And somewhere in between was George, as a very, very intent young man, who really saw nothing, nothing
else in the world but the guitar and stage and rock'n'roll. And he was obsessed, yes, obsessed. Ringo wasn't obsessed, he
was the clown, a really sweet-natured guy who wanted to do something nice.
Musically, George carried great weight between
the other three. That was probably more important than you'd think and probably underestimated. Paul and John put him down
a bit, unfortunately. But maybe he needed that.
And Paul is the eternal diva. The acrobar or however you call it, the happy-go-lucky sort of guy, totally
extroverted, I have never encountered anyone else that extroverted. His whole life is the show. Preferably on stage. A very
talented guy, but a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. He doesn't have that depth. I think the deepest thing he ever wrote was 'Yesterday'
and if you look closer, it's not that deep either. The theme is basically sentimental. He is sentimental too, but he always
remains happy-go-lucky and very playful. George had that depth.
[And John] certainly was a person who knew how to be cynical and biting and scathing. Wanting to hurt
people and such, he used that as armor. But he was a natural type of leader, you could say. He had that quality of being able
to put people under his spell, and he was clever enough for it."
And Tony also had this to say about Astrid Kirchherr:
"Astrid Kirchherr was very important because she brought people
together, she was the magnetic pole who attracted people. But people, musicians amongst themselves, say the Beatles, surely
grew closer because of her presence. It wasn't just her role as a photographer and fashionmaker and hairstylist, she was simply
a catalyst and very important. I don't think you can put into words what
happened there. All of us were collectively enamored
of her. Sort of like children. There are those kinds of people who don't do anything, they're just there, but influence everything
that's around them."
As for a bit of trivia: Paul and Tony Sheridan co-wrote a song together in those days,
called "Tell Me If You Can".
George, John and Tony on stage at the Top Ten Club, 1961.
"Tante" [Aunt] Rosa Hoffmann
Born in 1900, she was responsible for the toilets at the Bambi-Kino, the Kaiserkeller and
the Top Ten. She recalls all of The Beatles as being sweet and nice and remembers making them breakfast frequently. When Dot
(Paul's girlfriend at the time) came to visit him in Hamburg, the two of them stayed at Rosa's houseboat in the harbor. According
to her, all of The Beatles spoke German to her (and were quite good at it). She clearly doted on them, saying she would have
walked through fire for them.
When The Beatles played at the Indra, she saw them there and became one of their first
Hamburg fans. As she was quite good at English, a friend requested that she ask the band something for her - which was how
she became acquainted with The Beatles. At first, she stuck to Stu, until he and Astrid became inseparable. Being the same
age as George, the two of them then struck up a platonic friendship.
(For those interested in the Beatle girls: Monika
recalls that, at the time, Paul was friends with Corry Sentrop, John with a girl called Renate and Pete with a blonde named
Here are some translated recollections by Monika from the book "Mach Schau!":
was unbelievably funny and open and we had a lot of fun. But it was completely platonic."
Her parents asked her to invite the band for a meal at her family's home and when it was time to leave,
"they politely said goodbye with a handshake and bow each. That was quite cute. And as a thank you, John played my mother
a song: He stood in our living room with a guitar and sang something half in English and half in German. My parents met the
Beatles as nice and untainted young people."
Hans-Walther "Icke" Braun
He first met The Beatles at the Top Ten. He became particularly good friends with Paul.
He saw the band off on New Year's Day 1963 at the airport in Hamburg and welcomed them at the same place in June 1966. He
has a distinct memory of a conversation with Paul during the band's final Reeperbahn stint - he told Paul that he couldn't
understand why The Beatles weren't famous yet and Paul replied that he couldn't, either, but perhaps fame would still come.
Little did they know to what extent that fame would take them.
Ruth Lallemand & Heike "Goldie" Evert
Ruth was working at the bar of the Kaiserkeller, then switched to the Star-Club. She was
friends with Paul, while Goldie was friends with Ringo. They remember Paul as being very good at speaking a local dialect,
called Back-Slang, which they found out the hard way when they spoke about Paul in his vicinity in this slang - and he replied.
Paul and Ruth
Bettina "Betty" Derlien
She immediately liked The Beatles' show and humor - and John. She visited them in England
during the Sixties and met them again when they returned to tour Germany in 1966. John kept in touch with her, by sending
her the band's newest records and his quirky drawings.
Bettina recalled the following in the book "Mach Schau!":
"We went to the movies too. That's when those Dracula films
were out, with Christopher Lee, he liked those sorts of things a lot. I can't stand those kinds of things. So I always told
him: 'Look, if it's really bad, I'll keep my eyes closed until you tell me when it's okay to look again.' Of course he always
told me to look just when it was really bad. Of course I screamed loudly and he howled with laughter. And then we walked back
home because we didn't have enough money for a taxi. Through the Stadtgraben, where he ran off and hid, and then emerged from
the bushes as Quasimodo. I was a nervous wreck. That sort of thing was fun to him. John was unpredictable. He did stuff sometimes:
I was sitting in the Hoelle [a section of the the club dubbed the Hoelle, i.e. hell] with him. And there was this girl standing
there, looking st him the whole time. And he looked and she looked... and then he said in his Liverpool slang: 'Give us a
kiss.' You should have seen her face! But I know he could be very sad too. He didn't want to let other people see that, but
I knew him."
John and Betty backstage in Hamburg on 26 June 1966, during
the Bravo Beatles Blitztournee.
Katharina "Kathia" Berger
As Kathia recalled, she used to bring The Beatles fresh strawberries
from her job as a strawberry picker in 1961 when she went to the Top Ten Club - which is partly how she acquired her nicknames
from Paul: "the girl with the red hair" (because he couldn't pronounce Kathia), "Strawberry" and "Ketchup."
And she also
ended up with the following autograph in 1966: "To Strawberry (Kathia), with lots of love from a big fan - Paul McCartney"
plus the signatures of George, John and Ringo.
Paul and Kathia (wearing Paul's sunglasses) backstage in Hamburg
on 26 June 1966, during the Bravo Beatles Blitztournee.