Two great Liverpool icons – Ken Dodd and the Cavern Club – shared a unique milestone this week in 1964.
The much-loved Knotty Ash comedian became the venue’s first ever honorary life member when he stepped on to the famous stage on January 24th.
Ever the joker, he signed his membership application on the back of a girl in the audience and captivated the young crowd by miming with an electric guitar.
It was hardly The Beatles, but everyone crammed under the legendary brick arches was delighted by Dodd’s antics.
Although he was a good 20 years older than most of the teenagers around him, Dodd himself was no stranger to the UK singles charts.
His first record Love is Like a Violin reached No. 8 in 1960. His signature tune Happiness hit the charts in 1964.
Dodd’s version of Tears stayed at No. 1 for five weeks in 1965, selling more than a million copies in the UK alone. It is still one of the biggest-selling singles of all time.
Also present at the Cavern on Dodd’s big night were writer and composer Lionel Bart and Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein.
By 1964, Bart had already written a series of hits including Living Doll for Cliff Richard and Little White Bull for Tommy Steele.
His smash-hit stage show Oliver, first staged in1960, became the first modern British musical to make a successful transfer to Broadway.
Epstein and were Bart were not the only famous faces to call in at the Cavern in the 1960s.
Movie actress Anna Neagle tried her hand on the drums in March 1964 along with actors John Alderton and Terence Edmond.
Our picture shows her on stage surrounded by a group of youngsters, many of whom weren’t even born when Neagle starred in Victoria the Great in 1937.
Alderton was well-known for playing Dr Richard Moone in the TV drama Emergency Ward 10. He later established himself as hapless teacher Mr Hedges in the comedy series Please Sir.
Edmond played PC Ian Sweet in 78 episodes of the Merseyside police drama Z-Cars. His character’s death, trying to save a drowning boy, left many fans in shock in 1964.
As well as launching the careers of the Beatles, Cilla Black and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, the Cavern hosted every major band of the 1960s and early 70s.
The big names included The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Kinks, The Who, Black Sabbath and Queen. Elton John was also a star turn.
But it was not all plain-sailing for the famous Liverpool club. The Beatles made the last of their 292 appearances in August 1963 and financial problems started to bite.
In spite of fans barricading the entrance, the Cavern was forced to close in February 1966.
Two new investors, Alf Geoghegan and Joe Davey, quickly stepped in and set about improving the club.
Prime Minister and Huyton MP Harold Wilson performed the official re-opening five months later in July 1966. American soul stars Rufus Thomas and Solomon Burke topped the bill.
The Cavern now boasted a new entrance, souvenir shop, boutique and ground-floor coffee lounge.
But the original basement vaults, which reverberated to bands that changed the course of world music for ever, were carefully retained.