Allan Williams, The Beatles ’ first manager and original owner of The Jacaranda has died aged 86.
Tributes have begun to pour in for the man who personally drove the van to take the young band to Hamburg in 1960, where they gained the vital showbusiness experience that led to their emergence on the world stage.
The Jacaranda posted the sad news on their Facebook page tonight and tributes have begun to flood in.
The venue said: “Today is one of the saddest day in our history.
“Our original owner and the man who discovered The Beatles, Allan Williams, has sadly passed away at the age of 86.
“All of our thoughts and wishes go to his family and his wife Beryl.
“His legacy has allowed to remain at the heart of the Liverpool music scene for almost 60 years and his memory will live on through every band that plays our famous stage.
“Allan, you will be missed.”
The Cavern Club tweeted their condolences.
They said: “We have just heard the very sad news about the passing of Allan Williams. Sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time.”
They said: “The Beatles Story team is shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of original booking agent and first manager of The Beatles, Allan Williams.
“Allan played a significant role in the story of the Beatles. His involvement in the Beatles’ early years in Liverpool and onto Hamburg helped shape the band in to what we see and know today.
“He personally drove the van to take the young band to Hamburg, Germany in 1960, where they gained the vital show business experience that led to their emergence on the world stage.
“In May this year Allan was awarded with a top civic honour in recognition of his contribution to the music industry in Liverpool.”
In 1958 Williams leased a former watch-repair shop at 21 Slater Street, which he converted into a coffee bar. He named the venue the Jacaranda, after an exotic species of ornamental flowering tree.
The Jac opened in September 1958 and The Beatles were frequent customers, with John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe attending Liverpool Art College nearby and Paul McCartney being at Liverpool Institute.
Asking for the chance to play the club, Williams made them redecorate. Lennon and Sutcliffe had to paint a mural for the ladies room, before playing gigs there between May and August 1960.