Daytrippin' Beatles Magazine

The Latest Beatles News, Travel, Events and Merchandise


Finding the Fourth Beatle: John, Paul, George and their 18 drummers

by David Bedford and Garry Popper

 

fourthbeatle-bookThe Beatles phenomenon is one amazing story that John Lennon tried to sum up by stating: “I met Paul and said, ‘Do you want to join me band?’ and then George joined, and then Ringo joined. We were just a band who made it very, very big.”

That is one of the biggest understatements ever, because it was so much more complicated than that, and the story involves 18 drummers.

Neil Aspinall once said that “the story of the Beatles always seemed to be about John, Paul, George and a drummer.”

When examined closely, that is exactly what happened, yet nobody has concentrated on the story of those drummers, and the crises in the evolution of The Beatles that always seemed to be around losing, or gaining, a drummer.

How many drummers can you count that played with the Fab Three between 1956 and 1970? We have found 18!

In a new book, and forthcoming documentary film, Finding the Fourth Beatle tells the story of The Beatles from 1956-1970 through the 18 drummers, including Colin Hanton, Pete Best and Jimmie Nicol, and some you will not have heard of before. The book and film explore the Beatles’ crises, changes of musical direction, getting a record deal, and finding the drummer who would put the beat into The Beatles: Ringo Starr, the Fourth Beatle.

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The Case for Authenticity: ‘Love Me Tender’ by Stuart Sutcliffe

by Liscio

What Stuart Sutcliffe fan hasn’t wished to learn as much as possible about the fascinating young artist and Beatle?  His time with us was short yet incredibly creative; every surfacing artwork, picture, letter or anecdote is pored over with relish by admirers. But some things Sutcliffe-lovers were sadly certain they would never get to know: for instance—his voice.

That’s why the digital release of “Love Me Tender“, sung by Stuart himself, is an astonishing event generating stunned excitement and questions about the song’s origin and authenticity.

“Love Me Tender” was Stuart’s signature song; a ballad he performed so well in Hamburg it received the best applause during the Beatles’ sets at the Kaiserkeller and Star Club. Sutcliffe also performed Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox” and Elvis Presley’s “Wooden Heart”.  But “Love Me Tender” is the song most associated with his name.

His newly-released song, now available to the public for the first time in 50 years,  is compelling listening: Stu’s voice strains just slightly ending the first refrain, and he gives us a very sexy exhale at the end of another. In between, the notes are confident, strong, on pitch and melodic. Sutcliffe has made this version of Presley’s tune unabashedly his own.

In fact the track is so good, some listeners maintain they don’t even care if it is Stuart (though they hope it is) and skeptics are accusing the Sutcliffe family of overdubbing the voice of a professional singer. (One might point out that as a paid member of a hard-working rock band, Stuart was a professional singer).

Another quick discrediting attempt claimed the song originated from a 1979 American movie—that version has none of the soft nasality indicative of Liverpool accents, clearly evident in Stuart’s singing.  Noting this, listeners say Stuart sounds like John or George.  David Bedford, author of “Liddypool: Birthplace of the Beatles”—and a life-long Liverpudlian—confirms, “Yes, nasal talking is a scouse thing for sure.  As Stuart’s parents were Scottish, his accent was different to John’s and would sound different too – it differs on where in Liverpool you are from.”

So—where has such a sensational piece of musical history been hiding for the past 50 years?

Stuart’s sister Pauline says, “I never expected to receive this recording of Stuart singing ‘Love Me Tender’ because I was told the only recording which existed was locked away forever by a private collector.”

But quite unexpectedly in 2009, Stuart’s Estate became aware that a copy was available through another source. Once they’d obtained it, a substantial effort of time and money was spent trying to trace its provenance. “As far as we know for certain, Stuart’s ‘Love Me Tender’ track was recorded in Hamburg, probably 1961—after Stuart officially left the Beatles to pursue his art, ” says Pauline. “On one occasion we were told that it was a one-sided German Polydor acetate. Another source tells us that we have a copy from a reel-to-reel recording. We’ve also been advised that new instrumentation has been overdubbed.”

Though gaps in the history remain, one thing is unequivocally certain: it is Stuart. Says Pauline, “The family do know Stuart’s voice when they hear it – and this is Stuart’s voice.”

Those who are surprised that Sutcliffe could sing suffer from the same myopic misconception that had them believing he couldn’t play bass guitar. David Bedford  reminds us that as a young lad in Liverpool, Stuart was head chorister for St. Gabriel’s church in Huyton, leading the singing for Sunday services and weddings. The former choirboy still sounds youthful and earnest—some say his voice on “Love Me Tender” is “angelic”—some say “haunting”—while others are reminded of Phil and Don Everly’s sweet harmonies.

In a recent phone conversation, Pauline revealed that once the Estate possessed the recording, they were just “trying to get comfortable with it”.  One can only wonder what it was like for a sister to hold in her hands an object containing a special voice from so very long ago . A missing piece had at last come home.

In time, those responsible for overseeing Stuart’s Estate were curious to know whether the tape could be cleaned up. Help came in the form of Dan Whitelock-Wainwright, Pauline’s techno-expert great-nephew, currently at University and a member of the rock band Groan. Dan’s cousin Alex Whitelock-Wainwright (at University in Liverpool) also possessed a copy of the original tape and he wrote in his blog: “The original I have has a constant hiss throughout; that’s all that has been modified with the released version and the sound levels are higher. Talking to my cousin, who first tried to clean the track up, (he) believes that the noise frequencies have been totally cleaned out which has removed some instruments and they have been overdubbed back onto the track.”

It was the 24/7 division of IODA that finished the mastering, leaving Stuart’s voice unmanipulated, only louder. [Correction (11/3/2011): “24 Hour Service Station Distribution” and not “24/7 division of IODA” handled the cleaning up of the track. Marshall Dickson contacted us and explained: “I personally coordinated the sonic recovery, and also have strong reason to believe the original recording comes from an acetate, since the source file we possess has the sound of a needle sliding across a record after the music ends.”]

There was never any doubt that the voice was Stuart’s. But the Estate has another reason to know the tape is genuine: they know Stuart.

The young bohemian led an accelerated life, traveling incredibly far in a very short time.  And his time in Hamburg was likely his most innovative.  Eduardo Paolozzi, Stuart’s art instructor at the School of Fine Arts in Germany, wrote: “He (Stuart) had so much energy and was so very inventive.”(1)  Musician and  artist Klaus Voorman said, “Every second of Stuart’s short time he was doing something.  His imagination was fantastic.”(2)  Everybody was aware of and amazed by Stu’s energy and the ease with which he was able to work in a variety of artistic areas.  It was completely in character for Stuart to have made this recording.

And the family’s got it in Stuart’s own writing that he planned to do just that.

Copyright: Stuart Sutcliffe Estate

Copyright: Stuart Sutcliffe Estate

Some of his Hamburg letters, reproduced here, reveal Sutcliffe’s interest in a new art project: his desire to make a movie with an accompanying soundtrack. The text reads:

“Yes! Tomorrow comes Paolozzi and Tuesday we go once

more to that ship-breaking yard which we visited last semester. I

will have with me a film camera I borrowed of Theo, Astrid’s

cousin. I’m very quickly trying to learn the technique as I’m

enthralled by the possibilities but it’s so expensive. He has many

films including some of Astrid from a few years ago, very sweet

as you can imagine. I’ll have to take advantage of the few days

I’ll have it; I’ll probably tire of it all the more quickly because of

the complete inaccessibility of all the equipment required.”

‘I made a film last week when I was at the ship-breaking yard

and I have really caught a feeling for filming, the desire that is.

I made another today and wish to make a long film accompanied

by a tape-recording.

“Thank you for your letter and the catalogues. I should have

written before but have been busy with various odds and ends.

We started the week very tired after working all weekend making

photos, or rather Astrid worked while I grew tired looking on. She

was working on a commission for Polydor making photos of this

singer Sheridan and made some marvelous ones in black and

white and color.”

Stuart was well acquainted with Tony Sheridan.  While performing in Hamburg between 1960 and 1963, Sheridan employed various backup bands, most of which were really “pickup bands”, or simply an amalgam of various musicians, rather than a group proper.(3)   It was Polydor’s A&R (Artists and Repertoire) man, Bert Kaempfert, who arranged in 1961 for the Beatles to back Sheridan for an LP called “My Bonnie”. The standard (and decidedly incomplete) story is that Stuart was present during this session, but did not participate. But both John Lennon and Tony Sheridan swore that there were several other Beatle tracks that were recorded during the two-day session, and that either they were not preserved OR something else happened to them.(3)

Tony Sheridan (left) and Stuart Sutcliffe
Copyright Astrid Kirchherr; Pauline Sutcliffe private collection

Another group recording for Polydor was a German band called The Bats. “They (the Bats) went through the usual Star Club routine…(they) recorded mainly for Polydor. Drummer Toni Cavanaugh came from the circle of musicians connected with Tony Sheridan (and) also played drums for Sheridan’s Beat Brothers/Star combo. The band’s crew changed…once in a while ex-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe joined in.”(4)

Hamburg’s music scene in ’61 was open and inclusive, with musicians intermingling on stage and in the studio. Astrid was there with her camera, recording visual tracks while the bands made musical ones. Stuart was right in the midst of it. He’d been to the studio, played with the bands, knew Kaempfert, had all the right connections.  It’s not implausible to think that at some time during that year his voice was captured on “a German Polydor acetate”.

Or perhaps Stu recorded his own voice, and instruments were tracked in later. The fact is that Sutcliffe intended to make a recording. Since “Love Me Tender” was the cool bassist’s spotlight song, one he’d sung a hundred times or more and was the ballad he’d dedicated to his darling Astrid, it was the natural choice.

Those free Hamburg days were unparalleled—a pivitol time for art and music.  Timing can be so deadly crucial—why did Stuart’s Estate choose to release “Love Me Tender” now?

It wasn’t a decision made lightly. Pauline has balanced two missions for nearly 50 years: working determinedly to ensure her talented brother’s legacy, and striving to protect his image from harm.  In the documentary “The Lost Beatle” she reminisces that Stuart “used to be my elder brother. But now he’s my kid brother…I want to take care of him…to protect him.” Regarding “Love Me Tender”, she was wisely aware of those who would cry foul even if the Sutcliffes presented a recording contract with Stuart’s signature at the bottom.

But recent events: a partnership with promotional agency CMG Worldwide; the successful stage production of Backbeat, now showing in London’s West End; the launch of Stuart’s Official Fan Club (www.stuartsutcliffefanclub.com); and next year’s world tour art exhibition “Conversation With Stuart Stucliffe”, convinced the Estate there was no better time to release Stuart’s song than now.

There has been a shift in perspective regarding the Beatle who left the band because he loved art and Astrid Kirchherr. The media is now far less likely to depict Sutcliffe shoved aside in his shades to an obscure corner…the reluctant, incapable bassist. Commentaries adhering to that badly-sketched-in picture show their inaccuracy and age. With every unexpected and exciting new event, the remarkably talented Sutcliffe is now receiving the worldwide accolade he deserves.

Some things are worth waiting for—even if it takes 50 years.  “Love Me Tender” was definitely worth the wait. Thanks, Stu, for making certain we’d hear your voice.

[Editor’s Note: Those in Beatles history who knew Stuart at the time this song was believed to be recorded, (i.e., Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr) have not yet commented on their personal knowledge of the existence of this recording. ]

© 2011 Daytrippin’ – This article including photos/images may not be reproduced without permission from the author and Daytrippin.com. A brief excerpt may be reprinted with a link to the article and proper credit.

Update: More in-depth analysis on this recording has been done by David Bedford, author of Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles. You can read his article here:
http://www.stuartsutcliffefanclub.com/lovemetenderdb.html

Update (Nov. 4, 2011): The Beatles Examiner has obtained quotes from Klaus Voormann, Tony Sheridan and Bill Harry concerning their opinions on the recording.

References:

(1) John Willett 1967 “Art In The City”

(2) The Beatles In Hamburg/Bill Hillman Tracks (hillmanweb.com)

(3) Tony Sheridan Wikipedia

(4)  Discogs/The Bats (discogs.com)


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The Ballad of John, Yoko, Stuart and Astrid

An in-depth exploration of how John Lennon’s love for Yoko
filled the void left by Astrid and Stu

by Josh Kennedy

It split the Beatles, this affair of the heart. She was an artist from an upper class family. She came from a foreign country that the previous generation in Britain had fought an all-out war to defeat. One Beatle was besotted with her, ready and willing to forsake the band for his new romance. She was always at his side; the intense couple even began dressing and wearing their hair alike. Paul McCartney was jealous, venting his frustration in petty ways that boiled over into the group’s professional work. The name of this lady was… Astrid Kirchherr.

It would happen again, and eerily so, when Yoko Ono appeared on the scene six years later. The personalities involved were different, but a similar stew of forces was present in both situations. When the Beatles story is examined as a whole, Yoko can be seen as an amalgam, combining the earlier roles of Astrid – the influential, foreign artistic woman – and of Stuart Sutcliffe – the brilliant but musically limited force who occupied much of John’s attention at the group’s expense. These striking parallels are worth exploring for any light they may shed on the eventual breakup of the Beatles.

When the Beatles met Astrid in Hamburg, there is no doubt they were impressed. As Cynthia Lennon wrote in her 1978 memoir, “John’s letters were full of Astrid… particularly her way of dress, her avant-garde way of life, and her marvelous photography.” John even went so far as to call her the “German Brigitte Bardot.” This comparison is illuminating. Bardot was the icon of John’s adolescent fantasies, to the point where he encouraged Cynthia to dye her own hair blonde in emulation. Very shortly before taking up with Yoko in 1968, Lennon would meet the real Bardot in person. He showed up stoned for the appointment, and had what he later described as a “fucking terrible evening – even worse than meeting Elvis.” Any illusions he still harbored about Bardot as the ideal woman were then shattered, and with them, perhaps, some regard for his own wife’s dyed-blonde image.

Yet Bardot was not John’s only ideal. As he recalled in a posthumously published reminiscence, “I’d always had a fantasy about a woman who would be a beautiful, intelligent, high-cheek-boned, free-spirited artist a la Juliette Greco.”  He went on to say that this ideal morphed slightly during a Beatles visit to Asia, becoming an artistic oriental woman. But back in Hamburg, “oriental” was not yet part of the idea. Astrid was not only a “beautiful, intelligent, high-cheek-boned, free-spirited artist” but was also, like Greco, a continental European.

As Kirchherr later told BBC radio:

“We got inspired by all the French artists and writers, because that was the closest we could get. England was so far away, and America was out of the question. So France was the nearest. So we got all the information from France, and we tried to dress like the French existentialists. … We wanted to be free, we wanted to be different, and tried to be cool, as we call it now.”

Small wonder that Cynthia felt intimidated about meeting her.

Of course, Astrid fell in love with Stuart Sutcliffe, the most bohemian Beatle, with his dark sunglasses and brooding James Dean image. “I fell in love with Stuart that very first night,” Astrid told author Philip Norman. “So pale, but very, very beautiful. He was like a character from a story by Edgar Allan Poe.” ‘They were the big love,” Paul McCartney says of this period, and Pete Best remembers the couple as being “like one of those fairy stories.”

Before long, according to Norman, Astrid was employing her own artistic talents “to model him (Stuart) into an appearance echoing and complementing her own.” Much has been made of Astrid’s visual influence on the Beatles’ haircut and fashion, and as an early band photographer. More overlooked is the impact all of this had on John’s ideal of a relationship. John may have joined his band mates in ridiculing Stuart at times, but as he later admitted to biographer Hunter Davies, “I used to explain afterwards to him that we didn’t dislike him.” Privately John admired his friend, and the intense partnership of Stu and Astrid might be seen as something of a model for John’s later, all-encompassing infatuation with Yoko.

Certainly the two situations produced some similar outcomes, for in both cases, Paul McCartney reacted badly. Lennon noted the cause of an onstage fistfight between McCartney and Sutcliffe:  “Paul was saying something about Stu’s girl, and he was jealous because she was a great girl, and Stu hit him on stage.” Later, when John found his own soul mate in Yoko, Paul tried to accept it, even inviting the couple to live in his house during the summer of 1968. This was a time when Paul was in a fragile state, having recently broken with his fiancée Jane Asher. As reported by Paul’s summer girlfriend Francie Schwartz, Paul’s true feelings of envy slipped out in a cruel jest. A note left on the mantle warned John: “You and your Jap tart think you’re hot shit.” Paul admitted leaving the note as a joke, but the dark underpinnings of this incident were crystal clear.

Indeed, jealousy was at the heart of the other Beatles’ relationships with both Stuart and Yoko. Stuart was a formidable presence in his own right.

Cynthia Lennon recalled:

“It was a very beautiful friendship John had with Stu. John, even though he’d gone into the music end of the art world and left his art behind, he still desperately wanted to be a painter, and Stuart was a fantastic and dedicated artist. They totally understood each other and gave to each other what they knew, what they had to offer.”

Stuart was hardly a musician, but joined the group because John liked having him around. “When he came into the band… we were a little jealous of him; it was something I didn’t deal with very well,” Paul admitted years later in The Beatles Anthology. “We were always slightly jealous of John’s other friendships… when Stuart came in it felt as if he was taking the position away from George and me. We had to take a bit of a back seat.”

George agreed, saying “..with all the stress we were under, a little bitching went on and Paul and he (Stu) used to punch each other out a bit.”

“We’d had a few ding-dongs, partly out of jealousy for John’s friendship, and Stuart, being his mate from art school, had a lot of his time and we were jealous of that,” Paul continued. “Also, I was keen to see the group be as good as it could be, so I would make the odd remark. Oh, you don’t play that right.” Here was evidence of the strict perfectionism which Paul would later direct towards George and Ringo in the studio.

Curiously, John would never lose his taste for inviting musically limited friends to join his band simply because he liked them. This trend had begun with John’s boyhood friend Pete Shotton scraping a washboard in the Quarrymen.

Of Stuart joining the Beatles, Shotton wrote:

“Thus continued the pattern that had begun with me in 1956, and would once again manifest itself with Yoko Ono in the late sixties. Since music came so naturally to John, it simply never occurred to him that anyone to whom he felt especially close could not also participate.”

Philip Norman’s 2008 biography Lennon shrewdly probes John’s decision to bring Yoko to Beatles recording sessions in 1968:

“Whatever John’s inner thoughts, he remained a fully paid-up Beatle, subject to the remorseless manufacturing cycle, which, in late May, had summoned them back to Abbey Road Studios… at the back-to-school session on May 30, his initial intention became clear: not to break up the old gang, but to augment it. ‘He wanted me to be part of the group,’ Yoko says. ‘He created the group, so he thought the others should accept that. I didn’t particularly want to be part of them… I couldn’t see how I would fit in, but John was certain I would. He kept saying, ‘They’re very sensitive … Paul is into Stockhausen… They can do your thing…’ He thought the other Beatles would go for it; he was trying to persuade me.’”

Lennon confirmed this remarkable notion himself, in his 1970 Rolling Stone interview:

“Yoko played me tapes I understood. I know it was very strange and avant-garde music is very tough to assimilate… but I’ve heard the Beatles playing avant-garde music when nobody was looking for years. But they’re artists, and all artists have fuckin’ big egos… and when a new artist came into the group, they were never allowed. Sometimes George and I would like to bring somebody in like Billy Preston, that was exciting, we might have had him in the group. We were fed up with the same old shit… and I would have expanded the Beatles… she came in and she would expect to perform with them like you would with any group…”

In his 2006 memoir, recording engineer Geoff Emerick noted a shift in Yoko’s role as the White Album sessions dragged on:  “I could see that she (Yoko) was gaining confidence. She seemed to feel she was part of the group now. In her mind, and in John’s mind, she had become the fifth Beatle.” Lennon later expressed indignation when scenes of Yoko vocalizing to a Beatles jam were cut from the Let it Be movie. Clearly, he took Yoko’s presence as a quasi-band member seriously.

Furthermore, John sought to enforce these wishes at a time when he was trying to reassert himself as leader of the Beatles. It was a role John had occupied during the early days, when Stuart had joined the group. By contrast, many Beatles ideas in 1967 had originated with Paul. Privately, Lennon simmered, as he told Rolling Stone: “When Paul felt like it, he would come in with about twenty good songs… and I suddenly had to write a fucking stack of songs. Pepper was like that. And Magical Mystery Tour was another.”  Perhaps, following the critical panning which greeted the Magical Mystery Tour film, John felt it was time for a change. Or perhaps, being with Yoko simply gave him renewed confidence.

John further told Rolling Stone:

“Bit by bit over a two-year period, I had destroyed me ego. I didn’t believe I could do anything. I just was nothing. I was shit… and she (Yoko) made me realize that I was me and that it’s all right. That was it; I started fighting again, being a loudmouth again and saying, “I can do this. Fuck it. This is what I want,” you know. “I want it, and don’t put me down.”

With Yoko, John felt he had reawakened his own crucial sense of personal authenticity. Years later, he gave this assessment of the Beatles’ split:

“…That’s how the Beatles ended. Not because Yoko split the Beatles, but because she showed me what it was to be Elvis Beatle and to be surrounded by sycophants and slaves who were only interested in keeping the situation as it was. She said to me, you’ve got no clothes on. Nobody had dared tell me that before.”

Nobody, perhaps, except for Stuart Sutcliffe.  In the early sixties, John wrote long, honest letters to Sutcliffe, sharing John’s inner thoughts, as he would later do with Yoko. Tellingly, in 1967, John remembered Stu with these words: “I looked up to Stu. I depended on him to tell me the truth.”

Feeling he was once more being true to himself, John was furious when Paul got the credit for announcing the Beatles’ split to the press in 1970. Lennon would continue to try to set the record straight for the rest of his life. It seems ironic that John’s wife has been lambasted for years for supposedly splitting the group up, an act for which John himself publicly sought credit. Those who blame Yoko Ono for breaking up the Beatles may have a hard time facing the truth: that John Lennon broke up the Beatles. As he confidently wrote in the late seventies, “I started the band. I disbanded it. It’s as simple as that.”

John elaborated on his decision to leave in a 1980 interview with Playboy: “What I did… in my own cowardly way was use Yoko… it was like now I have the strength to leave because I know there is another side to life.” This other side to life included a host of different artistic projects, many of them employing John’s latent art school talents. He collaborated with Yoko on a whirlwind of films, lithographs, and art shows, just as Stu had resumed his dedication to painting once the distraction of the rock band was removed. Yoko, then, became the escape from the Beatles that John had already been looking for. The template for this particular kind of escape had been established years before. We must remember that John was barely 29 years old when he told the other Beatles he was quitting the group in September 1969. For John, the best example of an appealing alternate life had been seen a mere eight years before, in the bohemian path of art and love chosen by his close friend Stu.

Pete Shotton remembers John describing his new romance with Yoko: “It’s just like how we used to fall in love when we were kids.”

John certainly remembered “when we were kids.”

He remembered Stu and Astrid.

——–

Copyright Daytrippin’ – This article may not be reproduced without the permission of the author

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Beatles Hamburg photos featured in new book, ‘Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective’


The companion book to the photography exhibit “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” which is currently on display at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool was officially released today. What a treat for those of us who can’t make it to Liverpool before the exhibit closes on January 29, 2011!

With or without the exhibit, “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” is an important historical document in Beatles history. Compared to her limited edition coffee table books from Genesis costing several hundred dollars, this is one of the few times Astrid Kirchherr has compiled a collection of her legendary photos of The Beatles in an affordable edition.

Not only was Astrid a photographer who took the first professional shots of The Beatles back in Hamburg in late 1960, but she also became their friend. Aside from her love affair with The Beatles’ former bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, Astrid formed the closest bond with George Harrison.
*
In an interview with Astrid featured in the book, she says: “George was always my favorite, his kindness and wit. He was just a wonderful person and whenever I was in trouble, like with money and things, he was always looking after me and he invited me a couple of times to London and later on to Henley. I just miss him terribly because he was like a little guardian angel for me. I feel like I am in a way lost without him.”
*
Astrid, her ex-boyfriend, Klaus Voormann, and friend Jurgen Vollmer had a huge impact on The Beatles during their time in Hamburg. The Beatles traded in their matching sports jackets for leather attire due to the fashion influence of their new Hamburg friends, and eventually combed their hair forward in the “moptop” style due to Astrid and Jurgen’s influence.
*
The first black and white photos that Astrid took of The Beatles at the funfair at a munincipal park in Hamburg are regarded as some of the best photos of The Beatles ever taken. These photos as well as many never before seen photos are featured in the book including pictures of Astrid with Paul, George and Ringo on a holiday vacation in Tenerife in 1963.
*
At 208 pages, “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” offers not only famous photos of The Beatles, but also uncropped and alternate shots. Featuring in-depth interviews with Astrid, Klaus Voormann, Ulf Kruger and Gibson Kemp, we learn much more about this young female photographer who, at the time, had no idea that her friends and photography subjects would become the biggest band in the world.
— Trina Yannicos
*
“Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” is available for order on Amazon.com
*
Editor’s Note: Read about Astrid Kirchherr’s first US appearance in Chicago in 1997 in the first issue of Daytrippin’ (available in PDF or hard copy format)


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The Beatles photography exhibit by Astrid Kirchherr opens in Liverpool, England (Photos)

Copyright Astrid Kirchherr

German photographer, Astrid Kirchherr, was the first photographer to take professional quality photos of the Beatles. Her famous black and white portraits taken in Hamburg in the early 1960s show The Beatles dressed in leather jackets and pants–quite different from the Edwardian suits they wore when they became famous. Over 70 images covering Astrid’s career from 1960 until she ultimately abandoned photography in 1967 are on display at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool in an exhibit which opened today.

“Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” contains a wide range of images from the early days when Astrid first met the Beatles in Hamburg to her involvement photographing The Beatles on the set of “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964 for STERN magazine which brought her back to Liverpool.

Fans outside the Cavern
Copyright Astrid Kirchherr

Astrid first became aware of The Beatles through her friend, artist Klaus Voormann. Voormann discovered the Beatles when they were playing at the Kaiserkeller club in Hamburg, Germany in 1960. He immediately brought Astrid to hear the Beatles play. Astrid, Klaus, and another photographer, Jurgen Vollmer formed a tight-knit friendship with the Beatles during the time they spent in Hamburg.

In 1960, Astrid convinced The Beatles to pose for photographs at an old fairground in Hamburg which shows The Beatles dressed like “Teddy boys” sporting leather jackets, leather pants, and slicked-back Elvis-style haircuts. Later on, she did studio-style portraits of them.

“They trusted me, and that is the most important thing for a photographer if you take portraits of people,” Astrid told Daytrippin’ Magazine in an exclusive interview. “If they don’t trust you, then you can forget it.”

In 1964, Astrid, accompanied by another photographer, Max Scheler, was granted special access to photograph The Beatles on the set of “A Hard Day’s Night” in London. She also visited Liverpool and took many photos of The Beatles’ hometown. These photos appeared in the book “Yesterday: The Beatles Once Upon A time.”

For the avid Beatle fan, this new exhibit offers some previously unpublished images of the Beatles, some well-known images of the Beatles in their original format and some rare images of the Beatles holidaying in Tenerife. It also includes portraits of key individuals from the period, including Rory Storm, Gibson Kemp and Klaus Voorman, according to a museum press release.

Astrid Kirchherr self-portrait
Copyright Astrid Kirchherr

This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalog called “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” published by Liverpool University Press. This book, available for purchase on Amazon, also contains a series of in-depth interviews with Astrid, Gibson Kemp, Ulf Krüger and Klaus Voorman by Colin Fallows.

“Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective” runs through January 29, 2011. Admission is free. The Victoria Gallery & Museum is located at the University of Liverpool, Ashton Street, Liverpool L69 3DR. For more information, visit http://www.liv.ac.uk/vgm/

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Paul McCartney announces European tour; Live CD/DVD to be released

PaulVegas-LK281-suspFollowing a tour of the US this summer, Paul McCartney just announced his first European Tour since 2004. This December will see Macca play seven special arena shows across Europe, culminating with his first ever public performance at London’s O2 Arena, which will be his only UK date of this year.
 
McCartney begins the tour in Hamburg on December 2. Paul said: “This is my chance to bring our current show home to where it all began. Starting in Hamburg, ending in London and rocking everywhere in between. I’m very much looking forward to ending the year on a high.”
 

(Photo by Lisa Kaplan)
  
Maybe Paul’s son, James, will join him on tour? James McCartney and his band, Light, have started performing at small clubs in London (see photo).
 
Good Evening Europe Tour:
12/02/09   Hamburg, Germany – Color Line Arena
12/03/09   Berlin, Germany – O2 World
12/09/09   Arnhem, Holland – Gelredome
12/10/09   Paris, France – Bercy
12/16/09   Cologne, France – Koln Arena
12/20/09   Dublin, Ireland – The O2
12/22/09   London, England – The O2 Arena
Tickets available through www.ticketmaster.co.uk
 
For those of you who won’t be able to make it to one of the European shows this December, you can re-live the Macca magic with ‘Good Evening New York City’, a multi-disc CD/DVD featuring performances recorded at New York’s Citi Field from Paul’s ‘Summer Live ’09’ tour.
macca-nycDVD
 
Paul McCartney’s historic three-night musical christening of New York’s Citi Field (formerly Shea Stadium) on July 17, 18 & 21, 2009 will be immortalized November 17 when Hear Music/Concord Music Group releases “Good Evening New York City”.
 
This momentous musical experience will be available in two formats: a 3-disc (2 CD + 1 DVD) standard edition and a 4-disc (2 CD + 2 DVD) deluxe version featuring expanded packaging and a bonus DVD including McCartney’s traffic-stopping, headline-making July 15 performance on the Ed Sullivan Theater marquee (including bonus numbers not aired on the Late Show with David Letterman broadcast). The set will also be made available in high quality vinyl. “Good Evening New York City” marks McCartney’s 2nd release for Hear Music. The first was 2007’s highly acclaimed Memory Almost Full.

 

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