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The London "Beat" poet, 19-year-old Royston Ellis, author of Jiving To Gyp: A Sequence of Poems (Scorpion Press, London, 1959), was booked to read his poems at the University of Liverpool. He met The Beatles and convinced them to back him for a reading at the Jacaranda. At this time reading poetry to a jazz backing had been popularised in the US by Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and in Britain by Christopher Logue. After the reading Ellis visited Gambier Terrace, where John and Stuart were then living, and showed them how to unscrew a Vick's inhaler to get the Benzedrine out. Years later it was Ellis who inspired John by introducing him to Polythene Pam.

January 17

The John Moores Exhibition ended and Stuart received £65 for his entry. John persuaded his friend that what he really wanted to do with this large sum of money was buy a bass guitar and join Johnny & The Moondogs. He bought a Hofner President, more for its looks than for its sound, since he was unable to play it.


Several hours of Quarry Men rehearsals, most likely recorded at the McCartney's home in Forthlin Road, and possibly also at the home of another member of the group, were preserved for posterity on reel-to-reel tape. The shambolic performances included the skeletons of several future Beatles tunes, including 'The One After 909', 'When I'm 64' and 'I'll Follow The Sun', covers of American standards, and numerous instrumental improvisations.

Among the other songs known to have been recorded were 'Hallelujah I Love Her So', 'Movin'n'Groovin', 'Matchbox', 'I Will Always Be In Love With You', 'The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise', 'That's When Your Heartaches Begin', 'Wildcat' and many Lennon & McCartney originals, among them 'Cayenne' and 'You'll Be Mine', which were released for the first time on Beatles Anthology 1 (as was 'Hallelujah I Love Her So').

The Beatles took copies of these tapes to Hamburg with them later in the year, and gave them away freely to friends. Researchers have highlighted the existence of three different source tapes for these recordings - one of them owned by Astrid Kirchherr, Hamburg girlfriend of Stuart Sutcliffe. Another was given by Paul to his Liverpool friend, Charles Hodgson, who had loaned them the Grundig recorder on which these tapes were made.

The Quarry Men line-up heard on these tapes was John, Paul, George and Stuart; at this point, the group still did not have a permanent drummer. They are believed to be the only surviving recordings which feature Stuart Sutcliffe's very rudimentary bass guitar playing.

April 23

John and Paul hitchhiked down to Caversham in Berkshire, to stay with Paul's older cousin, Bett Robbins, who, together with her husband Mike, ran a pub called The Fox and Hounds. Prior to this they had been redcoats at Butlin's, and Mike had a small amount of showbusiness experience - appearing on the radio and being interviewed by local newspapers - which their visitors were delighted to hear about. John and Paul worked behind the bar and on Saturday night performed in the tap room as The Nerk Twins (they were advertised on the door of the saloon bar as such). They sat on high barstools with their acoustic guitars and opened with an old Butlin's favourite, 'The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise', before moving on to their usual repertoire.

April 24

The Fox and Hounds, Caversham.

The Nerk Twins performed in the tap room again this lunchtime before hitchhiking back to Liverpool.


Allan Williams was asked by John to be the band's manager. Williams owned the Jacaranda Coffee Bar on Slater Street, a regular meeting place for Liverpool groups such as Rory Storm & The Hurricanes and Deny Wilkie & The Seniors. The Jac featured live shows in the tiny basement which Williams had converted in to a tiny dance floor. His friends, The Royal Caribbean Steel Band, were the residents. Williams was not too impressed by The Moondogs but agreed to manage them.

Allan Williams: "I thought The Beatles were a right load of layabouts. It was true that they were different: they had strong personalities, somehow compelling, and they were oddly impressive in a way hard to define. There seems to be something about my personality that attracts the losers and fringe people of the world, and The Beatles just seemed to be part of the crowd."

The Moondogs were unhappy with their name. One night at Stuart's Gambler Street flat, John and Stuart came up with a new name for the group, taken from Marion Brando's film The Wild One:

"Lee Marvin to Marion Brando: You know I've missed you. Ever since the club split up I've missed you. Did you miss him?'

Motorcycle gang: Yeah.'

Lee Marvin: 'We all missed you,' points to the girls in the gang. 'The beetles missed yuh, all the beetles missed yuh. C'mon Johnny, let's you and I...'"

Stuart suggested The Beetles because it was like Buddy Holly's Crickets. John then modified the name by changing an "e" to an "a" to make a pun on beat. Allan Williams didn't like it and suggested Long John and The Silver Beatles. Other names considered at that time were The Silver Beats, Silver Beetles and Beatals.

May 5

Through Cass of Cass & The Cassanovas, Allan Williams found the group a drummer called Tommy Moore and allowed them to practise at the Jacaranda in return for doing odd jobs. Sometimes they filled in on The Royal Caribbean Steel Band's day off.

May 10

Wyvern Social Club.

Looking for musicians who would play for low wages, London promoter Larry Parnes came to Liverpool to audition groups to back Billy Fury (who was himself from Liverpool) on a tour of northern England and Scotland. Fury himself attended the auditions, as did every hopeful group in Liverpool. John dropped the "Long John" and they attended Parnes' audition as The Silver Beatles. Drummer Johnny "Hutch" Hutchinson of Cass & The Cassanovas stood in at the audition as Tommy Moore arrived late. Larry Parnes considered that the group, except for Tommy, had some potential -despite Stuart Sutcliffe's blatant deficiencies as a bassist - and a few days later he contacted Williams with a job offer.

May 14

Lathom Hall, Liverpool, as The Silver Beats, promoted by Brian Kelly ("Beekay").

Also on the bill were Cliff Roberts & The Rockers, The Deltones and King Size Taylor & The Dominoes. The Silver Beats had not been advertised to play but they were allowed to do a few numbers in the interval while Brian Kelly sized them up. He booked them for the following Saturday.

May 18

The group were offered a job by Larry Parnes as backing group for the little-known Liverpool pop singer Johnny Gentle on a nine-day tour of Scotland. They decided to adopt pseudonyms for the occasion; Paul changed his to Paul Ramon, George became Carl Harrison (after Carl Perkins) and Stu changed Sutcliffe to deStael (after the then-fashionable painter). They chose as their name The Silver Beetles. Tommy and George arranged time off work, John and Stuart skipped college and Paul somehow managed to persuade his father that the trip would enable him to study for his A-levels.

May 20

Town Hall, Alloa, Clackmannanshire (Johnny Gentle tour).

May 21

Northern Meeting Ballroom, Inverness Johnny Gentle tour).

"The Beat Ballad Show" with Ronnie Watt and The Chekkers Rock Dance Band.

While they rocked upstairs Lindsay Ross and his Famous Broadcasting Band led the old-tyme dancing downstairs. In Liverpool Brian Kelly had advertised The Beatles as headliners at the Lathom Hall but they neglected to inform him that they were out of town.

May 23

Dalrymple Hall, Aberdeen (Johnny Gentle tour).

On the way to the venue, Johnny Gentle crashed the car. Tommy Moore was concussed and lost several teeth. He was taken to hospital but the manager of Dalrymple Hall was outraged that the group had no drummer and stormed into the hospital and dragged Tommy from his bed to take his place on stage.

May 25

St Thomas' Hall, Deith, Banffshire (Johnny Gentle tour).

May 26

Town Hall, Forres, Morayshire (Johnny Gentle tour).

The tour was not going well and The Silver Beetles did a runner from their hotel. The Royal Station, without paying the bill.

May 27

Regal Ballroom, Nairne, Nairnshire (Johnny Gentle tour).

May 28

Rescue Hall, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire (final concert of the Johnny Gentle tour).

May 29

The Silver Beetles arrived back in Liverpool, tired, exhausted and just as poor as the day they left but having clocked up their first road experience as a rock'n'roll band.

May 30

Jacaranda Coffee Bar, Liverpool.

Allan Williams engaged The Silver Beetles to play Monday night "fill-in" performances (when not otherwise engaged) on the evenings that the house band, The Royal Caribbean Steel Band, took the night off. Their fee was Coca-Cola and beans on toast.

At some stage over the next month, Allan Williams tape-recorded several of the groups whom he'd booked to play at the Jacaranda, including The Beatles, but none of these recordings is believed to have survived.

June 2

The Institute, Neston, Wirral.

An event promoted by Les Dodd's Paramount Enterprises arranged by Williams while the group had been away in Scotland. This was the first of their Thursday night sessions at this notoriously rough venue. During one Silver Beetles set at The Institute, a 16-year-old boy was nearly kicked to death.

The Heswall And Neston News And Advertiser documented the group's appearance: "A Liverpool rhythm group, The Beatles, made their debut at Neston Institute on Thursday night". There was no mention of 'Silver Beatles' in this account, suggesting that the group were operating under both names at this time.

June 4

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

Les Dodd's other, even rougher, venue where he promoted his Saturday "Big Beat" nights.

June 6

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard, a special Whitsun bank holiday Jive and Rock session. The Silver Beetles shared a bill with Gerry & The Pacemakers for the first time.

June 9

The Institute, Neston, Wirral.

June 11

The Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

Another rowdy Saturday night. The group had no drummer since Tommy Moore had resigned, having had enough of John's malicious wit, and of the pressure from his girlfriend to "get a proper job". John asked if anyone in the audience could play drums and "Ronnie", the drunk, grinning leader of a local gang of teddy boys, settled himself behind Moore's kit (still on hire-purchase). Though Ronnie had obviously never played drums before, no one dared take them off him. In the interval John managed to phone Allan Williams who drove over to the Grosvenor and saved them.

June 13

The Jacaranda as The Silver Beetles.

This was Tommy Moore's last gig with the group before he went back to being a fork-lift truck-driver at the Garston bottle works. They were now a beat group without a drummer. As they used to try to convince local promoters, "the rhythm's in the guitars!"

June 16

The Institute, Neston, Wirral.

June 18

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

June 23

The Institute, Neston, Wirral.

June 25

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

June 30

The Institute, Neston, Wirral.


With no drummer The Silver Beatles (as they were now called) were reduced to playing at Williams' strip club. In early July Allan Williams and his friend "Lord Woodbine" opened an illegal strip club in Upper Parliament Street called the "New Cabaret Artists Club". He offered the group 10 shillings (50p) each every night to provide the music for a stripper called Janice.

Paul: "John, George and Stu and I used to play at a strip club in Upper Parliament Street, backing Janice the Stripper. At the time we wore little lilac jackets ... or purple jackets or something. Well, we played behind Janice and naturally we looked at her ... the audience looked at her, everybody looked at her, just sort of normal. At the end of the act she would turn round and ... well, we were all young lads, we'd never seen anything like it before, and all blushed ... four blushing, red faced lads.

"Janice brought sheets of music for us to play all her arrangements. She gave us a bit of Beethoven and the Spanish Fire Dance. So in the end we said, 'We can't read music, sorry, we can play the Harry Lime Cha-Cha which we've arranged ourselves, and instead of Beethoven you can have 'Moonglow' or 'September Song' - take your pick ... and instead of the 'Sabre Dance' we'll give you 'Ramrod'. So that's what she got. She seemed quite satisfied, anyway. The strip club wasn't an important chapter in our lives, but it was an interesting one."

According to Williams they played two sets each night for a week, with Paul on drums.

The Sunday People newspaper featured photographs of John and Stuart Sutcliffe's flat m an expose entitled "The Beatnik Horror, for though they don't know it they are on the road to hell". This dubious 'publicity', John's first appearance in the national press, was arranged by Allan Williams.

July 2

The Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard. Johnny Gentle, visiting his home in Liverpool on a weekend off, stopped by the Jacaranda to look up his old backing group. Williams told him where The Silver Beatles were playing and Gentle and his father went over to the Grosvenor, where Gentle leaped up and joined the group on stage for a few numbers.

July 7

The Institute, Wirral.

July 9

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

July 16

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

July 23

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

July 30

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard.

Drummer Norman Chapman worked across the street from the Jacaranda as a picture framer, and would practise in his office after everyone had gone home. One night Allan Williams followed the sound and persuaded him to play with The Silver Beatles. After playing three gigs with them at The Grosvenor he was conscripted for his two years' National Service.

By the end of July the violence at The Grosvenor had become so bad that the local residents complained to Wallasey Council who owned it. They cancelled the rest of the season and reintroduced the Ballroom's "strict tempo" dances.

It was probably at one of these Grosvenor Ballroom gigs that Stuart Sutcliffe was beaten unconscious by teddy boy thugs in a fight. His injuries caused the blood clot on his brain which eventually killed him. He was rescued from his attackers by Pete Best and John Lennon.


Without bothering to inform Allan Williams, his resident group at the Jacaranda, The Royal Caribbean Steel Band, had accepted an engagement at a club in Hamburg in late June and simply failed to turn up one night. They happily wrote to Williams telling him there was a good market for British bands in Hamburg and urging him to visit. Williams, always looking for a new angle, visited the city with his friend Lord Woodbine and met Bruno Koschmider, owner of the Kaiserkeller. Since American rock'n'roll bands would have been too expensive to bring over, Koschmider was delighted to find that cheap rock groups were available in Britain, and at the end of July Williams sent one of his groups, Deny & The Seniors, to Hamburg to play at the Kaiserkeller.

August 2

Things were going so well for Bruno Koschmider at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg that he decided to open another music venue in a nearby strip club he owned. He wrote to Allan Williams asking if he could supply another group, and Williams in turn offered the engagement to The Silver Beatles, provided they could find a drummer.

Around this time, Paul wrote to a friend that since Norman Chapman's departure from the group, he had been acting as their drummer. He also noted that The Beatles had been promised a second tour of Scotland as a reward for completing their first trip successfully.

August 6

With their usual Saturday night engagement at the Grosvenor cancelled, the group went over to Mona Best's Casbah Coffee Club where they found The Blackjacks performing, with Mona's son, Pete, playing a brand new drum kit. The Blackjacks were about to split up, so The Beatles shrewdly asked Pete if he wanted to come to Hamburg with them and arranged for Pete to audition for them the following Saturday.

August 12

Pete Best was auditioned by John, Paul and George to be their permanent drummer and go with them to Hamburg. Since he was their only hope of getting a drummer and therefore getting the gig, he passed the audition. It was just before the Hamburg tour that the group changed their name to The Beatles.

Pete Best: "A few years ago I used to sit in with various groups at The Casbah, Heyman's Green, and also had a trio called The Blackjacks. The Beatles used to play at the club and I got to know them there. They were auditioning for a drummer at the Wyvern Club, Seel Street (now the Blue Angel) and asked me to come along. They desperately needed a drummer at the time as they had to go to Germany within a few days' time. They asked me to join the group and two days later I was in Hamburg with them..."

August 16

The Beatles, accompanied by Allan Williams, his wife, her brother and Lord Woodbine, left Liverpool for Hamburg in Williams' old Austin van. They stopped off in London for a further passenger, Herr Steiner, an Austrian then working at the Heaven & Hell coffee bar on Old Compton Street, who was to act as Koschmider's interpreter. They took the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland.

August 17

The Beatles and company arrived in Hamburg in the early evening. The contract signed between Allan Williams' Jacaranda Enterprises and Bruno Koschmider was to provide a five-piece band called The Beatles who were to be paid DM30 per day of work.

They began work right away at the Indra, at 58 Grosse Freiheit. They were to play seven days a week from 8 until 9; from 10 until 11; 11 until 12 and from 1 until 2. On Saturdays they began work at 7, playing until 8. Then from 9 until 10; 10 until 11; 12 until 1 and 1 until 3am. On Sundays they began even earlier: 5 until 6, 6.30 until 7 30 8 until 9 9.30 until 10.30,11 until 12 and 12.30 until 1.30.

Paul: "You revved your engines up so much that when you let them go, you just coasted. Like at Hamburg we often played an eight-hour day! Playing like that, you get to have a lot of tunes, if nothing else. So what we used to do, even on our eight-hour stint, was to try not to repeat any numbers. That was our own little ambition to stop us going round the bend. That gave us millions of songs, though some we could only just get away with - 'Dum-da-dum-da-dum-da-dum!' for half-an-hour! We'd shout out a title the Germans wouldn't understand to keep ourselves amused, like 'Knickers', but eventually we built up quite a programme."

George: "When you think about it sensibly, our sound really stems from Germany. That's where we learned to work for hours and hours on end, and keep on working at full peak even though we reckoned our legs and arms were about ready to drop off.

"Sure we come from Liverpool. There are hundreds of groups there, many on an R&B kick. But you won't hear us shouting about a Liverpool Sound, or Merseybeat, simply because it's been dreamed up as an easy way to describe what's going on with our music. 'Hamburg Stamp and Yell' music might be more accurate. It was all that work on various club stages in Germany that built up our beat."

Only John and Paul did vocals before the first Hamburg trip, but the eight-hour sessions meant that George had to share the work, and by the time they returned to Liverpool they had three vocalists.

Paul: "Hamburg was a good exercise really in commercialism - a couple of students would stick their heads round the door, and we'd suddenly go into a piece of music that we thought might attract them. If we got people in, they might pay us better. That club was called the Indra - which is German for India. We were nicking left, right and centre off other bands there; we'd see something that we'd like, and after they left Hamburg we'd put it in our set. Well you've got to, haven't you? We used to like going up and watching Tony Sheridan, 'cos he was a little bit of the generation above us; he used to play some blues, real moody stuff."

The Beatles got on well with Tony Sheridan and his group, The Jets. Paul and Iain Hines, the keyboard player with The Jets, used to double date two Hamburg barmaids-Paul's was called Liane, lain: "Every evening, when we'd finished working, Liane used to pick us up in her tiny Volkswagen and take us to her flat for coffee and a record session. Paul and I used to play Elvis and Everly records while Liane prepared a supper of Deutsch Beefsteak (hamburgers) and coffee." It was already 4am when she picked them up from the club.

When The Beatles arrived at the Indra they were completely broke. Rosa, the cleaning lady, gave them a few marks so they could go across the street to Harold's cafe for a meal of potato fritters, cornflakes and chicken soup. Rosa washed their shirts and socks, gave them chocolate bars and, for a time, Paul lived in her small bungalow down on the docks.

Rosa: "I remember when young Paul used to practise guitar on the roof of my little place. We used to get crowds of burly old Hamburg dockers hanging around, just listening. They shouted out things in German, but Paul didn't understand them. It's odd. They were a very hard audience who didn't really know what Paul was playing, but somehow they took to him."

The Beatles' accommodation was two shared rooms behind the screen of the Bambi-Filmkunsttheater where they had to use the cinema bathrooms to wash. There were no cooking facilities and the group used to frequent the British Sailors' Society, where the manager, Mr Hawk, would feed them cornflakes and pints of milk.

September 1-30

Indra Club, Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg.

Paul: "The first time we went to Hamburg we stayed four and a half months. It's a sort of blown up Blackpool, but with strip clubs instead of waxworks; thousands of strip clubs, bars and pick-up joints, not very picturesque. The first time it was pretty rough but we all had a gear time. The pay wasn't too fab, the digs weren't much good, and we had to play for quite a long time."

Liverpool musician Howie Casey: "At the beginning, they still played a lot of The Shadows' numbers, but gradually turned to R&B. When they came over, they had very, very pointed shoes in grey crocodile. They had mauve jackets, black shirts and pants, and also brown jackets with half-belting at the back. The length of their hair caused a great stir - it was thick at the back, almost coming over their collars."

During their time at the Indra, Stuart Sutcliffe briefly left The Beatles to play with Howie Casey's group, The Seniors. "The Beatles did their nuts because Stu was playing with us", Casey recalled.

October 1-3

Indra, Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg.

October 4

Police pressure caused by noise complaints - mostly from the old woman who lived above the club - caused Bruno Koschmider to stop using the Indra as a music club and bring back the strippers. So after 48 nights on stage, The Beatles moved to the much larger Kaiserkeller, at 36 Grosse Freiheit. Here they alternated with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes who had arrived in Hamburg three days before, after playing a summer season at Butlin's. The drummer with The Hurricanes was Ringo Starr.

October 10

Allan Williams returned to Hamburg on a visit. The Beatles had a problem with the stage at the Kaiserkeller, which was much larger than they were used to and made them appear like frozen waxworks. Koschmider complained to Williams who yelled, "Make a show, boys!" and encouraged them to move around. Koschmider, who spoke no English, took up the chant: "Mach schau!" In future, every time they slowed down or looked tired, Koschmider would exhort them to "Mach schau!"

Their act was transformed: first John and then the others began to throw microphones and instruments about the stage. They smoked, drank and sometimes even fought on stage. John once performed wearing only his underwear and a toilet seat around his neck. They painted swastikas on old Afrikka Corps caps, and goose-stepped around the stage giving illegal Seig Heil salutes and yelling at the audience, "Clap your hands, you fuckin' Nazis". The audience loved it. Insulting the customers not only went down well but also began to attract large crowds. Half the time the band were drunk or - with the exception of Pete - on Benzedrine; there was no other way they could get through the two final sets. The gangsters in the audience would send up crates of beer and hand them preludin; it was sensible not to refuse gifts from these people.

The Beatles and Rory Storm had a competition to see which group could demolish the club's unstable and potentially dangerous stage. Rory Storm won the bet during an enthusiastic version of 'Blue Suede Shoes'. The outraged Koschmider fined him DM65 to pay for the damage.

October 15

Walter Eymond, the singer and bass player with The Hurricanes, made an amateur recording of 'Summertime' at the small Akustik studio by the railway station, at Kirchenallee 57, Hamburg - a place where messages to family and friends could be recorded on 78rpm discs. Eymond's stage name was Lou Walters but everyone knew him as Wally. Backing him were Ringo, also in The Hurricanes, and John, Paul and George from The Beatles. Stuart was there as an observer as he couldn't play well enough for recording, so for the first time on record, John, Paul, George and Ringo played together. Wally and Ringo also made recordings of 'Fever' and 'September Song', possibly during the same session. Nine copies of the 'Summertime' 78 were cut, but only one copy has surfaced.

Also in attendance when this record was made were The Beatles' manager, Allan Williams, and Johnny Byrne, another member of The Hurricanes.

October 16

The Beatles' contract was extended until December 31. They were making good money for Koschmider.

The audience was composed mostly of gangsters, people in the sex industry, rockers and visiting sailors. Then one day, an art student happened by, attracted by the sound of Rory Storm & The Hurricanes. Klaus Voormann was an "exi" - an existentialist - the sworn enemies of the rockers, and felt a certain trepidation at venturing into their territory, but having seen The Beatles do their set he was so excited that he returned the next day, and the one after, this time bringing with him his girlfriend, the photographer Astrid Kirchherr. Astrid and Stuart Sutcliffe soon became a couple (their engagement was announced in November), encouraging Astrid to take some of the best-known photographs of the group from that time.

Though Stuart was regarded by many as the most attractive member of the group, he had still not learned how to play his bass guitar, preferring to pose with it and look moody. This caused a tremendous friction in the group with Paul complaining to John, and both John and Paul complaining to Stuart. John was torn between friendship and his desire for the group to make it. He knew that Paul was right and The Beatles could never be any good musically as long as Stuart remained in the group. But at the same time he loyally defended his friend to the hilt, threatening to leave himself if Stuart was forced out.

Paul: "The problem with Stu was that he couldn't play bass guitar. We had to turn him away in photographs because he'd be doing F-sharp and we'd be holding G. Stu and I had a fight once on stage in Hamburg but we were virtually holding each other up. We couldn't move, couldn't do it. The thing that concerned me was the music, and that we get on musically, and we didn't. Same with Pete Best."

October 30

The Beatles made a verbal agreement with Peter Eckhorn to play the Top Ten Club in April provided that he sort out their immigration problems. Besides their commitment to the Kaiserkeller until the end of the year, the group had also made provisional plans to work in Berlin early in 1961 - suggesting that they were not intending to return to Liverpool for many months.

Tony Sheridan and lain Hines joined The Beatles on-stage at the Top Ten for a jam session which ended with a 70-minute version of 'What'd I Say'.

November 1-30

Kaiserkeller, Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg.

Paul: "One night we played at the Top Ten Club and all the customers from the Kaiserkeller came along. Since the Top Ten was a much better club, we decided to accept the manager's offer and play there. Naturally the manager of the Kaiserkeller didn't like it. One night prior to leaving his place, we accidentally singed a bit of cord on an old stone wall in the corridor and he had the police on us.

" 'Leave please, thanks very much, but we don't want you to burn our German houses.' Funny really because we couldn't have burnt the place if we had gallons of petrol - it was made of stone.

"There was an article on the group in a German magazine. I didn't understand the article, but there was a large photograph of us in the middle page. In the same article there was a photograph of a South African negro pushing the jungle down. I still don't quite know what he has to do with us, but I suppose it has some significance."

November 1

Bruno Koschmider terminated The Beatles' contract. His notice to quit read: "I the undersigned hereby give notice to Mr. George Harrison and to Beatles' Band to leave on November 30th, 1960. The notice is given to the above by order of the Public Authorities who have discovered that Mr. George Harrison is only 17 (seventeen) years of age."

Besides discovering that George was under age, Koschmider was more likely moved to dismiss The Beatles because he had discovered that they were planning to transfer to the Top Ten Club, run by his rival, Peter Eckhorn.

November 21

George was deported from Germany for being too young to work in nightclubs.

November 22

Despite the loss of their lead guitarist The Beatles were expected to continue playing at the Kaiserkeller normally. The work sheet for this date gives the exact times they were expected on stage: 7.30pm until 9; 9.30 until 11; 11.30 until l; 1.30 until 2.30am: five and a half hours of playing time, seven days a week.

November 27

Paul wrote home to a friend: "All sorts of things have been happening here, but they're too complicated and too many of them to mention. We'll probably be staying over here till after Christmas, and playing at Munich before we come home."

November 29

During a change of digs from the Bambi-Filmkunsttheater to quarters provided by Peter Eckhorn, Pete and Paul accidentally set their old room on fire: there was no light and so as they were packing, they set fire to a condom in order to see. Though no damage was done except for one singe mark on the wall, Koschmider had them arrested and deported for arson.

Peter Eckhorn: "They were working at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg at the time, but they didn't like it there and so they came to see me and ask if there was any work to be had at the Top Ten. To show what they could do they played a couple of numbers for me. I liked them. I said OK, I'd give them a job. But before I could hire them, the owners of the Kaiserkeller made a complaint about the boys to the police, saying they'd tried to set fire to the club! It wasn't true, of course, but the complaint had the desired effect:

The Beatles were deported. It took seven months to get them back again. They stayed three months and were very popular, not so much for their music (which wasn't so different from the other groups), but for their personalities. Nobody in particular shone out - they were all well liked."

December 1

Paul and Pete arrived back in England after being deported from Germany.

December 10

John, who had decided to stay on in Germany with Stuart rather than returning home with Paul and Pete, finally set off for England by train. Stuart stayed on in Hamburg with Astrid, conveniently solving the problem of how to remove him from the group.

December 15

John finally contacted Paul, George and Pete, having arrived home broke and depressed four days earlier. This was his first contact with his bandmates since their deportation, leading them to fear that he was no longer interested in playing with The Beatles.

December 16

George wrote to Stuart Sutcliffe in Hamburg: "Come home sooner... It's no good with Paul playing bass, we've decided, that is if he had some kind of bass and amp to play on!"

December 17

Casbah Coffee Club, West Derby, Liverpool.

With Stuart still in Hamburg, and John's enthusiasm for The Beatles now confirmed, Pete Best contacted Chas Newby, the former rhythm guitarist with his group The Blackjacks, to play bass.

December 24

Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard, with Deny & The Seniors.

Rock dances had been resumed under the supervision of Wallasey Corporation itself.

December 27

Litherland Town Hall, where they were advertised as "Direct from Hamburg".

This "Welcome Home" engagement had been booked for them by Bob Wooler with Brian Kelly (who had evidently forgiven them for letting him down on the May 21 booking). For a fee of £6, The Beatles played their normal Hamburg set, which had an electrifying effect on the young audience. Immediately after the show Brian Kelly booked them for another 36 dances - at £6 to £8 a gig - before any other promoter could get to them.

John: "We'd been playing round Liverpool for a bit without getting anywhere, trying to get work, and the other groups kept telling us, 'You'll do all right, you'll get work someday.' And off we went to Hamburg, and when we came back, suddenly we were a wow. Mind you, 70 per cent of the audience thought we were a German wow, but we didn't care about that... In Liverpool, people didn't even know we were from Liverpool. They thought we were from Hamburg. They said, 'Christ, they speak good English!' Which we did of course, being English. But that's when we first stood there being cheered for the first time."

December 31

Casbah Coffee Club, West Derby, Liverpool.

Chas Newby's final engagement with the group before returning to college.


When Brian Kelly booked them for 36 gigs over the next three months, The Beatles decided that they needed a full-time roadie. Neil Aspinall, who was studying to become a chartered accountant, lived in Pete Best's parents' house and helped to run the Casbah Club in the basement while Pete was in Hamburg. He had helped with the gear at the Litherland Town Hall and the Casbah to augment his fifty shilling a week salary. When they asked if he would work for them full time, Neil gave up his studies, bought an ?80 Commer van and has been with them ever since.

Neil was born on October 13, 1941, in Prestatyn where his mother had been evacuated at the height of the blitz on Liverpool. His father was in the navy. In 1942, with the end of the bombing, the family returned to Liverpool. He passed his 11 Plus exam at West Derby School and went to the Liverpool Institute where he took art and English lessons alongside Paul. George was one year below them, but they soon met.

Neil: "My first encounter with George was behind the school's air-raid shelters. This great mass of shaggy hair loomed up and an out-of-breath voice requested a quick drag of my Woodbine. It was one of the first cigarettes either of us had smoked. We spluttered our way through it bravely but gleefully. After that the three of us did lots of ridiculous things together. By the time we were ready to take the GCE exams we'd added John Lennon to our 'Mad Lad' gang. He was doing his first term at Liverpool College of Art which overlooks the Institute playground and we all got together in a students' coffee bar at lunchtime."

Neil took nine GCEs and passed them all except for French. He stayed on at the Institute until July 1959, when he joined a firm of chartered accountants. He started working for The Beaties in December 1960. After acting as their senior road manager throughout the touring years of the 1960s, he finally received a job worthy of his examination grades in 1968, when he was appointed the Managing Director of Apple - a post he has held ever since.

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