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Beatles stages 1960 PDF Print E-mail

January 1960. A close friend of John - the artist Stuart Sutcliffe - joins The Quarry Men. He does so at John's insistence. Having sold one of his paintings for £65, Stu, again at John's insistence, buys a real bass guitar and joins the group with it. Note that Stu had had virtually no idea how to play it.

23 and 24 April 1960. The Fox And Hounds Pub, Caversham, Berkshire. This is John's and Paul's first performance as The Nerk Twins duet. May 1960. Jacaranda Coffee Club, Liverpool. John met the owner of the Jacaranda coffee club, where the youngsters often get together for a show, Allan Williams, and asked him to become the manager of the Moondogs. Williams recalled that he did not want to manage this group at first, but he did find them a drummer, Tommy Moore, who was much older than any of the Moondogs.

10 May 1960. The well-known British impresario Larry Parnes is looking for musicians and backing acts for his "stars", including, for example, Billy Fury, and others, whom they will accompany on a tour of Northern England and Scotland. Parnes listens to each Liverpool group. And when the queue reaches Moondogs they unsurprisingly decide it won't do their chances of success any harm if they change their name. It is Stu Sutcliffe, with Buddy Holly's popular group The Crickets in mind, who plays around with this name and comes up with The Beetles.

John, true to form, removes the second "e" from the word and replaces it with an "a", ending up with The Beatles! Its first syllable is beat! I.e. - beetles - beatles! However, Allan Williams suggests lengthening the group's name and comes up with Long John And The Silver Beatles. John later shortens this to The Silver Beatles. That day, 10 May 1960, they are known as The Silver Beatles. But throughout this time they continued to experiment with names such as The Silver Beats, Silver Beetles, and Beatals. Parnes, having met the group, thought the youngsters would look better without Tommy Moore. (A short time later, Moore is replaced in the group by Johnny Hutchinson, nicknamed Hutch, of Cass and the Casanovas) ...

14 May 1960, Lathom Hall, Liverpool. The group appears under the name The Silver Beats.

18 May 1960. Larry Parnes signs a contract with John Lennon's group for their next performance as a backing band for the singer Johnny Gentle.

20-28 May 1960: The tour of Scotland (7 performances). Having signed a contract with the well-known British impresario Larry Parnes, and with the new name The Silver Beatles, John and his group (including Stu Sutcliffe) complete a tour of Scotland, backing Johnny Gentle. On 20 May they play at the Town Hall, Alloa, Clackmannanshire.

21 May - Northern Meeting Ballroom, Inverness;

23 May - Dalrymple Hall, Aberdeen;

25 May - St. Thomas Hall, Forres, Morayshire;

27 May - Regal Ballroom, Nairn, Nairnshire;

28 May - Rescue Hall, Peterhead, Aberdeen.

30 May 1960. Monday Night in the Jacaranda Coffee Club, Liverpool. This is the first of several Beatles performances here at Allan Williams's club.

2 June. The Silver Beetles play at the Neston Institute. The first extraordinary event. During this gig hooligans almost beat to death a sixteen-year old boy.

4 June 1960. Performance at the Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard.

6 June 1960. Grosvenor Ballroom. Joint performance by the Silver Beetles and Jerry And The Pacemakers at Les Dodd's dance venue.

9 June 1960. The Silver Beetles perform at the Neston Institute.

11 June 1960. Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard. Another extraordinary event occurs here. Having arrived for the performance without a drummer, Lennon asked for anyone who knew how to play the drums to come up on stage and help the group. In response to this a frighteningly persistent and pugnacious local tough called Ronny came onto the stage and took to the drums so enthusiastically that it took an appeal from Lennon to Allan Williams to have him forcibly removed from the hall.

13 June 1960. Jacaranda Coffee Club, Liverpool. This is Tommy Moore's last performance with the Silver Beetles. After this, Moore returns to his old job.

16 June1960 - performance at the Neston Institute.

18 June - Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard;

23 June - The Neston Institute;

25 June - Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard;

30 June - The Neston Institute;

2 July - Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard. Several Silver Beetles numbers were played together with Johnny Gentle;

7 July - The Neston Institute;

9, 16, 23, and 30 July - Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard.

Beginning of July 1960. New Cabaret Artistes - Allan William's striptease club in Liverpool. The Silver Beetles perform as a backup group for one of the artists - a stripper called Janice. She posed a dilemma for the youngsters: She was willing to perform only with the backing of music by Ludwig van Beethoven or Aram Kachaturian's "Sabre Dance", and if the worst came to the worst, with the "Spanish Fire Dance". However, unable to read music, the Silver Beetles were clueless when Janice gave them some sheet music. They therefore suggested a compromise, leaving the stripper with no choice but to agree: Janice began removing her clothes to the sound of "It's A Long Way To Tipperary", "Moonglow" and other pieces. As some eminent writers of the history of the Beatles confirm, this was one of the lowest points in the group's career.

The first visit to Hamburg

Derry And The Seniors were among the first Liverpool groups to be sent to Hamburg. This became possible thanks to a contract Allan Williams had concluded with the West German owner of several clubs in Hamburg - Bruno Koschmider. The latter enjoyed the way the Liverpudlians played on stage at his Kaiserkeller club so much that he asked Williams to send another group from Liverpool. He wanted to send Rory Storm And The Hurricanes, but they proved to be very busy at that time. Allan Williams suggested the visit to Gerry And The Pacemakers, but they absolutely refused to contemplate this tour.

Seeing no other way out, Williams offered the visit to Hamburg to the Silver Beetles. They, of course, were quick to take up this offer. The fact that they had no drummer troubled them not one bit: the youngsters quickly offered the position to Pete Best, the son of Mona Best, owner of the Casbah club. Pete, who at the time was playing in the group he had founded himself, the Blackjacks, and had his own drum kit, wasted no time in agreeing. This happened on 12 August 1960. John and the other members of the group then decided that it would be better to shorten the group's name for the visit to Germany, in other words they would simply call themselves The Beatles and leave out "Silver"!

Below is an example to illustrate the relationship between the various Liverpool groups in Hamburg: later on, when the Beatles had already played at another of Koschmider's clubs, Indra, Derry Wilkie of the group Derry And The Seniors, wrote a letter to Allan Williams in which he said that such an unprofessional group as the Beatles could destroy the other groups' chances of success in Hamburg ... Although the opposite was true, this would often happen when groups envied one another and tried to stymie each other's chances. And why not?

17 August - 3 October 1960, Indra Club, Hamburg, West Germany. (Forty-eight nights). The Indra Club was the smaller and more modern of the two clubs owned by Bruno Koschmider. However, the club's regulars, made up largely of drunks, drug addicts and prostitutes, were completely indifferent to the music and the Beatles themselves, and this and the fact that residents in the neighbouring houses around the club constantly complained about the noise generated by the beat music, forced Koschmider to move the group to another rock ‘n' roll club, the Kaiserkeller, situated in the very heart of Hamburg's most dangerous criminal district, the Reeperbahn.

4 October - 30 November 1960, Kaiserkeller, Hamburg, West Germany (Fifty-eight nights). This second and larger club belonging to Bruno Koschmider also became the place at which the Beatles finally came to believe in themselves as musicians. It has to be said that this club could in no way be described as a place at which the cultured public gathered to drink tea or coffee, eat cakes and dance serenely. No. Its patrons were even more bizarre and more dangerous than Indra's, and the fights there were bloodier even than in Liverpool. A great deal of self-control was demanded of our small, unthreatening Liverpool boys - the Beatles - to ignore this.

Knowing only a few words in German and showing no inclination to learn any more, the boys played at the club at night for eight straight hours, and if the drunk and thuggish audience so demanded - and this happened virtually every night - would act the fool and clown around. It goes without saying that they became incredibly tired. Unsurprisingly, it was here that the Beatles started using amphetamines to avoid passing out on account of the terrible fatigue and nervous tension. It is therefore quite understandable that the youngsters transferred some of their antipathy to all this (and what else could they have done?) into the triviality of jokes and impotent spite.

For example, John, well-known for his caustic and splenetic gibes and his audacity and impudence, while on stage, in addition to everything else he got up to there, would often raise his arm in a Fascist salute and, addressing those present, shriek "Sieg Heil", something which was strictly prohibited in Germany. Often playing to the audience, Lennon would goose-step across the stage shouting "Fucking Nazis!" at the audience ...

It was here that the Beatles met and became friends with Ringo Starr - a drummer with the group Rory Storm And The Hurricanes - another Liverpool group which had arrived in Hamburg to replace Derry And The Seniors who had returned to Liverpool. It was also here that the Beatles met the young German Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann who were to become not only their true lifelong friends but who also had such a considerable influence on the Beatles that it could today be described as an influence of truly global significance.

However, in the end, this visit to Hamburg ended in tears for the young Liverpudlians. And here's why. Not unexpectedly, Peter Eckhorn, the manager of the more powerful Top Ten Club took an interest in the Beatles. He was already well-known for having succeeded in enticing several musicians, including, for example, the best-known British performer in Hamburg, Tony Sheridan, as well as other employees of Koschmider, away from the Kaiserkeller by promising them higher wages. As for the Beatles, they had no objection to this and even managed to play as a backup group for their friend Sheridan a number of times.

Bruno Koschmider, of course, found out about this and did everything within his power to prevent the Beatles from playing at the Top Ten. To start with, the Hamburg police was informed that George was a minor (17 years old), and he was deported from Germany to Great Britain until 21 November; then, on 29 November, Paul and Pete were accused of attempted arson at the Bambi cinema ... The next day they too were deported, leaving the Beatles with no choice but to return to Liverpool.

John, who, to all intents and purposes, was now alone (Stu had to all intents and purposes left the group having decided to marry Astrid and stay in Hamburg, where he would remain until February 1961) returned to Liverpool on 10 December 1960.

17 December 1960. Gig at the Cashbah [sic] Club in West Derby with another temporary bass guitarist, Chas Newby.

24 December 1960. The Beatles perform at the Grosvenor Ballroom, Liskard.

27 December 1960. Litherland Town Hall. A highly successful performance by the Beatles, which attracted the attention of the popular Liverpool DJ Bob Wooler.

31 December 1960. The Beatles play again at the Casbah Club. During this month the student and friend of Pete Best, Neil Aspinall abandons his studies and begins driving the Beatles to and from their gigs as their chauffeur. He soon becomes one of the Beatles' closest colleagues and friends.

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