The Beatles in Hamburg
The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 members John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

, Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

, George Harrison
George Harrison
George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Often referred to as "the quiet Beatle", Harrison became over time an admirer of Indian mysticism, and introduced it to the other...

, Stuart Sutcliffe
Stuart Sutcliffe
Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe was a Scottish artist and musician, best known as the original bass player of The Beatles. Sutcliffe left the band to pursue a career as an artist, having previously attended the Liverpool College of Art...

 and Pete Best
Pete Best
Pete Best is a British musician, best known as the original drummer in The Beatles. He was born in the city of Madras, British India...

 regularly performed at different clubs in Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, during the period from August 1960 to December 1962; a chapter in the group's history which honed their performance skills, widened their reputation, and led to their first recording, which brought them to the attention of Brian Epstein
Brian Epstein
Brian Samuel Epstein , was an English music entrepreneur, and is best known for being the manager of The Beatles up until his death. He also managed several other musical artists such as Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Cilla Black, The Remo Four & The Cyrkle...


The Beatles' booking agent, Allan Williams
Allan Williams
Allan Williams is a former businessman and promoter of Welsh descent. He was the original booking agent of The Beatles...

, decided to send the group to Hamburg when another group he managed, Derry and the Seniors
Derry and the Seniors
Derry and the Seniors were a British rock and roll group of the early 1960s. They were the first band from Liverpool to play the club scene in Germany, paving the way for The Beatles and others...

, proved successful there. Having no permanent drummer at the time, they recruited Best a few days before their departure. They initially lived in squalid conditions, sleeping in an unheated storeroom behind the screen of a cinema, in an area renowned for gangsters and prostitutes. After breaking their contract by playing at another club, Harrison was deported for being under-age, and McCartney and Best were arrested and deported for attempted arson (after McCartney and Best had set fire to a condom
A condom is a barrier device most commonly used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases . It is put on a man's erect penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner...

 in their living quarters).

The Beatles first met Astrid Kirchherr
Astrid Kirchherr
Astrid Kirchherr is a German photographer and artist and is well known for her association with The Beatles and her photographs of The Beatles during their Hamburg days....

 in Hamburg, who was instrumental in their adoption of the famous Beatle haircut. During their time in Hamburg, Sutcliffe decided to leave the group to continue his studies. In April 1962, less than a year after leaving the group, he died of a brain haemorrhage.

Hamburg in the 1960s

Hamburg had once been Germany's main seaport, the third largest in the world, but in 1944 virtually the entire city had been reduced to rubble by World War II bombing raids. By 1960, when they arrived, the Hamburg that had grown up from the ruins of WWII had established its reputation throughout Europe as a city of vice and criminal activity.

Leaving Liverpool

Williams, a 29-year-old Liverpool businessman and promoter, had sent his leading group to Hamburg, Derry and the Seniors (later known as Howie Casey
Howie Casey
Howard William "Howie" Casey is a British rhythm and blues and rock saxophonist. He first came to prominence in the early 1960s as a member of Derry and the Seniors, the first rock and roll band from Liverpool to play clubs in Germany, and later, as leader of the renamed Howie Casey and the...

 and the Seniors) where they were enjoying success, and wanted to send an additional group. He initially tried to send Rory Storm
Rory Storm
Rory Storm was an English singer and musician. Born Alan Caldwell in Liverpool, Storm was the singer and leader of Rory Storm and The Hurricanes, a Liverpudlian band who were contemporaries of The Beatles in the late 1950s, and early 1960s...

 and the Hurricanes, but Storm and his group were committed to a Butlins
Butlins is a chain of large holiday camps in the United Kingdom. Butlins was founded by Billy Butlin to provide affordable holidays for ordinary British families....

 holiday camp and turned Williams' offer down, as did Gerry & The Pacemakers
Gerry & the Pacemakers
Gerry and the Pacemakers were a British beat music group prominent during the 1960s. In common with The Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein and recorded by George Martin. They are most remembered for being the first act to reach number one in the UK Singles Chart with...

. Williams started promoting concerts for The Beatles in May 1960, after they had played at his Jacaranda club in Liverpool, and offered The Beatles the Hamburg bookings. He booked them into Bruno Koschmider
Bruno Koschmider
Bruno Koschmider was a German entrepreneur in Hamburg, Germany best known for employing The Beatles in the early 1960s...

's Indra club in Hamburg for a season of bookings starting on 12 August 1960, but said that he was not impressed with them as a musical group, and hoped to find a better act to follow them.

As they had no permanent drummer, McCartney looked for someone to fill the Hamburg position, which was difficult, as Lennon later said that drummers were "few and far between", because a set of drums was an expensive item. Harrison had seen Best playing with the Black Jacks in The Casbah Coffee Club
The Casbah Coffee Club
The Casbah Coffee Club was a rock and roll music venue in West Derby, Liverpool, started by Mona Best in 1959 in the cellar of the family home. The Casbah, as it became widely known, was planned as a members-only club for Best's sons Pete, his younger brother, Rory, and their friends...

 (which was run by his mother, Mona Best
Mona Best
Mona "Mo" Best was born in India and is best known as the mother of Pete Best , who was an early member of The Beatles. Mona also had two other sons, Rory and Vincent "Roag" Best...

). He was regarded as a steady drummer, playing the bass drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

 on all four beat
Beat (music)
The beat is the basic unit of time in music, the pulse of the mensural level . In popular use, the beat can refer to a variety of related concepts including: tempo, meter, rhythm and groove...

s in the bar
Bar (music)
In musical notation, a bar is a segment of time defined by a given number of beats of a given duration. Typically, a piece consists of several bars of the same length, and in modern musical notation the number of beats in each bar is specified at the beginning of the score by the top number of a...

, which pushed the rhythm, and was known in Liverpool at the time as being "mean, moody, and magnificent" by female fans, which convinced McCartney he would be good for the group. After the Black Jacks broke up, McCartney asked Best to go to Hamburg, telling him they would earn £15 per week each. Best had the chance to go to a teacher-training college, as he had passed his school exams—unlike Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, who had failed most of theirs—but decided that playing in Hamburg would be a better career move.

The St. Pauli
St. Pauli
St. Pauli , located in the Hamburg-Mitte borough, is one of the 105 quarters of the city of Hamburg, Germany. Situated on the right bank of the Elbe river, the Landungsbrücken are a northern part of the port of Hamburg. St. Pauli contains a world famous red light district around the street Reeperbahn...

 quarter of Hamburg, where the Indra club was located, was well known as an area where prostitutes were to be found, and was a dangerous place for anyone that looked different from the usual clientele. McCartney's father, Jim McCartney
Jim and Mary McCartney
James "Jim" McCartney and Mary Patricia McCartney were the parents of musician, author and artist Paul McCartney of The Beatles and Wings, and photographer and musician Mike McCartney, who worked with The Scaffold.Like many families in Liverpool, the McCartney and Mohin families are of...

, was reluctant to let his teenage son go to Hamburg, but relented after a visit from Williams, who told him that he "shouldn't worry". Lennon's aunt, Mimi Smith
Mimi Smith
Mary Elizabeth "Mimi" Smith was the maternal aunt and parental guardian of the English musician John Lennon. Mimi was born in Liverpool, England and was the oldest of five daughters. She became a resident trainee nurse at the Woolton Convalescent Hospital, and later worked as a private secretary...

, was also reluctant to allow Lennon to go to Hamburg, wanting Lennon to continue his studies, but Lennon placated her by exaggerating the amount he would earn. Best had an audition
An audition is a sample performance by an actor, singer, musician, dancer or other performing artist.Audition may also refer to:* The sense of hearing* Adobe Audition, audio editing software...

 in Williams' Jacaranda club on 15 August 1960, and travelled to Hamburg the next day as a member of the group. Williams later admitted that the audition with Best was not needed, as they had not found any other drummer willing to travel to Hamburg, but did not tell Best in case he asked for more money. The group were to be paid about £100 per week, which was much more than promoters in Liverpool paid. Williams drove the group and their equipment in his Austin Minivan
Austin Motor Company
The Austin Motor Company was a British manufacturer of automobiles. The company was founded in 1905 and merged in 1952 into the British Motor Corporation Ltd. The marque Austin was used until 1987...

, which was loaded by crane onto a ferry at Harwich
Harwich is a town in Essex, England and one of the Haven ports, located on the coast with the North Sea to the east. It is in the Tendring district. Nearby places include Felixstowe to the northeast, Ipswich to the northwest, Colchester to the southwest and Clacton-on-Sea to the south...

 on 16 August 1960, and landed at the Hook of Holland.

All five Beatles, Williams and his wife Beryl, her brother Barry Chang, and "Lord Woodbine
Lord Woodbine
Lord Woodbine , whose real name was Harold Philips, was born in Trinidad. He is regarded by some as the musical mentor of The Beatles.At the age of 14, Philips lied about his age and joined the RAF...

" were in the minivan, along with Georg Sterner (Koschmider's translator and future waiter), making a total of ten people, which resulted in a journey that was both uncomfortable and dangerous. As Williams had not obtained work permits for Germany, they were detained at Harwich for five hours. Williams finally convinced the authorities that they were students on holiday, although work permits were later obtained after their arrival in Hamburg.
Note: 'Lord Woodbine' and Williams ran a Strip Club called New Cabaret Artistes club at 174a Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Sutcliffe once played backing music for "Janice the Stripper" there, in July 1960.

Hamburg clubs

In the early 1960s, the Hamburg scene revolved around the Kaiserkeller, Top Ten, Star-Club, Beer-Shop, Mambo, Holle, Wagabond and the Pacific Hotel, as well as the less popular clubs like Grannies, the Ice Cream Shop, Chugs, and Sacha's. The Reeperbahn and the Grosse Freiheit were decorated with neon lights, with posters advertising the performers in the clubs. Each club had a doorman whose job was to entice customers inside, as the drinks were expensive (for Babycham
Babycham is the trade name of a light, sparkling perry invented by Francis Edwin Showering , a brewer in Shepton Mallet in Somerset, England; the name is now owned by Constellation Europe Limited. Launched in the United Kingdom in 1953, the drink was marketed with pioneering television...

 and watered-down beer). Customers who would not, or could not afford to pay were dealt with severely by being beaten and then thrown out.

The Indra and Kaiserkeller

The Beatles arrived very early in the morning of 17 August 1960, but had no trouble finding the St. Pauli area of Hamburg, as it was so infamous. Unfortunately the Indra Club (64 Grosse Freiheit) was closed, so a manager from a neighbouring club found someone to open it up, and the group slept on the red leather seats in the alcoves. The group played at the club on the same night, but were told they could sleep in a small cinema's storeroom, which was cold and noisy, being directly behind the screen of the cinema, the Bambi Kino (33 Paul-Roosen Strasse).

McCartney later said, "We lived backstage in the Bambi Kino, next to the toilets, and you could always smell them. The room had been an old storeroom, and there were just concrete walls and nothing else. No heat, no wallpaper, not a lick of paint; and two sets of bunk beds, with not very much covers—Union Jack flags—we were frozen." Lennon remembered: "We were put in this pigsty. We were living in a toilet, like right next to the ladies' toilet. We'd go to bed late and be woken up next day by the sound of the cinema show and old German fraus [women] pissing next door." After having been awoken in this fashion, the group were then obliged to use cold water from the urinals for washing and shaving. They were paid £2.50 each a day, seven days a week, playing from 8:30-9:30, 10 until 11, 11:30-12:30, and finishing the evening playing from one until two o'clock in the morning. German customers found the group's name comical, as "Beatles" sounded like "Peedles", which meant a small boy's penis.

Harrison remembered the Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit as the best thing the group had ever seen, as it had so many neon lights, clubs and restaurants, although also saying, "The whole area was full of transvestites and prostitutes and gangsters, but I couldn't say that they were the audience ... Hamburg was really like our apprenticeship, learning how to play in front of people."
Best remembered the Indra as being a depressing place that was filled with a few tourists, and having heavy, old, red curtains that made it seem shabby compared to the larger Kaiserkeller, a club also owned by Koschmider and located nearby at 36 Grosse Freiheit. After the closure of the Indra because of complaints about the noise, The Beatles played in the Kaiserkeller, starting on 4 October 1960.


Their playing schedule at the Kaiserkeller remained the same as it had been in the Indra. Lennon said: "We had to play for hours and hours on end. Every song lasted twenty minutes and had twenty solos in it. That's what improved the playing. There was nobody to copy from. We played what we liked best and the Germans liked it as long as it was loud." The Beatles had been used to simply standing still when they had performed in Liverpool, but Koschmider would come to the front of the stage and loudly shout “Mach schau, mach schau!” (Make a show for the customers). Harrison explained that this prompted Lennon to “dance around like a gorilla, and we’d all knock our heads together.” As Best had been the only one to take O-Level German at school, he could communicate with Koschmider and the clientele better than the rest of the group, and was invited to sing a speciality number called "Peppermint Twist
Peppermint Twist
"Peppermint Twist" is a song written by Joey Dee and Henry Glover, recorded and released by Joey Dee and the Starliters in 1961. Capitalizing on the Twist dance craze and the nightclub in which Dee performed , the song hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in early 1962...

" (while McCartney played the drums) but Best complained that he always felt uncomfortable being at the front of the stage. Willie Limpinski, Koschmider's business manager, decided that the club would attract more customers if it presented continuous live music.

Williams warned The Beatles about the competition they would face by playing in the same club as the Hurricanes by saying, "You'd better pull your socks up because Rory Storm and the Hurricanes are coming in, and you know how good they are. They're going to knock you for six." In early October 1960, Storm and the Hurricanes were free to travel to Hamburg, replacing Derry and the Seniors at the Kaiserkeller
Kaiserkeller is a night club in the St. Pauli quarter of Hamburg, Germany, near the Reeperbahn. It was opened by Bruno Koschmider on October 14, 1959. The Beatles had a contract with Kaiserkeller to play there in 1960.-Biography:...

. They arrived in Hamburg on 1 October 1960, having negotiated to be paid more than the Seniors or The Beatles. They played five or six 90-minute sets every day, alternating with The Beatles. They were appalled at the living conditions The Beatles and other groups like Howie Casey and the Seniors (who were sleeping in one room at the back of the Kaiserkeller) had to put up with, so they booked into Hamburg's Seamens' Mission
Centres for Seafarers
Centres for Seafarers is an ecumenical collaboration between The Apostleship of the Sea, The Sailors Society and The Mission to Seafarers. It is a registered UK charity formed in 2006....


Violence and conflict

The stage of the Kaiserkeller was made of planks of wood balanced on the top of beer crates, so the two groups made a bet to see to who would be the first to break it. After punishing the stage for days, a slight crack appeared, and when Storm jumped off the top of the upright piano it finally broke. Johnny 'Guitar' Byrne remembered that as Storm hit the stage, it cracked loudly and formed a V-shape around him. He disappeared into it, and all the amplifiers and drummer Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr
Richard Starkey, MBE better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for The Beatles. When the band formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He became The Beatles' drummer in...

's cymbals slid into the hole. Koschmider was furious, and had to replace the live music with a juke box. Both groups went across the road to Harold's cafe for breakfast on the Grosse Freiheit, but were followed by Koschmider's doormen, armed with coshes, who beat them all as punishment.

Horst Fascher
Horst Fascher
Horst Fascher is a previous German nightclub bouncer, and a friend of The Beatles during their days playing in Hamburg, Germany....

 (born 1936, Hamburg) was Koschmider's nightclub bouncer
Bouncer (doorman)
A bouncer is an informal term for a type of security guard employed at venues such as bars, nightclubs or concerts to provide security, check legal age, and refuse entry to a venue based on criteria such as intoxication, aggressive behavior, or attractiveness...

, who had been the 1959 German featherweight boxing champion, but his career was cut short after he unintentionally killed a sailor in a street fight. He later became a friend of The Beatles, and protected them from drunken customers. Lennon occasionally urinated out of his apartment’s window onto the street below, and often started arguments with the audience, so that eventually one member of the audience would jump on stage to hit him, but it was Fascher’s job to protect Lennon and the group. In some occasions beer bottles were thrown at them. Fascher remembered Lennon often greeting the audience with a "Heil Hitler", and a Nazi salute: "He'd pull out a black comb and pretend it was a moustache… people laughed."

Lennon was missing for a performance one evening, and Fascher found him in the toilet with a woman. He broke up the tête-à-tête with a bucket of cold water which he threw over them both, and ordered Lennon onto the stage. Lennon was furious, and complained that he could not go on stage dripping wet. Fascher snapped back: "I don't give a shit, you're going onstage and I don't care if you do it naked." A short time later the audience was roaring with laughter. Fascher ran to see what the commotion was, and saw Lennon playing guitar, but only wearing underpants with a toilet seat around his neck. (Epstein later asked Liverpool journalist Bill Harry
Bill Harry
Bill Harry is the creator of Mersey Beat, an important newspaper of the early 1960s, which focused on the Liverpool music scene...

 not to publish photos showing Lennon walking along the Reeperbahn in his underpants). Fascher sang lead vocals with the group on "Be Bop A Lula", and "Hallelujah I Love Her So
Hallelujah I Love Her So
"Hallelujah I Love Her So" is a rhythm and blues single written by and released by American singer Ray Charles in 1956 on the Atlantic label.The song peaked at number five on the Billboard R&B chart and much like "I Got a Woman" and "This Little Girl of Mine" before it was a song based on a gospel...

", and his alliance with The Beatles continued, as he later went to work at the Star-Club. Lennon later related a story to friends about how he had mugged a drunken English sailor in a Hamburg street for money, and after having beaten him so badly, he "left him for dead."

Performance skills

According to McCartney, Sutcliffe was a "typical art student", with bad skin and pimples
Acne vulgaris
Acne vulgaris is a common human skin disease, characterized by areas of skin with seborrhea , comedones , papules , pustules , Nodules and possibly scarring...

, but his reputation grew after he began wearing tight trousers and dark Ray-Ban sunglasses. Sutcliffe's high spot was singing "Love Me Tender
Love Me Tender (song)
"Love Me Tender" is a song recorded by Elvis Presley and published by Elvis Presley Music, adapted from the tune of "Aura Lee" , a sentimental Civil War ballad.- History :...

", which drew more applause than when the other Beatles sang, increasing the friction between himself and McCartney. Lennon also started to criticise Sutcliffe; making jokes about Sutcliffe's size and playing. While Sutcliffe is often described in Beatles' biographies as appearing very uncomfortable onstage, and often playing with his back to the audience, Best denies this, recalling Sutcliffe as usually good-natured and "animated" before an audience.

The Beatles steadily improved during their time in Hamburg, and this was noticed by other musicians who were there at the time. McCartney recalled, "We got better and better and other groups started coming to watch us. The accolade of accolades was when Sheridan would come in from the Top Ten (the big club where we aspired to go) or when Rory Storm or Ringo [Starr] would hang around to watch us. What'd I Say
What'd I Say
According to Charles' autobiography, "What'd I Say" was accidental when he improvised it to fill time at the end of a concert in December 1958. He asserts that he never tested songs on audiences before recording them, but "What'd I Say" is an exception...

' was always the one that really got them." The song was often played by the group, once being played for 90 minutes non-stop, with group members walking off stage to wash and drink before returning. Sutcliffe wrote a letter to his mother saying, "We have improved a thousand-fold since our arrival and Allan Williams, who is here at the moment, tells us that there is no group in Liverpool to touch us."

On Saturday 18 October 1960, Williams arranged a recording session for Lou Walters (of the Hurricanes) at the Akustik Studio, a small booth on the fifth floor of 57 Kirchenallee (The Klockmann-House). Williams asked Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison to play and sing harmonies on the recording. Best was in town buying drumsticks, so Starr, the Hurricanes' drummer, played drums. This was the first time Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr recorded together. They recorded three songs: "Fever
Fever (1956 song)
"Fever" is a song written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell, who used the pseudonym John Davenport. It was originally recorded by Little Willie John in 1956. It has been covered by numerous artists from various musical genres, notably Peggy Lee in 1958....

", "September Song
September Song
"September Song" is an American pop standard composed by Kurt Weill, with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, introduced by Walter Huston in the 1938 Broadway musical Knickerbocker Holiday. It has since been recorded by numerous singers and instrumentalists...

" and "Summertime
Summertime (song)
"Summertime" is an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP....


The Top Ten

Formerly the Hippodrome (Reeperbahn 136), the Top Ten club was opened in 1960 by Peter Eckhorn, and was operated by Iain Hines, who was an organist.
In late October 1960, The Beatles left Koschmider's club to work at the Top Ten Club, as Eckhorn offered the group more money, a better PA (with reverb and echo) and a slightly better place to sleep (above the club itself) although by doing so the group broke their contract with Koschmider. Koschmider then reported Harrison for working under the legal age limit (even though he had been working at Koschmider's club) and Harrison was deported on 30 November 1960. When Best and McCartney went back to the Bambi Kino to get their belongings they found it in almost total darkness. As a snub to Koschmider, McCartney and Best found a condom
A condom is a barrier device most commonly used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases . It is put on a man's erect penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner...

 in their luggage, attached it to a nail on the concrete wall of the room, and set fire to it. There was no real damage done, but Koschmider reported them both for attempted arson. McCartney: "One evening we were just walking down the Reeperbahn, when we heard this 'ta-ti-ti-ta', and then 'Komm mit mir!' ('Come with me!')".
Best and McCartney spent three hours in the Davidwache Police Station, and were deported on 4 December 1960. Lennon's work permit
Work permit
Work permit is a generic term for a legal authorization which allows a person to take employment.It is most often used in reference to instances where a person is given permission to work in a country where one does not hold citizenship, but is also used in reference to minors, who in some...

 was revoked a few days later and he went home by train, but as Sutcliffe had a cold
Common cold
The common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system, caused primarily by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Common symptoms include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever...

, he stayed in Hamburg. Sutcliffe later borrowed money from Kirchherr (his German girlfriend) for the airfare back to Liverpool in early January 1961. Back in Liverpool, no one contacted each other for two weeks, but Best and his mother made numerous phone calls to Hamburg to recover the group's equipment.

Back in Liverpool, the group played an engagement on 17 December 1960, at the Casbah Coffee Club, with Chas Newby
Chas Newby
Charles 'Chas' Newby , was temporarily the bassist for The Beatles in December 1960, following the departure of Stuart Sutcliffe. When The Beatles returned from Germany for the first time, they were short of a bass guitarist. Pete Best suggested Chas Newby...

 substituting for Sutcliffe, playing bass with them for four concerts. Newby was shocked at the vast improvement of their playing and singing after the residency in Hamburg, and was struck by how powerful Best's drumming now was, pushing the group to play harder and louder. (It was probably due to McCartney that Best developed a loud drumming style, as he would often tell Best in Hamburg to "Crank it up" = play as loud as possible).

After Harrison turned 18 and the immigration problems had been solved, The Beatles went back to Hamburg for another residency at the Top Ten Club
Top Ten Club
The Top Ten Club was a music club in Hamburg, Germany owned by Peter Eckhorn. The address in Hamburg area St. Pauli was 136 Reeperbahn.-Musicians who have played here:...

, playing from 1 April to 1 July 1961. To secure their return, Eckhorn paid 158DM to the German authorities, which was the cost of deporting McCartney and Best back to Liverpool the previous winter. Fellow musician, Tony Sheridan
Tony Sheridan
Tony Sheridan , is an English rock and roll singer-songwriter and guitarist...

, later remembered the living conditions at the club: “John, George, Paul, Stuart and Pete and I were booked to open the smart Top Ten in the Reeperbahn. We moved into a dormitory over the club and slept in bunks. It was terrible really, now I look back. We all washed our own shirts and socks so the place smelt like a Chinese laundry. But we had great times and I’m afraid we used to tease the life out of the old lady who [took care of] us.”

Sutcliffe decided to leave The Beatles to concentrate on his art studies and to be with Kirchherr, so McCartney (unwillingly) took over as bass player for the group. Sutcliffe later enrolled at the Hamburg College of Art under the tutelage of the pop art
Pop art
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art...

ist Eduardo Paolozzi
Eduardo Paolozzi
Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi, KBE, RA , was a Scottish sculptor and artist. He was a major figure in the international art sphere, while, working on his own interpretation and vision of the world. Paolozzi investigated how we can fit into the modern world to resemble our fragmented civilization...

. He lent McCartney his Höfner
Karl Höfner GmbH & Co. KG is a German manufacturer of musical instruments, with one division that manufactures guitars and basses, and another that manufactures other string instruments....

 President 500/5 model bass guitar but asked McCartney not to change the strings around, so McCartney had to play it upside down, until he could buy a specially made left-handed Höfner bass of his own. McCartney bought his first Höfner Violin bass guitar (model 500/1) from the Steinway-Haus Music Store (Colonnaden 29) Lennon bought a Rickenbacker guitar (1958 Model 325) and Harrison bought a Gibson amplifier.

The matching lilac jackets, made by McCartney's next-door neighbour in Liverpool to be worn as stage clothes, were soon threadbare, as were any other items of clothing, so the group bought cowboy boots, jeans and black leather jackets and trousers, from Paul Hundertmark's (Spielbudenplatz 9) and a tailor's shop at Thadenstrasse 6. Lennon said: "We had a bit more money the second time so we bought leather pants ... we looked like four Gene Vincent
Gene Vincent
Vincent Eugene Craddock , known as Gene Vincent, was an American musician who pioneered the styles of rock and roll and rockabilly. His 1956 top ten hit with his Blue Caps, "Be-Bop-A-Lula", is considered a significant early example of rockabilly...


The Star-Club

On 13 April 1962, The Beatles were booked as the opening act for the launch of a new club. The Star-Club, opened by Manfred Weissleder, had a capacity for two thousand people, as well as cinema-style seating. When the Beatles were booked to play there, Neil Aspinall
Neil Aspinall
Neil Stanley Aspinall was a British music industry executive. A school friend of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, he went on to head The Beatles' company Apple Corps....

 left his job to become The Beatles' permanent road manager, as he was earning more money driving them around than he was earning by being an accountant
An accountant is a practitioner of accountancy or accounting , which is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities and others make decisions about allocating resources.The Big Four auditors are the largest...

, and had his van ferried to Hamburg. The Beatles returned to Hamburg by plane to play from 13 April to 31 May 1962. Upon their arrival, they were informed of Sutcliffe's death.

By the time of their second Star-Club visit from 1–14 November 1962, Starr had become the group's drummer. The Beatles stayed at the Hotel Germania (Detlev-Bremer-Strasse 8), having the luxury of single rooms for the first time, and then stayed at the Hotel Pacific (Neuer Pferdemarkt 30) for another booking from 18–31 December 1962. Harrison said: "We came back to play the Star-Club, a big place and fantastic because it had a great sound system. This time we had a hotel. I remember it was quite a long walk from the club, at the top of the Reeperbahn going back towards the city." Portions of their final performances were taped with a portable recorder by an associate of Ted "King Size" Taylor of the Dominoes, another group playing at the club. The tapes were released on Germany's Bellaphon
Bellaphon Records
Bellaphon Records is an independent German record label. Their artists have included Geordie, Limahl, Johnny Cash, Nektar, and Ganymed.Bellaphon were founded in 1961 by Branco Zivanovic. They are headquartered in Frankfurt. The company runs the labels Bellaphon, Bacillus and L&R. Bellaphon has...

 label in 1977 as The Beatles: Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962
Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962
Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 is a double album featuring live performances by The Beatles, recorded in late December 1962 at the Star-Club during their final Hamburg residency...

and subsequently re-released in various formats and titles.

The set list at the Star-Club (with the lead singer in parentheses):

"I Saw Her Standing There
I Saw Her Standing There
"I Saw Her Standing There" is a song written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and is the opening track on The Beatles' debut album, Please Please Me, released in the United Kingdom by Parlophone on 22 March 1963....

" (McCartney)
"Roll Over Beethoven
Roll Over Beethoven
"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single by Chuck Berry originally released on Chess Records, with "Drifting Heart" as the B-side. The lyrics of the song mention rock and roll and the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music...

" (Harrison)
"Hippy Hippy Shake
Hippy Hippy Shake
Hippy Hippy Shake is a song written and recorded by Chan Romero in 1959. That same year, the song reached number three in Australia.A cover version by Italian rocker Little Tony appeared in the same year and found moderate success in the United Kingdom and Italy.A version by UK-based band The...

" (McCartney)
"Sweet Little Sixteen
Sweet Little Sixteen
"Sweet Little Sixteen" is a rock and roll song written and originally performed by Chuck Berry, who released it as a single in January 1958. It reached number two on the American charts, Berry's highest position ever on the charts, with the exception of the suggestive number one hit "My...

" (Lennon)
"Lend Me Your Comb
Lend Me Your Comb
"Lend Me Your Comb" was a song written by Kay Twomey, Fred Wise and Ben Weisman and published by Alamo Music, ASCAP. It was originally the B-Side of Carl Perkins' "Glad All Over" single, released December 1957 on Sun Records as Sun 287 by "The Rockin' Guitar Man". This was Carl Perkins' last single...

" (Lennon)
"Your Feet's Too Big" (McCartney)
"Red Sails in the Sunset
Red Sails in the Sunset (song)
"Red Sails in the Sunset" is a popular song.Published in 1935, its music was written by Hugh Williams with lyrics by prolific songwriter Jimmy Kennedy...

" (McCartney)
"Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby
Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby
"Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" is a 1957 song written by Carl Perkins and originally released on the Sun Dance Album of ... Carl Perkins. A song with the same title was written in the mid-1930s by Alabama-born country songwriter Rex Griffin. Griffin recorded the song for Decca Records in 1936...

" (Harrison)
Matchbox (song)
"Matchbox" is a rock and roll and rockabilly song written by Carl Perkins and first recorded by him at Sun Records in December 1956 and released on February 11, 1957 as a 45 single on Sun Records. It has become one of Perkins' best-known recordings...

" (Lennon)
"Talkin' 'Bout You
Talkin' 'Bout You
"Talkin' 'Bout You" is a song written by Ray Charles.In 1964, The Animals covered it. The 7-minute recording was cut down and appeared on their hit single "The House of the Rising Sun" with a running time of only 1:54...

" (Lennon)
"Shimmy Shimmy" (McCartney)
"Long Tall Sally
Long Tall Sally
"Long Tall Sally" is a rock and roll 12-bar blues song written by Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Richard Penniman , recorded by Little Richard and released March 1956 on the Specialty Records label....

" (McCartney)
"I Remember You" (McCartney)
"I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)
"I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry " is a popular song written in 1953 by Joe Thomas and Howard Biggs. Since then, it became something of a minor pop standard, largely due to several well-received versions of the song. It is best known for appearing on Elvis Presley's first album, and for a...

" (Lennon)
"Where Have You Been All My Life" (Lennon)

"Twist and Shout
Twist and Shout
"Twist and Shout" is a song written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell. It was originally titled "Shake It Up, Baby" and recorded by the Top Notes and then covered by The Isley Brothers. It was covered by The Beatles with John Lennon on the lead vocals and originally released on their first album...

" (Lennon)
"Mr. Moonlight
Mr. Moonlight (song)
"Mr. Moonlight" is a song written by Roy Lee Johnson, best known for being covered by The Beatles on the 1964 albums Beatles for Sale in the United Kingdom and Beatles '65 in the United States.-Different versions:...

" (Lennon)
"A Taste of Honey
A Taste of Honey (song)
"A Taste of Honey" is a pop standard written by Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow. It was originally an instrumental track written for the 1960 Broadway version of the 1958 British play A Taste of Honey . Both the original and a cover by Herb Alpert in 1965 earned the song Grammy Awards...

" (McCartney)
"Besame Mucho
Bésame Mucho
"Bésame Mucho" is a Spanish language song written in 1940 by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez.-Inspiration:According to Velázquez herself, she wrote this song even though she had never been kissed yet at the time, and kissing as she heard was considered a sin.She was inspired by the piano...

" (McCartney)
"Reminiscing" (Harrison)
"Kansas City" (McCartney)
"Nothin' Shakin' But the Leaves On a Tree" (Harrison)
"To Know Her is to Love Her
To Know Him Is to Love Him
"To Know Him Is to Love Him" is a song written by Phil Spector, inspired by words on his father's tombstone. It was first recorded by his first vocal group, the only one of which he was a member, the Teddy Bears. Their recording went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1958...

" (Harrison or Lennon)
"Little Queenie" (McCartney)
"Falling in Love Again
Falling in Love Again (Can't Help It)
"Falling in Love Again " is the English language name for a 1930 German song composed by Friedrich Hollaender as Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt...

" (McCartney)
"Ask Me Why
Ask Me Why
"Ask Me Why" is a song by The Beatles originally released in the United Kingdom as the B-side of their hit single "Please Please Me". It was also included on their first UK album, Please Please Me.-Composition:...

" (Lennon)
"Hallelujah I Love Her So
Hallelujah I Love Her So
"Hallelujah I Love Her So" is a rhythm and blues single written by and released by American singer Ray Charles in 1956 on the Atlantic label.The song peaked at number five on the Billboard R&B chart and much like "I Got a Woman" and "This Little Girl of Mine" before it was a song based on a gospel...

" (club manager Horst Fascher
Horst Fascher
Horst Fascher is a previous German nightclub bouncer, and a friend of The Beatles during their days playing in Hamburg, Germany....

"Be-Bop-A-Lula" is a rockabilly song first recorded in 1956 by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps.-Origins of the song:The writing of the song is credited to Gene Vincent and his manager, Bill "Sheriff Tex" Davis. There is evidence that the song was started in 1955, when Vincent was recuperating from...

" (Fred Fascher, Horst's brother)
"Till There Was You
Till There Was You
"Till There Was You" is a song written by Meredith Willson for his 1957 musical play The Music Man, and which also appeared in the 1962 movie version...

" (McCartney)
Sheila (song)
"Sheila" is a song written and recorded by Tommy Roe with the help of Robert Bosch. The single reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on September 1, 1962, remaining in the top position for two weeks and peaking at number six on the R&B charts ....

" (Harrison)

Sex, drugs and rock and roll

McCartney explained that the whole group had only experienced sex with girls from Liverpool, but when they got to Hamburg the only women who hung around the clubs late at night were strippers, dancers, or prostitutes. Harrison (who was then only 17) called Hamburg, “The naughtiest city in the world”. McCartney said: “By the time you got to Hamburg, a girlfriend there was likely to be a stripper, so to be suddenly involved with a hard-core striptease artist, who obviously knew a thing or two about sex... it was quite an eye-opener.” Gerry Marsden
Gerry Marsden
Gerard "Gerry" Marsden is an English musician and television personality, best known for being leader of the British band Gerry & the Pacemakers.-Biography:...

—frontman for Gerry & the Pacemakers—remembered visiting a Hamburg brothel in Herbertstrasse with Lennon: "We paid our money, went in and sat down. This guy came out with the biggest lady we had ever seen in our lives. She looked like a bus with a bra on. We ran out that door so quick we didn't hear it shut. I wanted to go back to get my money back but John said: 'No, we'd better not. Might cause trouble.'"

The Beatles's introduction to "Prellies" (Preludin) was in Hamburg. As the group had to play for hours, Sheridan offered them Preludin, saying: "Here's something to keep you awake." Kirchherr also supplied Sutcliffe and the other Beatles with Preludin, which, when taken with beer, made them feel euphoric and helped to keep them awake until the early hours of the morning. Looking back, Harrison said that the whole group would be “frothing at the mouth,” and would sometimes stay awake for days. Lennon recalled, “The waiters always had these pills [Preludin], so when they saw the musicians falling over with tiredness or drink, they’d give you the pill. You could work almost endlessly until the pill wore off, and then you’d have another.” McCartney said that he would usually take one, but Lennon would often take four or five.

Legitimate use of Preludin required a doctor's prescription
Medical prescription
A prescription is a health-care program implemented by a physician or other medical practitioner in the form of instructions that govern the plan of care for an individual patient. Prescriptions may include orders to be performed by a patient, caretaker, nurse, pharmacist or other therapist....

 note, but Kirchherr's mother was able to obtain it from a local chemist
Pharmacists are allied health professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use...

 which supplied the drug without asking questions. Epstein later asked the Star-Club owner, Weissleder, not to publish photographs showing the group playing with tubes of Preludin. Starr explained that Dexedrine too was in plentiful supply in Hamburg, as it was known to produce increased wakefulness and focus, in association with decreased fatigue, and decreased appetite.

Recording sessions

The first recording ever released was the single "My Bonnie
My Bonnie
My Bonnie is the name of a 1961 single, a 1962 album and a 1963 EP by Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers, better known as The Beatles.-History:...

", which was recorded in Hamburg during the group's time at the Top Ten club. The recording came about when The Beatles were recruited by singer Sheridan, who also had a residency at the Top Ten club, to act as his backing group
Backup band
A backing band or backup band is a musical ensemble that accompanies an artist at a live performance or on a recording. This can either be an established, long-standing group that has little or no change in membership, or it may be an ad hoc group assembled for a single show or a single recording...

 on a series of recordings. The recordings were made for the German Polydor Records
Polydor Records
Polydor is a record label owned by Universal Music Group, headquartered in the United Kingdom.-Beginnings:Polydor was originally an independent branch of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. Its name was first used as an export label in 1924, the British and German branches of the Gramophone...

 label, and were produced by the famed bandleader Bert Kaempfert
Bert Kaempfert
Bert Kaempfert was a German orchestra leader and songwriter. He made easy listening and jazz-oriented records, and wrote the music for a number of well-known songs, such as "Strangers in the Night" and "Spanish Eyes".-Biography:He was born in Hamburg, Germany - where he received his lifelong...

, who had an instrumental hit called "Wonderland by Night" ("Wunderland bei Nacht") which reached number one in the U.S. in 1961, the same year he produced "My Bonnie". On 22 June 1961, Sheridan and The Beatles drove to Hamburg-Harburg
Harburg is a borough of the city of Hamburg, Germany and a quarter in this borough. The borough Harburg lies on the southern shores of the river Elbe and covers parts of the port of Hamburg, residential and rural areas and some research institutes...

 (about 30 minutes from Hamburg) to record in the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle (auditorium/hall) and were paid 330 Deutschmarks (about $75) for the recording, although there was a second recording session on 23 June and a third session in May 1962. Kaempfert signed the group to a one-year Polydor contract at the first session on 22 June 1961.

On 31 October 1961, Polydor released "My Bonnie" (Mein Herz ist bei dir nur) which appeared on the German charts under the name "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers"—a generic name used for whoever happened to be in Sheridan's backup group, although McCartney explained: "They didn't like our name and said, 'Change to the Beat Brothers, this is more understandable for the German audience.' We went along with it... it was a record." The song was later released in the UK, on 5 January 1962. A few copies were also pressed under the American Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....


Brian Epstein

"My Bonnie" was to bring The Beatles to the attention of a key figure in their subsequent development and commercial success, Brian Epstein
Brian Epstein
Brian Samuel Epstein , was an English music entrepreneur, and is best known for being the manager of The Beatles up until his death. He also managed several other musical artists such as Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Cilla Black, The Remo Four & The Cyrkle...

. In September 1961, Harrison had a German copy of the record, which Sutcliffe had sent to him, as he was still in Hamburg. Harrison loaned it to Bob Wooler (The Cavern Club DJ) who played it a various venues, when the members of the group lent it to him. On 28 October 1961, the 27-year-old Epstein, manager of the record department in his father's NEMS music store in Whitechapel Street, Liverpool, was asked for the record by an 18-year-old boy, Raymond Jones. Epstein could find nothing on his files about The Beatles or the record, but the following day it was requested again by two girls, this time mentioning that The Beatles had been seen playing at the Cavern, a club in nearby Mathew Street. Alistair Taylor
Alistair Taylor
James Alistair Taylor was the English personal assistant of Brian Epstein who accompanied him to the Cavern Club when he first saw The Beatles play on 9 November 1961...

 (Epstein's assistant) later said that the story had been invented and that he had used the name Jones to order copies of the record himself.

Mersey Beat founder, Harry, later repudiated the story about Epstein not knowing who The Beatles were, as Harry had been talking to Epstein about the group for a long time (being the group he promoted the most in Mersey Beat
Mersey Beat
Mersey Beat was a music publication in Liverpool, England in the early 1960s. It was founded by Bill Harry, who was one of John Lennon's classmates at Liverpool Art College...

) and by McCartney saying, “Brian [Epstein] knew perfectly well who The Beatles were, they were on the front page of the second issue of Mersey Beat.” Nevertheless, the interest in the record eventually led Epstein to make his way to the Cavern with Taylor, during lunch hour on 9 November 1961. He was initially repelled by the dark, damp club, but he congratulated the group on their performance.

Kirchherr, Voormann, and Vollmer

Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann
Klaus Voormann
Klaus Voormann is a German Grammy Award-winning artist, noted musician, and record producer. He designed artwork for many bands including The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Wet Wet Wet and Turbonegro. His most notable work as a producer was his work with the band Trio, including their worldwide hit "Da Da...

, and Jürgen Vollmer
Jürgen Vollmer
Jürgen Vollmer, with Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voorman , befriended The Beatles during the band's time in Hamburg in the early 1960s. Vollmer was the son of a professional army officer who died during World War II. Young Vollmer was attending Hamburg's Institute of Fashion at the time he met The...

 were early fans of The Beatles after they heard the group play in the Kaiserkeller. Kirchherr, Voormann's girlfriend, was initially horrified at the idea of spending any time in such a sordid district, but Voormann, after watching The Beatles several times without her, eventually persuaded her to come too. After only having previously only listened to Trad jazz
Trad jazz
Trad jazz - short for "traditional jazz" - refers to the Dixieland and Ragtime jazz styles of the early 20th century in contrast to any more modern style....

, The Platters
The Platters
The Platters were a vocal group of the early rock and roll era. Their distinctive sound was a bridge between the pre-rock Tin Pan Alley tradition and the burgeoning new genre...

, and Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles , known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres...

, the Rock n' Roll that The Beatles played was totally new to them. The three friends visited the Kaiserkeller almost every night, arriving at 9 o'clock and sitting by the front of the stage. Kirchherr, then 22 years old, later said: "It was like a merry-go-round in my head, they looked absolutely astonishing... My whole life changed in a couple of minutes. All I wanted was to be with them and to know them." Sutcliffe was fascinated by Kirchherr, and Harry later wrote that when Kirchherr walked in, every head would immediately turn her way. Sutcliffe wrote to a friend that he could hardly take his eyes off her when she had first walked into the club, and tried to talk to her during the next break, but she had already left.

Kirchherr asked The Beatles if they would mind letting her take photographs of them in a photo session, which impressed them, as other groups only had snapshots
Snapshot (photography)
A snapshot is popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically "imperfect" or amateurish—out of focus or poorly framed or composed...

 that were taken by friends. The next morning Kirchherr took photographs in a fairground park called "Der Dom" which was close to the Reeperbahn. Kirchherr started dating Sutcliffe, and they were engaged in November 1960.

Kirchherr is credited with inventing The Beatles' moptop haircut, although she personally disagrees. In 1995, she told BBC Radio Merseyside: "All my friends in art school used to run around with this sort of what you call Beatles' haircut, and my boyfriend then, Klaus Voormann, had this hairstyle, and Stuart [Sutcliffe] liked it very very much. He was the first one who really got the nerve to get the Brylcreem
Brylcreem is a brand of hair styling products for men. The first Brylcreem product was a pomade created in 1928 by County Chemicals at the Chemico Works in Bradford Street, Birmingham, England. The pomade is an emulsion of water and mineral oil stabilised with beeswax.Beecham was the longtime...

 out of his hair and asking me to cut his hair for him. Pete [Best] has really curly hair and it wouldn't work." After suffering blackouts and intense headaches, Sutcliffe was taken to a hospital on 10 April 1962—Kirchherr rode with him in the ambulance—but died before the ambulance reached the hospital. Three days later Kirchherr met The Beatles at the Hamburg airport and told them Sutcliffe had died of a brain haemorrhage.

In 1966, Voormann was asked by Lennon to design the sleeve for The Beatles´ album Revolver
Revolver (album)
Revolver is the seventh studio album by the English rock group The Beatles, released on 5 August 1966 on the Parlophone label and produced by George Martin. Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous LP, the folk rock inspired Rubber...

, and also played bass on solo recordings by Lennon, Harrison, and Starr. In 1995, Voormann designed the artwork for the three-volume CD sets in The Beatles Anthology series. In 1999, Kirchherr published a book called Hamburg Days (a two-volume limited edition) containing a set of photographs by Kirchherr and "memory drawings" by Voormann of The Beatles time in Hamburg.

Later years

The Beatles returned to Hamburg in June 1966, staying at the Tremsbüttel castle (Schlosstrasse 10), and played two concerts in the Ernst-Merck-Halle on 26 and 27 June . Lennon later said, "I might have been born in Liverpool - but I grew up in Hamburg".
Lennon made the door of Jäger-Passage at Wohlwillstrasse 22 famous in music history when he posed in front of it for a photo which was later used on the covers of the Rock 'n' Roll
Rock 'n' Roll (John Lennon album)
Rock 'n' Roll is a 1975 album of late 1950s and early 1960s songs covered by John Lennon. Recording the album was problematic and spanned a year. Though critically derided, it reached #6 in both the United Kingdom and the United States.-History:...

and Rock 'n' Roll Sessions albums. The photo was taken by Jürgen Vollmer
Jürgen Vollmer
Jürgen Vollmer, with Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voorman , befriended The Beatles during the band's time in Hamburg in the early 1960s. Vollmer was the son of a professional army officer who died during World War II. Young Vollmer was attending Hamburg's Institute of Fashion at the time he met The...

, during the time The Beatles were playing at the Top Ten club.

Individual Beatles later commented about their memories of Hamburg, with Lennon reflecting, "We'd outlived the Hamburg stage and wanted to pack that up. We hated going back to Hamburg those last two times. We'd had that scene. Brian [Epstein] made us go back to fulfill the contract...". Harrison, however, had some very positive memories of the period: "I'd have to say with hindsight that Hamburg bordered on the best of Beatles times. We didn't have any luxury, we didn't have any bathrooms or any clothes, we were pretty grubby, we couldn't afford anything, but on the other hand we weren't yet famous, so we didn't have to contend with the bullshit that comes with fame." McCartney was philosophical: "Hamburg was certainly a great childhood memory. But I think all things are enhanced by time. It was very exciting, though I think it felt better to me a little later in our career, once we'd started to get a bit of success with the records."

A memorial square, Beatles-Platz
The Beatles-Platz is a plaza in the St. Pauli quarter in Hamburg, Germany, at the crossroads of Reeperbahn and Große Freiheit. It is circular, with a diameter of and paved black to make it look like a vinyl record...

, was constructed in Hamburg in 2008 at the meeting of Reeperbahn and Große Freiheit streets, containing five stainless steel sculptures of the Beatles. Construction costs amounted to €550,000 ($776,000), of which €200,000 was provided by sponsors and donors. The idea of creating a memorial to The Beatles had been initiated in 2001 by Hamburg radio station Oldie 95. Hamburg's Mayor, Ole von Beust, said at the opening, "It is about time that Hamburg commemorated this great group." The square when illuminated resembles a spinning turntable. Because the band members are shown only in outline form, the figure of the drummer can be either Best or Starr.

External links

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