Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Beatles in Germany

So this is a strangely written but interesting article written by the Lennon biographer, Ray Coleman about the Beatles in Germany.    I think what Ray says about the police and the male fans is interesting.   But the part that I really like it Ray talking about the "Revolver" album, which hadn't been named yet.    When you read that, keep in mind that the fans reading this for the first time hadn't hear the album yet.   This was the very first glimpse into the new album.   I bet they were especially curious about Dr. Robert after what John said about it.  

"Yes they do read those fan letters.  Even when traveling!  And either working, filming or holidaying, they  must be real world Tour Experts by now.  This pic was taken on the Beatles recent German tour."

The Beatles in Germany
By Ray Coleman
Disc and Music Echo – July 2, 1966

“PLEASE DO NOT FLY TO TOKYO.  YOUR CAREER IS IN DANGER…”  This anonymous telegram arrived in the Beatles’ Hamburg dressing room last Sunday before their final German concert after a staggering three day triumphant return to the city which nursed them from obscurity into the history books.

Being used to cranks and scares, John, Paul and Ringo took little notice.  But George, who worries more, kept thinking about it and showing it round.  “It makes you think.” He said soberly.  “We’ve got a lot of enemies as well as friends.”

The Beatles’ return to Germany with two, with two concerts each in Munich, Essen and finally Hamburg, was a predictable sensation.  About 30,000 fans screamed with all their Deutsch might during the four-day jaunt.  And Beatlemania, with all its attendant hysteria and larger-than-life fever, gripped the country for the first time.

For Germany, this was the sentimental, romantic and often emotional return to the land where the Beatles polished themselves into the world’s top pop group and international power.  For the Beatles, it was just another tour – but also a sharp reminder of their power.

The most sensational aspect of the tour was fan reaction.  This time, it was the boys who went berserk more than girls.  Boys got much more worked up, mentally and physically, and the German police, whose motto is simply to meet force with more force, had the time of their lives.  There were unbelievable sights as boy fans who went berserk were front marched backwards, punched, hurled over six foot high railings to cool off, or were smitten by fantastically ferocious police.   Some fans were brutally wounded.  But it was the law o the jungle in those concert halls, and in a military country like Germany it’s more than just tough if you don’t obey the police.  It is wicked.
The Beatles remained unchanged if bemused by it all.  Right now they are in Tokyo for more shows.
Memories of Germany?  Hundreds.  Crazy questions at press conferences.  “What’s your opinion of the anti-baby pill?”--  “It’s good, of course.”  (Paul)    “Do you speak German well?”  -- “Like the natives.” (Paul).  “Who’s the greatest, you or Cassius Clay?”  -- “It’s a tossup.” (Ringo).    “Do you wear long pants in the wintertime?”—“No, hipsters!” (George).  “What do you dream about when you’re sleeping?”—“Same as anyone else,” said John.  “We’re the same as you, y’know, only we’re rich.” 

“Why are you such horrid snobs?”   George answered, “It’s only in your mind.”  John:  “Because we’re not flattering you?”  Paul:  “We’re just natural and we don’t pose like some people.”

Memories of Germany:  John and Paul in daft, myopic yellow sunglasses.  Ringo and George in Byrd-imitated square-lensed dark glasses.  George in a crazy hat given to him by the Mamas and the Papas.  The Beatles’ luxurious special train which took us form Munich to Essen and then through the night to Hamburg.  John, Paul , George and Ringo in the compartment used by the Queen and Duke during their recent German trip  john in the bed the Queen slept in and George in the Duke’s.

Memories of Germany:  Lennon’s voice cracking up in Hamburg and a friend frantically searching for honey and lemon within minutes of the boys leaping on stage.  “It was the comeback after a ten-month lay-off,” said John.  “That cracked it.  We should never have come out of retirement!”
Memories of Germany:  Bad and good Beatles music.  A nice programme throughout.  “Rock and Roll Music,”  “If I needed someone”, “Day Tripper,”  ‘She’s a woman,”  “Baby’s in Black,”  “Yesterday,”  “I wanna be your man,” “Nowhere Man,” “I feel fine,” “Paperback Writer,” and “I’m Down” as a great finale.  George impressing the crowds to a frenzy with his German:  “this is from der long-spieler ‘Beatles for Sale.’”

Their new green velvet uniforms with yellow shirts, bought at Chelsea’s hunt on You boutique.  Ringo’s suit which looks like pyjamas in grey with red stripes.  It floored pressmen in Munich.
Questions and more questions.  “Do you polish your MBE medal?”—“Every week without fail we don’t.” (Ringo)  “How rich are you?” – “Not as rich as Harold Wilson.” (George)  “What the best beat band in the world?”  -- “Freddie.”  (Paul)  “Would you be a Beatle fan if you weren’t a Beatle?”  -- “No.” (John) And beauty when a sarcastic, “clever” reporter asked:  “Ringo, what’s the time?”  The Beatles answered dryly, “Time you were in bed.”  Laughter.

They played their new LP tape in their bedroom – on a machine with terrible reproduction.  “It brings me down, listening to things that sound so bad on rotten machines,” said Lennon.  Never mind.  It’s a fascinating new LP and the boys spent hours trying to dream up a title for it.  No luck.  “Magic Circles,”  “Bubble and Squeak,”  “Beatles on Safari,” and “Freewheelin’ Beatles” are the nearest they reached.

The album features “Good Day Sunshine” starring Paul’s voice with George Martin on honky-tonk piano; Ringo singing a sea-shanty styled “Well all Live in a Yellow Submarine,” written by John.  A tremendous sitar showcase for George on a track he also wrote, “love you to,”  “I want to tell you,” and a sensational, moody Paul song called “For No One.”  He sings beautifully and the French horn effects are terrific.

“Tomorrow Never knows,” the Beatles favourite from the new LP, is what they might call pop-free-form, with incredible electronic sounds.  Even the Beatles are amazed by how revolutionary this has turned out.  “Doctor Robert,” featuring John, is a good-sounding song about wich Lennon told me, “It’s all about a queer.”    “Tax Man” written and sung by George, is nice, and Paul’s special “Eleanor Rigby,” with violins as the surprise, is another “Yesterday.”  Glorious.  A superb album.
Peter and Gordon and Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers plus Germany’s Rattles completed the tour bill, and the Britons played well.  “But it’s no use competing with THEM for applause,” said Peter Asher. 

Memories of Germany:  of frauleins in exquisitely embroidered skirts.  They’d actually sewn on the words and music to “All my Loving” and “I want to hold your hand.”  Memories of millions of words and much music.  Of fights and the seedy Reeperbahn, the Beatles old haunt.  Of Germans going raving mad over the British Beatles.
If anyone could have made Hitler get off the war wagon, it would have been John, Paul, George and Ringo.  Achtung!


  1. "Freewheelin' Beatles" HA!!!!

    I'll bet this article is the source for "Beatles On Safari" and "Magic Circles" floating around as alternate titles for "Revolver" (as listed in "Beatles A-Z".....obviously only passing suggestions in a brainstorming session!)

    Fascinating find, Ms. Sara!!! Thank you!!!

  2. "All I want to do...

    ..is thank you", Sara, for all the hard work you do on this wonderful site. I check it everyday, share choice bits with friends, and just generally derive a lot of pleasure from your work. Have a great day!

  3. Fantastic article - love this site

  4. Great article! Many thanks for sharing!