‘I might have been born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg’, John Lennon allegedly once quipped when a journalist asked what growing up in Liverpool was like. Between 1960 and 1962, the new Beatles played an estimated 281 concerts in Hamburg’s notorious red light and party district, sometimes starting at 7pm and finishing at 7am. In two short years, they played more live music hours in Hamburg than anywhere else in the world in their entire career.
It was in Hamburg where they learned how to play as a band, how to improvise and to entertain any audience. It was here that they made their first recording, that John, Paul and George first played together with Ringo and that they acquired their iconic moptop haircuts. Just ten days after their last Hamburg concert in 1962, the LP Please, Please Me was released and took the world by storm.
Our guide will let you walk in the footsteps of The Beatles along Hamburg’s most sinful mile.
When the Indra Club had to close a few months later, The Beatles moved down the street to the Kaiserkeller. Here they shared the stage with Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, another Liverpool band whose drummer at the time was Ringo Starr. Here they also met the photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who took some of the band’s most iconic photographs, introduced them to a haircut popular among the Germany’s art scene and got engaged to Sutcliffe. The Kaiserkeller, now the bottom floor of the popular club Grosse Freiheit 36, remains a live music stage for young and upcoming bands.
Kaiserkeller, Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany, +49 40 3177 780
The former hippodrome building has housed several clubs in the decades since. Currently it’s home to the chic Moondoo, where internationally renowned DJs play hip-hop, electronica and soul sets and live bands still occasionally take the stage.
One of the best ways to explore the Hamburg beginnings of The Beatles’ career is by taking a Beatles tour. There are several options, like the walking Beatles Tour and the bus Magical Mystery Tour. But the most widely acclaimed is the Stefanie Hempel’s musical Hempel’s Beatles Tour, which introduces The Beatles sights, stories and trivia, accompanied by their most famous tunes played on an ukulele.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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