Music world mourns loss of club owner who gave Fab Four their first break

WHEN A bunch of young Liverpool musicians arrived at the door of his dark cellar club, Ray McFall almost turned them away because a member was breaching its no-jeans rule.

The Beatles play an early gig at the Cavern Club

Despite his reservations, he gave the band a shot at a lunchtime session.

Little did he know that this show of generosity on that fateful day in 1961 would set the Fab Four on their journey to stardom.

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Almost as soon as they began the first of what would be 292 gigs at the now-famous Cavern Club, the offending jean-wearer - George Harrison - and his fellow Beatles bandmates won him over.

Yesterday, tributes were paid to Mr McFall as news of his death at the age of 88 emerged.

The world of music is mourning the loss of the pioneering Liverpudlian who transformed the venue after taking over at the helm in 1959.

The club, which he owned and ran during the heyday of Merseybeat, confirmed the news.

Its current director Jon Keats said: “Ray was an integral part of the Merseybeat explosion that changed the world of music forever.”

It was during a set at The Cavern when Liverpool businessman Brian Epstein spotted The Beatles, and went on to manage the legendary band. Other famous names who stepped on to the stage during Mr McFall’s reign included Gerry and the Pacemakers and Cilla Black.

Mr Keats added: “It’s a sad day. We’d like to thank Ray for everything he did for the Cavern Club.”