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4.0 out of 5 stars SLIM BUT GOOD LOOK INTO THE BEATLES IN HAMBURG, October 7, 2011
This review is from: The Beatles in Hamburg: The Stories, the Scene and How It All Began (Paperback)
Large size softcover, 125 pages. This book is in association with "Beatlemania The Exhibition, Hamburg". A number of photographs and memorabilia shown in this book come from the Beatlemania Museum in the St. Pauli area of Hamburg.

"We were born in Liverpool, but grew up in Hamburg"-John Lennon.

In the actual 120 pages or so, this book takes a look at THE BEATLES from 1960, when they left England for Germany, until 1962, when they left Hamburg for good as an exciting rock 'n' roll band. The two years the band spent in Hamburg, honed their sound and forged them into a true group. It's interesting that none of the band has ever spoken at length about everything they experienced while playing in Hamburg's seedy red light district-in clubs like the Star Club, or the Top Ten among others. While this book contains no startling revelations, it's both interesting and informative as far as it goes.

This book, though not definitive, is a good attempt at opening a window into this formative era for both the band, and r'n'r. The book contains interviews with Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann, Gerry Marsden (GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS), English rocker Kingsize Taylor, Tony Sheridan, and others from the period. The book is laid out basically chronologically, beginning with comparisons between Liverpool and Hamburg in the years after the war. There's chapters dealing with both German, English, and U.S. stars, and how their music set the stage for THE BEATLES. A number of artists, like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley were popular in both England and Germany. But German fans were looking for something new and exciting-and that's where THE BEATLES come in.

While the essays are interesting and sometimes informative, it's the many b&w and color photographs (many from the period featuring a number of artists-especially THE BEATLES, and clubs), reproductions of posters, album covers (one featuring the German "Elvis"), advertisements, and various other ephemera that prove the most interesting. Taken together, this slim book paints an interesting portrait of the notorious Reeperbahn, and the rough, tough club owners/managers, whose only goal was to fill their clubs and sell alcohol to the many people craving some musical excitement.

For fans of THE BEATLES who (like me) always wondered what the band and Hamburg were like during this formative stage, this book is a worthwhile purchase. I only wish this book could have been fleshed out with even more details, more remembrances from people who were there, and even more photos and memorabilia. But this book will take you back to a time when THE BEATLES were honing their sound, their look, and their stagecraft. And that alone makes this worthwhile.
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