The Cavern and the Top 10 Iconic Rock Clubs In History

Last week back in 1957, the most famous rock club in England opened in Liverpool. There was absolutely no rock and roll on the bill that night.

The Cavern Club was originally opened to mimic the cellar jazz bars that owner Alan Synter visited in Paris. There was a strict jazz-only policy in place while he owned the joint. The room itself was underground, having served previously as a wine cellar and a wartime air-raid shelter.

The club's first taste of rock and roll came in August 1957, when a gang of local punks known as the Quarrymen were booked to play skiffle tunes -- an inexplicably popular musical fad of the day. Quarrymen guitarist John Lennon decided to spice things up with a cover of Elvis' "Don't Be Cruel," prompting a note from Synter: "Cut out the bloody rock and roll."

The next time Lennon and his pals played the Cavern, things were different. The band had changed its name to the Beatles and honed its act during a German residency. In 1961, the group took over the Cavern for three weeks, becoming a local sensation and attracting the attention of manager Brian Epstein.

Before long, the Beatles were the most famous rock and roll band in the world, and the Cavern Club achieved almost as much notoriety as the spot where the Fab Four were discovered. Even today, a rebuilt version of the club (the original was torn down in 1973) serves as both a tourist attraction and a popular live-music venue. Not a lot of places can claim that.

A few can, though. For a while there, the Cavern stood alone as the epicenter of authentic '60s rock and roll cool. In a matter of years, of course, other clubs on both sides of the Atlantic would rise to rival the Cavern's fame.

To celebrate the birthday of one of rock's most hallowed haunts, Rocks Off offers up the following highly scientific ranking of the most famous clubs in rock and roll history. (I Googled them.)

How many have you visited?

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The Bag O'Nails was a live music venue and meeting place for musicians in the 1960s, situated at 8 Kingly Street, Soho, London. Bands and other musicians such as Georgie Fame and Gass appeared there, often jamming with artists such as Jimi Hendrix. The venue hosted an early gig by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

After Beatles recording sessions in London their roadie Mal Evans, personal assistant Neil Aspinall and Paul McCartney would often look for a place where they could eat and The Bag O'Nails was one of their favourite venues. McCartney met his future wife Linda Eastman there on 15 May 1967. In his memoirs Evans wrote:" January 19 and 20: "I ended up drunk in The Bag O'Nails with Paul [McCartney] and Neil [Aspinall]".

Also at Bag O'Nails 11 January 1967 McCartney and Ringo Starr saw Jimi Hendrix perform for the first time.

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