Monday, January 27, 2020

VA - The Hamburg Sound (Beatles, Beat und Grosse Freiheit)

The Hamburg Sound
Beatles, Beat and Great Freedom

From 1960 to 1970 a music developed on the stages of the Hamburg clubs, which went around the world as Merseybeat, but was called 'The Hamburg Sound' by many participants. Of course, this simple mixture of rock 'n' roll and skiffle was originally created at the end of the 50s in the coffee bars of Soho and in the Liverpool cellars and dosshouses, where young amateur musicians disrespectfully mixed up the songs of their favourite interpreters and beat them out of their instruments with almost indomitable energy. But the young bands and their sound only got the necessary professional polish during the endless Hamburg stage weeks and months.

In 1960 The Jets came from London with Tony Sheridan on the lead guitar to the Kaiserkeller on Große Freiheit. In the following years Tony became a role model for an entire generation of musicians. The jets enthused the Hamburg youths so much with their new, wild music that the band was wooed away for the bigger Top Ten Club on the Reeperbahn. Their successors in the Kaiserkeller were the young Beatles from Liverpool, who soon moved to the Top Ten to celebrate triumphs with Sheridan and make their first recordings under the direction of Bert Kaempfert in the Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Harburg. The old folk song My Bonnie, sung by Tony Sheridan, was recorded then, as was John Lennon's interpretation of the title Ain't She Sweet.

In the top ten, the Beatles had the most live appearances of their entire career in 1961, and soon they were the absolute darlings of the audience. Word got around on St. Pauli that there was money to be made with the new music, a lot of money.

On 13 April 1962, the Star Club was opened in the former Stern cinema of Große Freiheit 39. His owner Manfred Weissleder had succeeded in winning the stars of St. Pauli for his business: Sheridan and the Beatles. The Star-Club was also a huge success, especially since Weissleder always engaged real US stars to his local heroes, so to speak the forefathers of the new sound. The giants of Rock 'n' Roll gave each other the door handle in his club. The real pillars of his business, however, were the everyday bands that played there day in, day out to dance. Young bands from England, mainly from Liverpool, who developed their own style in the Star Club.

Nowhere else in the world was there a better 'Show Academy' than in Weissleder's 'Beatschuppen'. At least three chapels per night alternated there and could learn from each other. In addition, there was always very close contact to the US stars, who willingly revealed tricks to their students. Gene Vincent was one of the first stars to appear in Great Freedom. He performed there for weeks and fraternized with colleagues and fans, whom he also visited at home. John Lennon had himself photographed with his idol.

Some of these regular bands stayed on the Elbe for months, even years, forming the basis for the 'Hamburg Sound'. The former 'Free and Barber City' (after Chris Barber's Jazz Band, which was extremely popular in Hamburg in the fifties) finally became the 'Beat City'. Dance clubs modelled on Top Ten and the Star Club sprang up like mushrooms. Not only in Hamburg, but, parallel to the success of the Beatles, soon everywhere in Europe and around the globe.

Hamburg remained the musical centre of the world for a few years. British groups came to the Hanseatic city on suspicion in order to get as much involvement in the Star Club as possible. Only a few, however, were able to enter the professionally managed holy halls as 'side entrants'. Most of them ended up, if at all, in the many other clubs in Hamburg or in the surrounding area, in Kiel, Eckernförde, Lüneburg: There were clubs everywhere, and beat bands everywhere. Too many, now also German.

Most shops and bands were in Hamburg, and the control centre was the Star Club, where current stars were hired again and again: such different artists as Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, Chubby Checker and Vanilla Fudge and so on - all excellent guest lecturers for the local bands, who either soon became famous themselves or at least produced musicians again and again (like the later Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore), who would themselves gain star fame.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this special sound. I'm looking for
    V.A. Beat Party in Stereo 1-4. Can you help me? Thank


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