Bob Wooler and his Cavern record request card
   
The Bob Wooler Interview click on image



The Cavern club in Liverpool's city centre will forever be known as the spiritual home of The Beatles, but there is also another name that is equally inextricably linked with The Beatles, The Cavern and the Liverpool music scene - Bob Wooler. It was Wooler who, as DJ at The Cavern club, got The Beatles their first residency there in 1961 and also introduced the group on stage when they returned after their first hit single in August 1963. His voice was captured on the only live footage of the group ever shot at the club, performing 'Some Other Guy'. Later he was instrumental in introducing them to their future manager Brian Epstein.

Just as nobody had a clue that some teenagers who were at art school together would turn into one of the most impossibly famous groups in the world, so Wooler's beginnings in a working-class Liverpool family gave no clue to a future in which his name would incessantly pop up in references to what became tagged "The Liverpool Sound". As a teenager he worked as a railway clerk at the city's Garston docks and his earliest foray into music came in the mid-1950s when he combined his day job with a short-lived career managing 'The Kingstrums', a local skiffle group formed by a couple of his fellow railway workers. Although the group lasted only six months, Wooler began to write songs for them. One was recorded by the Merseyside country'n'western band Bill Brady and The Ranchers on the 'Liverpool Goes Country' album. In 1963 his 'I Know' provided the B-side for Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas' hit recording of the Lennon/McCartney composition 'I'll Keep You Satisfied'.

By the start of the 1960s, Wooler was acting as compere and DJ around several Liverpool clubs and dance halls, including the Holyoake dance hall near Penny Lane - mainly, he said, because local bands were having to amble on stage without any proper introduction, which he felt was "terrible". Around the same time, he met club-owner Allan Williams who ran the 'Jacaranda' and the 'Blue Angel' and was a small-time promoter. When Williams opened a new club, 'The Top Ten', he convinced Wooler to give up his day job and become the resident DJ. Six days later the club was burned down! Wooler decided against returning to the railways and took up a residency at The Cavern, already home to Liverpool's music cognoscenti - girls like Priscilla White (Cilla Black), who worked in the cloakroom, with their miniskirts, bobbed hair and factory-worker boyfriends.

" Welcome to the best of cellars........"

Wooler had, it appears, accidentally bumped into George Harrison and Paul McCartney at a bus stop opposite the Holyoake in the mid-1950s and offered them a date at the club, which they had declined because they had no drummer. He met up with them again after their first Hamburg trip in 1960, getting them a date for 6 at Litherland town hall. In February 1961, and by now working at The Cavern, Wooler got The Beatles their first date at the club before they became the resident band and went on to play there regularly for more than two years. By 1961 he was also regularly contributing a column to the local pop newspaper 'Mersey Beat', writing of The Beatles that "I don't think anything like them will happen again"

Already friendly with other local groups like Gerry and The Pacemakers and The Swinging Blue Jeans, Wooler also knew most of the local entrepreneurs, including Brian Epstein, who had made his money from his family's furniture business. When The Beatles went to meet Epstein for the first time, with a view to him becoming their manager, Lennon asked Wooler to go along. Such informality was common at the time, although these casual friendships could be fractured as easily as they were made - some months later Lennon and Wooler had a fight at McCartney's 21st birthday party when the DJ joked about a holiday to Spain that Lennon had just taken with Epstein.

By the end of the 'Beatles era' Wooler had retired from being a DJ and was booking bands for an agency. Later he joined up with Allan Williams again, this time to stage annual Beatles conventions in Liverpool. Wooler, who recovered from a heart attack in the mid-80s, was divorced from his wife Beryl Adams, Brian Epstein's secretary, whom he had married in the mid-1960s. Bob will be remembered for his encyclopaedic knowledge of Liverpool's Beat music scene, his charm, humour and politeness, but most of all for his love of Liverpool and the help that he gave to the countless number of Liverpool bands with whom he worked.

                                              Bob Wooler - often impersonated but never bettered - God bless you! . . . . .