Musical heritage in Liverpool: The Beatles and beyond
By: Claire, redwigwam
Liverpool has a rich musical heritage.
Arguably, the most famous act from the city are The Beatles – and you don’t have to go far to find the famous foursome. The world-renowned Beatles Story Museum is a must-see visitor experience in the docks, and you’ll undoubtably hear their music pumping from bars and clubs as you explore the city centre.
But while The Beatles may be the most recognisable band to come out of Liverpool, there are many other musical acts who have helped shape the city's fantastic music scene.
Alongside The Beatles, we’ve looked at some of the other musicians who’ve made their mark on Liverpool's musical heritage over the years – and the amazing venues you can visit in the city to experience live music.
The Beatles are undoubtedly the most famous musical act to have ever come out of Liverpool.
Formed in 1960, the band became a worldwide phenomenon over the course of their career, producing some of the most iconic songs of all time, including ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Let it Be’.
The foursome, made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, are still revered today as symbols of Liverpool’s rich musical heritage.
The Beatles were flexible in their music style, incorporating a range of styles into their music and playing shows and concerts around the world, but also always finding time to write and record.
During their heyday, they toured extensively, and Beatlemania followed wherever they went. They have been described as the first boyband – mainly due to the enthusiastic response they got from their young, female audience!
Their commercial success was unprecedented for the time, with singles and albums reaching number one on charts all over the world.
Even today, The Beatles remain one of the most influential and popular bands in history, and their legacy is certainly strong in Liverpool. As well as the Beatles Story, you can visit the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the Cavern Club where they first played and even Strawberry Field and Elenor Rigby’s grave, and of course the statues at Pier Head.
Other well-known Liverpudlian musicians
Of course, Liverpool not just the home of The Beatles.
The city has a vibrant music scene with a long list of amazing musicians and bands coming from the city. From post-punk to glam rock and everything in between, Liverpool has produced some of the most influential musicians in the world.
Gerry & the Pacemakers
Gerry and the Pacemakers were signed by The Beatles manager Brian Epstein in 1962. If you visit Liverpool, you’ll no doubt hear ‘Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey’ pumped out if you take the brilliant boat trip.
And of course, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is one of the world’s most famous football anthems. If you’re lucky enough to go to a game at Anfield, the crowd belting it out will send shivers down your spine.
Elvis Costello, born as Declan Patrick MacManus, is a renowned musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer.
Although he was born in London, his family's roots can be traced back to Liverpool. Costello's father, Ross MacManus, was a vocalist for the Joe Loss Orchestra, and his mother was a record store manager. Growing up, Costello was exposed to a wide range of musical genres, including rock and roll, country, and jazz.
His Liverpool heritage and upbringing heavily influenced his music, and he has often credited the city's vibrant music scene as a major source of inspiration for his work.
Echo & the Bunnymen
Echo & the Bunnymen formed in Liverpool in 1978. The band, consisting of Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, and Les Pattinson are known for their atmospheric sound, poetic lyrics, and frontman Ian McCulloch's distinctive voice.
Echo & the Bunnymen rose to fame in the early 1980s with albums including ‘Porcupine’ and ‘Ocean Rain.’ Their music is characterised by a unique blend of post-punk and psychedelic rock, and the band is often cited as a major influence on the alternative rock and indie music movements of the 1980s and beyond.
Despite several line-up changes and hiatuses over the years, Echo & the Bunnymen continue to tour and record new music, cementing their status as one of Liverpool's most iconic musical exports.
Atomic Kitten is an English girl group formed in Liverpool in 1998. The original members of the group were Natasha Hamilton, Liz McClarnon, and Kerry Katona.
The group achieved commercial success in the early 2000s with hit singles such as ‘Whole Again’, ‘Eternal Flame’, and ‘The Tide Is High’. Known for their catchy pop melodies and upbeat dance tracks, Atomic Kitten quickly became one of the UK's most popular girl groups.
Despite several line-up changes over the years, the group has continued to release music and tour, earning a loyal fanbase around the world.
With their Liverpool roots and infectious pop sound, Atomic Kitten remains one of the city's most beloved musical exports.
The Wombats are another popular band to come out of Liverpool – formed in 2003, the band consists of members Matthew Murphy, Dan Haggis, and Tord Øverland Knudsen.
The Wombats' music is known for its catchy hooks, upbeat rhythms, and witty lyrics. With their distinctive sound and energetic live performances, The Wombats quickly gained a loyal fanbase and achieved commercial success with their debut album, "A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation" in 2007.
Over the years, the band has continued to evolve and experiment with their sound while staying true to their Liverpool roots, earning critical acclaim and a devoted following from around the world.
Music venues in Liverpool
Liverpool continues to produce amazing music today, and there is a great range of venues throughout the city where you can hear new bands play live.
From intimate pubs to grand theatres, it is easy to find a place to enjoy a great night out listening to incredible music.
The iconic Cavern Club on Mathew Street is one of the city’s most famous music venues and has seen some of the world’s greatest bands play there including The Beatles, Queen, and The Rolling Stones. Not only does it provide live music for locals and tourists, but it is also a great spot for concerts, events, and gigs.
The Philharmonic Hall on Hope Street was built in 1939 and is known for its stunning Art Deco architecture and exceptional acoustics, making it one of the most popular venues for classical music performances in the UK.
The hall has hosted a wide range of performances, from classical music to pop, rock, and comedy shows. Over the years, it has welcomed world-renowned musicians such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Elton John, as well as leading orchestras, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Philharmonic Hall underwent a major renovation in 2015, which restored its original beauty while adding modern amenities such as a new bar and restaurant. Today, it remains a beloved cultural landmark in Liverpool and a must-visit destination for music lovers from around the world.
The Invisible Wind Factory is an arts and performance space located in the North Docks area of Liverpool. The venue is known for its industrial-inspired decor and immersive, multimedia performances. The space was originally a disused warehouse and has been transformed into a multi-purpose venue with a capacity of up to 1,200 people.
The Invisible Wind Factory hosts a wide range of events, including music concerts, theatre productions, art exhibitions, and immersive experiences. The venue is also home to the Kazimier Garden, an outdoor space which hosts live music events and serves as a community gathering spot. The Invisible Wind Factory has become known for its innovative approach to arts and culture and has become a hub for creativity and experimentation in Liverpool.
For larger concerts and live performances (including of course the finals of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest), the M&S Arena on Liverpool’s historic waterfront is the place to go.
Liverpool is packed with music history and places to watch live music. Whether you’re looking for a live music at the Cavern Club or here for the Eurovision Song Contest, Liverpool will not disappoint.