When the Beatles left Liverpool for Hamburg in the summer of 1960 they were little more than enthusiastic amateurs. After playing regularly there until the end of 1962, they were performing like seasoned professionals. It was in Hamburg that the Beatles landed their first recording contract, and it was their single of “My Bonnie” that initially attracted Brian Epstein’s interest. The St. Pauli area molded the Beatles’ musicianship, stage act, and even their image—their trademark collarless jackets and mop-top haircuts were cultivated in the late-night clubs of the infamous, neon-lit district.
The Beatles in Hamburg provides an in-depth portrait of the band during their Hamburg residency. But it also evokes the atmosphere of this remarkable German city during the nascent cultural revolution that was to explode into the “Swinging Sixties.” With many exclusive interviews with musicians, promoters, club managers, audience members, fans, friends, and family, together with rare photographs and archive memorabilia, The Beatles in Hamburg is the definitive account of the crucial early years of the world’s most influential rock ’n’ roll band—and of the city that catapulted them into international stardom. (pb)