Bernard Cash (Bernie) was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England on 18 January 1935, the son of Michael Cash and Eileen Cash (nee Mundy). His father's family had escaped persecution of the Russian jews at the turn of the 20th century, and he found himself in Yorkshire after leaving London as a ten year old. Eileen's family were Irish Roman Catholics, making Bernie a religious hybrid, although he never followed any creed. Music became his religion.
Bernie began his musical career as a trumpet player, gaining a reputation playing with different bands around the UK. At the age of 25, he decided to take up the double bass, and under the tutelage of Peter Ind, became a fine exponent of the instrument