by Odele Ayres

A RECENT T&A article on the revival of Bradford’s 1960s underground Little Fat Black Pussy Cat Club has opened up an old debate questioning whether The Beatles did ever play at the venue.

This has been stated in various press releases, adding to the list of many up-and-coming sixties music sensations who did play at the club.

The Little Fat Black Pussy Cat Club, revived at Sunbridgewells, was open between 1964 and 1965, initially for one night only. It did play host to many of Sixties stars, including Rod Stewart and the Moody Blues.

Opening its doors on August 14, 1964 it was The Pretty Things who played the first performance at Bradford’s first independently-run music club, named after a San Francisco poetry club.

Other acts who played at the venue included Long John Baldry, Zoot Money and Georgie Fame.

The club, which opened every Friday and Saturday night, was definitely considered as the “in place to be” – it was even reported that after playing a gig at the club, Preston-based band The Mood changed their name to The Little Fat Black Pussycats, in honour of the venue. Bradford-born singer Kiki Dee worked in its cloakroom.

One reader who has contacted us disagrees with the statement, saying that The Beatles never played the club in 1964, as at the time they would have been too big in status to play in the underground tunnels of Bradford.

Back in 2014, another gentleman wrote to the T&A letters page asking the same question after seeing a report on BBC Look North in which the developers had stated that The Beatles did an impromptu late-night session at The Cat (as it affectionately became known).

What we do know is that The Beatles definitely did play at the Gaumont on October 9, 1964, opening their new British tour to 6,000 ecstatic screaming fans before heading off on a tour which was to take them to 27 centres in 32 days.

One person who could have recalled the events of that night would have been the late T&A theatre critic Peter Holdsworth who was pictured at the event scratching his neck beside John Lennon, who nicked the reporter’s cap and larked about.

I would like to think that after John Lennon’s disappointment of having to leave London on his 24th birthday, and having just returned from a tour of America, that the band fancied some essential down-time at Bradford’s grooviest club.

Maybe one of our readers remembers the night, if indeed The Beatles did make an appearance, and was lucky enough to take a selfie with the special guests.

And yes, selfies were possible even back then, as according to the internet the first ‘selfie’ was taken in 1839, by Robert Cornelius...