Artefacts from the Casbah Coffee Club
Photographed by Sandro Sodano
The Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool needs no introduction to Beatles aficonados. The club was set up by Pete Best’s mother, Mona, and on Saturday 29 August 1959, The Quarrymen (with a line-up at the time consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ken Brown) played at the club’s opening night. They helped to paint the basement club in the run up to the opening night, and were the resident band until October, playing eight times at the Casbah in 1959.
“It was great to be involved in the birth of a coffee bar—they were such important places then. The concrete and wood in the basement had been stripped and we painted each part a different colour. All of us lent a hand—John and George and all the others. And after we painted it up, it was our club.” Paul McCartney
When John, Paul, George and Pete Best returned from The Beatles’ first trip to Hamburg in December 1960, they found themselves back in Liverpool with nowhere to play, no equipment and no bass guitarist—as Stuart Sutcliffe had stayed behind in Hamburg with Astrid Kirchherr. Mo Best was their saviour – she offered them a gig at the Casbah on 17 December 1960. The Beatles continued to play at the Casbah in 1961, and their final Casbah show took place in June 1962.
In 2002 professional photographer Sandro Sodano visited the Casbah Coffee Club to photograph the interiors, and a collection of objects at the club’s premises belonging to the Best family. The photographs document a rich variety of objects—and include original clothing and instruments from those very early days, along with later items such as the strip of medals worn by John Lennon for the Sgt Pepper cover shoot in 1967, and a huge doll that appeared in the “All You Need is Love” TV screening. Sandro photographed the leather jacket and trousers that Pete Best wore in Hamburg, along with a pink “twat hat”—as the Beatles would refer to them–from that period. While black and white images of The Beatles in these hats exist, it is a rare treat to see one in colour.
For the first time, Sandro is offering collectors the chance to purchase signed limited edition photographs in a choice of sizes, including a small physical size deliberately chosen to allow collectors to display a number of pieces together on the wall.