HAMBURG 

Dom Fairground | Port District The Rock 'n' Roll Night Clubs of St. Pauli |

"I might've been born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg. And pretty bloody fast, too."  |  John Lennon

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ASTRID KIRCHHERR'S ICONIC PHOTOGRAPH
THE BEATLES  | AT THE DOM FAIRGROUND | 1960
JÜRGEN VOLLMER'S ICONIC PHOTOGRAPH 1960
JOHN LENNON | JÄGER-PASSAGE | WOHLWILLSTRASSE 22 | 
USED FOR JOHN'S 'ROCK 'N' ROLL' ALBUM COVER | 1975 |
Shades of 'Abbey Road' as Paul, George, & Stuart just walk on by
HAMBURG  "THE CRADLE OF BRITISH ROCK"
 
Alan Clayson—the 1960's British pop musician and later prolific author and music historian calls Hamburg—"The Cradle of British Rock".  And he's not alone, one of the greatest ever Liverpool rockers, Kingsize Taylor, who played the clubs in St. Pauli on numerous occasions with his band, The Dominoes, thinks very much the same. "People think they are listening to 'the Liverpool sound', but what they are actually hearing is 'the Hamburg sound', because that's where it was created."
NIGHT CLUBS | ST. PAULI

GROSSE FREIHEIT 'the great freedom' | REEPERBAHN 'ropewalk'

1960s Photos. Day. The Grosse Freiheit from the Reeperbahn |  1960-90s Photos. Neon Night. The Reeperbahn | Grosse Freihei

THE INDRA CABARET CLUB

THE INDRA | GROSSE FREIHEIT 64 | ST. PAULI
The strip club cum night club owned by Bruno Koschmider, was one of the first clubs on the Grosse Freiheit to feature rock 'n' roll music—played very fast and very loud.
    The club—named after the Indian god, Indra—the supreme ruler of all the gods—and, rather appropriately, the god of thunder and storms, as well as the god of war—had a neon-lit elephant sign outside to attract the eye and make the place more memorable. (That's a joke.) 
    Not so much of a joke, though, for the old lady who lived upstairs from the club who complained bitterly to the police about all the horrible noise, late at night. All of which led to Koschmider closing the club and moving The Beatles to his other—larger—more sophisticated club (no strippers)—The Kaiserkeller. 
    All in all, The Beatles played The Indra for 48 nights—four and a half hours each weeknight—six hours on Saturday and Sunday nights—from 17 August to 3 October 1960. 

KAISER·KELLER Tanzpalast der Jugend

Rory Storm's 'Hurican' ​| 'Ty' ​| 'Lu' ​| Johnny 'Guitar' | 'Ringo'

KAISER·KELLER| OCTOBER 1960

THE KAISERKELLER | GROSSE FREIHEIT 36 | ST. PAULI 
Teenage Dance Palace Festival Der Rock 'n' Roll Fans
Presented by Brüno Koschmider | Original Rock 'n' Roll Bands
Rory Storm and His Hurican und The Beatles England-Liverpool
Brüno Koschmider—the owner of the Kaiserkeller—would shout "Mach Schau! Mach Schau!" each and every time The Beatles—or Rory Storm and The Hurricanes—took to the stage.
    All part of Koschmider's 'two-groups-a-night' 'non-stop' Rock Festival designed to draw punters in from off the street and keep them inside the club drinking away their money.
    Rory Storm and The Hurricanes had just taken over from Derry and The Seniors (another Liverpool group) when The Beatles arrived 'fresh' from their stint at the Indra Cabaret Club.
    Each 12-hour club session was split between the two participating groups—90 minutes on / 90 minutes off—no exceptions—no substitutes—no mid-session toilet breaks however many bottles of St. Pauli beer were sent up to the boys on stage to help them play even faster and louder.   
It was at The Kaiserkeller that The Beatles met Klaus Voormann—an art student—and later his two close friends—Astrid Kirchherr and Jürgen Vollmer—all self-proclaimed 'Exis'—inspired by the French-'Left Bank'-existentialist movement. The close friendship that ensued was to have a profound effect on the band's look and style—from their dress to their famous 'Beatles' hairstyle.
    Astrid and Jürgen were both aspiring photographers and in the weeks that followed they took some of the most celebrated and iconic photos ever taken of the band. As Astrid said much later, when asked what had moved her to photograph the then unknown group: "I saw their beauty, their intelligence, and their humour—and simply wanted to try and capture it." 
ASTRID KIRCHHERR | ANOTHER ICONIC PHOTOGRAPH |
THE BEATLES AT THE DOM FAIRGROUND | 1960
   It was also during their almost two months at The Kaiserkeller that a deep romance blossomed between Astrid and The Beatles' then bass-player, Stuart Sutcliffe—a relationship that was to precipitate a change in the line-up of The Beatles forever afterwards—as they went from a five-piece to a four-piece group.
    The Beatles played The Kaiserkeller for 58 nights—four and a half hours each weeknight—six hours on Saturday and Sunday nights—from 4 October to 30 November 1960. 

TOP-TEN CLUB

THE TOP-TEN CLUB  |  REEPERBAHN 136  |  ST. PAULI  |

A definite step up from Brüno Koschmider's Kaiserkeller. Peter Eckhorn—St. Pauli sex club and porn cinema owner—opened the Top Ten Club—early in October 1960—in direct competition to The Kaiserkeller. Tellingly, Eckhorn also convinced Koschmider's head bouncer, Horst Fascher, to come work at The Top Ten Club.

    The Top Ten’s resident headliner was British rock 'n' roll singer, Tony Sheridan, backed by The Jets. But with The Jets about to return to England, it was Fascher who then suggested The Beatles as the replacement backing-band for Sheridan.

    The Beatles auditioned—were accepted—and agreed to play The Top Ten while still under contract to the Kaiserkeller—much to displeasure of Brüno Koschmider. All of which resulted in the members of the band being deported from Germany—the official reason that George Harrison was under legal age. Stuart Sutcliffe, however, stayed on in Germany—with Astrid Kirchherr—hoping to follow his art studies.

     Over the intervening weeks and months, 'Mo' Best—writing letter after letter—working in concert with Peter Eckhorn—and Stuart Sutcliffe—removed all remaining legal obstacles and—with George now turned eighteen—The Beatles were allowed back into Germany at the end of March 1961 so they could go play The Top Ten Club.

    The Beatles' contract was an extremely rigorous one—but in many ways it was the making of them. A three-month, 13-week season. Seven-hour sessions each weeknight from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM. Eight-hour sessions on weekends from 7:00 PM until 3:00 AM. Only allowed a 15-minute break every hour. Truly extraordinary times. But the band very much wanted the work and, in effect, helped transform themselves into The Beatles the world would come to know, know, know—and love, love, love.

THE TOP TEN CLUB ​| MARCH - JULY 1961

i The Beatles ​| Stu George  ​| John  ​| Paul - piano ​| Pete - drums ​| 

& Tony Sheridan ​|  Early into their residency at The Top Ten Club

ii Paul with Hofner bass ​| All looking real cool in leather jackets

The Beatles played their own sets as well as acting as Tony Sheridan’s backing group—that’s Paul on the piano in the upper photo. It was this working relationship that led to The Beatles recording 'My Bonnie' and seven other songs with Sheridan—for Bert Kaempfert on the German 'Polydor' label. (The band named 'The Beat Brothers' on the record.)

    It's this 45 rpm disc—with 'When the Saints Go Marching In' on the 'B'-side —originally only released in Germany—that Bob Wooler played at The Cavern—and that Raymond Jones is supposed to have asked Brian Epstein about, at NEMS Record Store, in Liverpool.

    And the rest, as they say, is history. 

    All in all—between 1 April and 1 July 1961—The Beatles played The Top Ten Club for 98 hard rockin' nights.

STAR–CLUB

STAR-CLUBGROSSE FREIHEIT 39 ST. PAULI  

Star-Club was expressly designed to be the sparkling jewel in the business crown of Manfred Weissleder—a businessman of fearsome reputation with even more pull in St. Pauli than Peter Eckhorn. Weissleder certainly had more than enough pull to persuade Horst Fascher to leave The Top Ten and take on the role as Star-Club's manager. Which turned out to be another very telling move—as it was Fascher who then arranged—after face-to-face negotiations with Brian Epstein in Liverpool—for The Beatles to leave The Top Ten and headline, instead, at Star-Club.
    Star-Club—a re-purposed cinema that could hold two thousand paying punters—wanted The Beatles—and nothing but The Beatles—to headline the launch of what Weissleder had advertised on posters plastered up on walls all over Hamburg, would be Europe's premier rock 'n' roll club—presenting 'Top Class Acts From All Around Europe…and The World'.
    'The Time For Old-Fashioned Farmers' Music Is Over!'
   
The Beatles played Star-Club on three separate occasions in 1962. The first time: 48 nights—from 13 April-31 May (Spencer Leigh says the band were given Good Friday off!). The second: 14 nights—from 1-14 November—with Ringo Starr now the group's drummer. The third: 13 nights from 18-31 December (the group given the present of having Christmas Day off). A total of 75 nights.
    All of which underscores the somewhat sobering fact that The Beatles played Hamburg—called by some the band's true "rock 'n' roll apprenticeship"—for a finger-blistering 279 nights.

"Roll Over Beethoven…

      Go Tell Tchaikovsky…The News."

STAR-CLUB ​| APRIL-MAY ​| NOVEMBER ​| DECEMBER ​| 1962

The Beatles ​| John  ​| Ringo ​| ​Paul George 

The line-up of the band as it would be until they disband in 1970.

The Fab Four playing—owning—the Star-Club stage in front of the Manhattan skyline backdrop—shades of the fab future yet to come.

  'THE TIME IS AT HAND! 
       OLD FARMERS' MUSIC IS OVER!'
    And it most certainly was. Out with the old and in with the new!
    The Rock 'n' Twist Parade 1962 —rocked on and on and on.
    Star-Club would go on to host a veritable galaxy of  top class rock 'n' roll acts—not just from all around Europ, but the world.
    The Beatles, of course. But also: Ray Charles. Little Richard. Chuck Berry. Fats Domino. Jerry Lee Lewis. Gene Vincent. Chubby Checker. Bo Diddley. Bill Haley and the Comets. Joey Dee. The Everly Brothers. Brenda Lee. Duane Eddy. Gerry and The Pacemakers. The Remo Four. The Searchers. Joe Brown. The Walker Brothers. Johnny Kidd and The Pirates. The Spencer Davis Group. The Pretty Things. Along with many others.

  Gott im Himmel… große Feuer-kugeln der Güte…

Die Not hat ein Ende! Die Zeit der Dorfmusik ist vorbei!

 

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