The Beatles were not feeling all that Fab about being away from their Liverpool homes and families during the holiday season of 1962. The quartet was on the continent in the heart of Europe, performing one last gig in Hamburg, Germany, where the band earned its wings jamming together on stage.

    Last Night In Hamburg features 28 live performances. 1962 Live At The Star Club contains 23 stage recordings. These two particular releases contain most of the Hamburg tracks that were rediscovered and first released in 1977. Within a scant calendar year of this salvaged performance, the Fab Four would become international media superstars.

    The Mersey Sound actually began on the Elbe Fairway connecting the Port of Hamburg with the North Sea. The seductive environment of the Repabahn red light district fortified the early Beatles into a hard working bar band, eventually hammering their sound into an international sensation for the 20th Century.

    The Beatles of late 1962 were struggling for recognition at this stage in their emerging career. Their first single, "Love Me Do" on Parlaphone Records, had been released in September just cracking the Top 20 singles chart in the U.K. Unfortunately, only two original Lennon/McCartney compositions appeared in their Hamburg set: Paul's "I Saw Her Standing There" and John's "Ask Me Why".

    Dispatched abroad during the Christmas season of 1962, the Beatles performed one final session on stage at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany. Ted 'King-Size' Taylor, another Liverpool musician, decided to tape the band as an amateur recording. These tapes were offered to Beatles manager Brian Epstein who later declined to buy them.

    Although certainly in very rough form, these raw recordings are the only opportunity to hear The Beatles as a bar band. Both discs begin with a German emcee introducing The Beatles as they launch into the raucous "I Saw Here Standing There". The song may lack Harrison's famous lead guitar solo from the familiar 1963 studio version, but the live energy of The Beatles on stage is infectious and overpowering.

    The three principal Beatles each took their turn behind the microphone. John Lennon's lead vocal on "Ask Me Why" is supported by the harmony vocals of Harrision and McCartney. Lennon ripped up two Berry covers, "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "I'm Talking About You", with his voluminous vocals.

    Paul McCartney is spotlighted singing lead vocals on "Besame Mucho" and "Red Sails In The Sunset". A forgotten Saxophone player added a classic rock'n roll blast to McCartney's jaunty vocal on "Hully Gully". "Long Tall Sally" captured McCartney bellowing away on one his favorite rave-up rockers from his youth.

    George Harrison stuttered slightly on guitar during his solo lead intro for "Roll Over Beethoven", which he sang live as late as 1991 on tour in Japan. Harrison handled lead vocals on "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" and the obscure "Little Sheila".

    Out of the many variations of these historic recordings that have appeared on vinyl and CD during the past 25 years, two tracks remain missing from either of these two releases: "Till There Was You" and "Reminiscing". The latter of which was previously available on a 1991 Sony two disc set.

    These rusty recordings offer the only remaining glimpse into early Beatles performances. The historic importance of this appearance is an eargasm for Beatles fans four decades on. Thought to be lost tracks like "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)", "Shimmy Shake", and "Reminiscing" present The Beatles rocking out in their unique style; which later took the world by storm in 1964. Not to be passed over, these unruly Beatles rule!

All known remaining songs from this Beatles performance:
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) * I Saw Her Standing There * Roll Over Beethoven * Hippy Hippy Shake * Sweet Little Sixteen * Lend Me Your Comb * Your Feet's Too Big * Twist And Shout * Mr. Moonlight * A Taste Of Honey * Besame Mucho * Reminiscing * Kansas City (Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey) * Where Have You Been All My Life * Hully Gully * Till There Was You * Ain't Nothin' Shakin' (But Leaves On The Trees) * To Know Her Is To Love Her * Little Queenie * Falling In Love Again * Ask Me Why * Be-Bop-A-Lula * Hallelujah, I Love Her So * Little Sheila * Red Sails In The Sunset * Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby * Matchbox * I'm Talking About You * Shimmy Shake * Long Tall Sally * I Remember You

RockonTour   Issue #15
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2002 RoT
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

New Year's Eve 1962 with The Beatles
Historic Recordings of the Pre-Fab Four

by Timothy Tilghman