Photography: Tracks Ltd/PA

Three months after the photos were taken, John and Paul traveled to Paris and returned with what became known as “the Beatles haircut,” Lewisohn added.

“A few days later, Brian Epstein saw the Beatles in the cave, offered to become their manager and put them on [a] course that changed our world.

Best was dropped from the group in 1962 and replaced by Ringo Starr.

To mark the 60th anniversary this month of the release of Love Me Do, Chorley-based dealer Tracks Ltd are offering free appraisals of rare music memorabilia. Judging Day takes place at The Beatles Story exhibition at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool on October 5 between 11am and 6pm.

Meanwhile, the musicians recalled the impact the Beatles’ early days had on their lives and careers. Joe Elliot of Def Leppard said “it was the first song I ever sang”, while for Gene Simmons of Kiss: “the lyrics were simple rhymes of ‘do’, ‘you’ and ‘true’ but this strange little song caught me”.

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