|Reluctant Santas: Beatles Christmas Show at the Cavern 1961
December 1961 brought a packed gigging schedule. Christmas boiled dow to to a single day off for turkey and flopping on the sofa in paper hats.
On December 9th The Beatles signed contracts appointing Brian Epstein as their new manager. Epstein then gave each a pointed Christmas gift — a travel alarm clock. Attached was a business card with the message: ‘My little bit to get you all on time.’
This alluded to their chaotic timekeeping — Paul McCartney had infamously been having a bath during one crucial meeting. But as Lewisohn points out, it offered hope that they would be ‘going places’.
On December 27, the coldest night in a decade, The Cavern held a Beatles Christmas Party. It got off to a rocky start when Pete Best phoned in sick. Who could stand in on the sticks? Well, there was their new pal from Hamburg, who happened to have a night off from Hurricane duties.
The gig went so well that George wanted to make the change in line up permanent. But Ringo was about to go abroad again so this was not practical. Pete would remain precariously on his drum stool for another eight months.