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The Beatles in Hamburg (Reverb) [Paperback]

Ian Inglis
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

3 April 2012 Reverb
'The Beatles are coming! The Beatles are coming!' While the chant will be familiar to any Beatles fan, there was a time before the band took the world by storm, when they were little more than an inexperienced, though talented, semi-professional group of musicians in dire need of practice. Their agent Allen Williams first sent them to Germany in August 1960 and through their experiences and difficulties in Hamburg, the Beatles not only became proficient musicians, but more importantly began to build the reputation that would eventually make them the most popular band in the world. The Beatles in Hamburg is the first detailed, objective analysis of the events and personalities that shaped the Beatles as performers, composers and musicians, and the role that Hamburg itself played in their remarkable story. Ian Inglis illuminates this obscure period in Beatles history, providing a revealing view of a crucial, formative period for the group. Written by one of the world's leading scholars of the Beatles and their music, the book will be of immense interest to fans of the group, as well as those interested in the history of popular music and the social history of the 1960s.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (3 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861899157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861899156
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 14.5 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 766,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Inglis is at his best when summarizing the environmental forces and personal relationships that fostered the intense level of artistic growth the group achieved during their time in that city. In his chapter on the Beatles' musical influences, he adeptly summarizes, in a short space, the unusual variety of musical currents that entered into their repertoire, including rhythm and blues, rockabilly, doo-wop, and Brill Building pop.' - The Weekly Standard

About the Author

Ian Inglis is Visiting Fellow in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beatles in Hamburg 18 April 2012
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not the usual sensationalist book about the bands time in Hamburg, but a more serious, scholarly approach about what the city meant to them and how it influenced them musically and as performers. It is part of the Reverb series, looking at the connections between music, artists and performers, musical cultures and places. Another book in the series is Van Halen: Exuberant California, Zen Rock'n'roll (Reverb). Although the Beatles time in Hamburg has been represented often, especially in film (Backbeat, Birth of the Beatles) most are less concerned with music than myth. Yet, in Hamburg, the band spent an estimated 800 hours on stage over 273 nights - playing at the Indra, the Kaiserkeller, the Top Ten and the Star Club, with their first trip in 1960.

This book examines both Hamburg and the band at the times they visited, including their first visit in which they started as a band that had played infrequently around Liverpool to audiences of teenagers and friends, to a band exhorted to "Mach Shau!" to an audience consisting of gangsters, prostitutes, pimps and off shore sailors. It was on stage here that they learnt stagecraft, where they first properly met Ringo Starr (although they had come across each other, they first shared a stage in Hamburg when Rory Storm and the Hurricanes played with them at the Kaiserkeller) and where they spent a lot of time simply getting to know each other away from home. Although the first trip ended in deportation for McCartney, Harrison and Best, it was when they played again in Liverpool that the difference was plain to see.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beatles in Hamburg 11 Jun 2012
By S Riaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is not the usual sensationalist book about the bands time in Hamburg, but a more serious, scholarly approach about what the city meant to them and how it influenced them musically and as performers. It is part of the Reverb series, looking at the connections between music, artists and performers, musical cultures and places. Although the Beatles time in Hamburg has been represented often, especially in film (Backbeat, Birth of the Beatles) most are less concerned with music than myth. Yet, in Hamburg, the band spent an estimated 800 hours on stage over 273 nights - playing at the Indra, the Kaiserkeller, the Top Ten and the Star Club, with their first trip in 1960.

This book examines both Hamburg and the band at the times they visited, including their first visit in which they started as a band that had played infrequently around Liverpool to audiences of teenagers and friends, to a band exhorted to "Mach Shau!" to an audience consisting of gangsters, prostitutes, pimps and off shore sailors. It was on stage here that they learnt stagecraft, where they first properly met Ringo Starr (although they had come across each other, they first shared a stage in Hamburg when Rory Storm and the Hurricanes played with them at the Kaiserkeller) and where they spent a lot of time simply getting to know each other away from home. Although the first trip ended in deportation for McCartney, Harrison and Best, it was when they played again in Liverpool that the difference was plain to see. Most fans will know of the famous concert at Litherland Town Hall in December 1960 where fans first began to react to the band in a way which would soon become all too familiar and their popularity in Liverpool spread on their return.

Overall, this is a very interesting read - discussing reasons why Pete Best was eventually ousted from the group, the influence of Astrid, Klaus and Jurgen, friendship and influence of Tony Sheridan and later visits by the group after they became famous and as solo performers. It also looks at the beginning of John and Paul's songwriting career and the edge that performing their own songs gave them over other groups, as well as looking at numbers the band covered. This book cuts out all the sensationalist stories and concentrates on the importance of Hamburg as a place where the Beatles truly became a world class band.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Training Grounds 21 Jun 2012
By BeatleBangs1964 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a scholarly work about the history and culture of Hamburg during the early 1960s when the pre-Beatles arrived. Hamburg has been called the Beatles' musical training grounds, a city where they played up to 8 hours in local venues and a city in which these young men became quite wordly. In other words, they grew up a lot in Hamburg.

The venues most commonly associated with the Beatles are the Kaiserkeller, the Indra, the Top Ten and the Star Club when they first arrived in 1960. George Harrison, only 17 in 1960 was deported as he was then underage and could not legally play in establishments that served liquor.

I like the way this author describes Hamburg during those early post war years. The boys, used to playing for local crowds had some "sobering" experiences playing for thugs; prostitutes; pimps; sailors who had too much to drink; street gangs and groupies. The boys not only developed their musical prowess, but their stage presence as well. John Lennon was known for shouting out wisecracks and acting a fool, such as wearing a toilet seat around his neck. It was during their stay in Hamburg in 1961 when the boys met Ringo Starr, then a drummer with a group called Rory Storm & the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes had played on stage with the Beatles at the Kaiserkeller and the bandmembers all got to know each other.

The Hamburg trip ended not only with George Harrison's deportation. Paul McCartney and Pete Best were similary deported as they were charged with setting a hotel room on fire. Despite these setbacks, the boys made return trip in 1961 and during the interim regaled Liverpudlian audiences with the improvement in their musical performances. By late 1961, the Beatles were well known in Liverpool.

This was an excellent book that really digs deeply into the evolution and development of the Beatles' during their pre-Ringo days and the 1962 ousting of Pete Best. Readers learn about how Astrid, Klaus and Jurgen (called "exis," short for "existentialists") befriended and influenced the boys from Liverpool. Astrid was the one who gave them their beautiful iconic Beatle mop. Other early influential people are discussed, such as Tony Sheridan. The musical juggernaut that was Lennon-McCartney cut their musical teeth in Hamburg and took their musical giant steps there as well. What is so wonderful and so distinct about this book is that it omits the tawdry and the extraneous and discusses what fans are really interested in learning more about - the group's playing their own songs and the people who influenced them along the way.

Hamburg was an early stop for the World's Number One Band!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Hamburg Book 28 May 2012
By Bill T - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There seems to be a few new books about the Beatles in Hamburg as of late likely due in part to the city recognizing its connection to the Fab Four in recent years. More so than the other offerings this book makes the complete case for Hamburg's importance in the development of the Beatles.

Ian Inglis knows his subject matter well and lays his contention out in fine style. Most of his material is taken from other sources but Inglis puts it all together in convincing fashion.

This book was nice in that it didn't seem like a stock repeat of the same tired narrative.

Inglis proves his point. When next I listen to the Beatles I'll be hearing Hamburg's influence for certain.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Should be called 'Liverpool in Hamburg.' 20 Dec 2012
By Daniel Mantey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was rather dissapointed with this book. It is not really about the Beatles at all, but about the music swap between Liverpool and Hamburg, and how that changed the music of the world. He does give some good argument to the posibilty that the 'Mersey-sound' was really the 'Hamburg-sound' transplanted to England, and then shown off to the world via the Beatles.

He has lots of very good ideas and issues, but the Beatles are almost never center stage, and never a feeling we are ever really IN Hamburg; just always talking about it!

And some wrong info stands out and weakens the book. There were NO BOMBS dropped when John was born. How did that stay in? And so much wishy-washy discussion of John and Stu, and the whole Exi scene. We are always miles and decades away from what was happening, it seems.

Lots of good snippets about the MANY other bands, and the general point of the books seems well argued, BUT is not a book about the Beatles in Hamburg.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 10 Jan 2013
By David Melzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book, definitely a must read for Beatles fans,I'd recommend this book if your interested in there Hamburg days.
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