WHEN Dave Jones was 15, he stepped inside The Cavern Club in his home town of Liverpool for the first time.
On Monday, he will led the historic music venue in its 60th anniversary celebrations as co-owner.
The 68-year-old took over the business alongside Bill Heckle in 1991 and they have returned The Cavern to its former glory.
Dave said: “We worked hard to turn the club back into a great live music venue.”
The focal point of celebrations was the unveiling of a Cilla Black statue outside the original entrance.
“Her three sons said they wanted to erect a statue to their mum to thank the people of Liverpool and this was where they wanted it, as she used to work in the club as a cloakroom attendant.
“It’s been paid for by her boys, who are lovely guys, and we feel very humbled by it.”
Cilla was just one of the famous names to pass through The Cavern on their way to success, alongside the likes of The Who, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and, of course, The Beatles.
But none of that spared it from the wrecking ball in 1973 when British Rail acquired a compulsory purchase order.
In 1982 the famous venue was rebuilt using the old bricks. It sits on half of the original site and has the same address – 10 Mathew Street.
“It still has the great sound and unique atmosphere and there’s live music every day from noon.
“Our two main pieces of memorabilia are a giant poster advertising The Who’s appearance in 1965 and the original Cavern sign, which we have inside the club now.
“We paid £8000 for each and our asset register has £250,000 worth of artefacts.”
Sir Paul McCartney chose to play his last concert of the 20th Century at The Cavern.
“It was like he was giving the seal of approval to the place just like The Beatles did in 1963,” Dave smiled.
“Since then Oasis, Paul Rodgers, Donovan, Travis, Adele, Jake Bugg, Jessie J and The Wanted have played here.”
Dave and Bill employ 85 people and have a big in-house team, including John Lennon’s half-sister, Julia Bird, who is a director and shareholder.
He added: “We’re proud of what we do and the way we’re carrying on The Cavern’s great legacy.”