bravo beatles blitztournee

George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney onstage at Circus-Krone-Bau, Munich, Germany, 24 June 1966

Photo © The Beatles Book

“[M]uch to George’s amusement, John reminds a forgetful Paul of the opening lyric to ‘I’m Down’ at the finae of the evening Munich show.” - Looking Through You

The Beatles, Hamburg, 26 June 1966. Photo © Staatsarchiv Hamburg/conti-press, presumably.

The Hamburg press conference was, like those in Munich and Essen in the days preceeding it, filled with inane questions… such as:

Q: “George, what about the parties?”

George Harrison: “What parties?”

Paul McCartney: “Any party. Do you wanna go?”

GH: “What about what about the parties?“

[…]

Q: “Kisses?”

JL: “What about them? Do you want some?”

PM: “Later! Okay. You can do it later.”

George Harrison being interviewed in Munich, 23 June 1966.

Photo © Rockmuseum München, by Rainer Schwanke/Archiv Herbert Hauke, courtesy Deutsche Welle.

Q: “If you could participate in the Olympic Games of ‘72 in Munich, what would you like to be?”

George Harrison: “Oh, I don’t know.”

Ringo Starr: “The egg-and-spoon race.”

GH: “The three-legged race - do they have that in the Olympics? Or maybe the highjump!”

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George Harrison at Hotel Bayerischer Hof, Munich, Germany, 23 June 1966.

Photos © Robert Whitaker/Getty Images

In the past, a few of these images have been scanned and posted at thateventuality (here), but the quality isn’t as good as the Getty prints, despite the watermarks.

“These shots were taken during the relaxed moments after the press conference. George seemed comfortable and his hair was looking great, so I popped these pictures off. As far as I remember, even he liked them.

I didn’t get particularly close to George during my time with the group, but I never ceased to find him fascinating. He was thoroughly enjoying his position as a Beatle, but it had struck me that by now he was also looking for something more in his life.” - Robert Whitaker, Eight Days A Week: Inside The Beatles’ Final World Tour

George Harrison and Ringo Starr departing Hamburg, Germany, 27 June 1966.

Photo © Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy Stock Photo

“The day after the Hamburg concert we had a flight to Tokyo, so we were driven straight out of the concert, out of Hamburg to a schloss - a big castle of a hotel - where we stayed the night, and then we were flown to Heathrow and put on the plane to Japan. Unfortunately there was a hurricane hitting Tokyo and our plane got diverted to Alaska.

I remember looking out of the window on the flight in, and Alaska was incredible: mountains, lush green pine forests, wonderful lakes and rivers. As we were coming lower and lower, the lakes and the trees were thinning out a bit, but when we landed suddenly there was a huge, bulldozed mess that Man had made in the middle of the lush beauty.

I thought, ‘Oh, here we are again.’ Mankind keeps giving us real tacky things until eventually the planet’s covered in them. The nasty little hotels that they throw up - boxes made out of concrete. It was so obvious there in Alaska. Normally they are absorbed into the city, but in the middle of a million acres of pristine forest they stick out a bit.” - George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology [x]

George Harrison onstage during the Bravo Beatles Blitztournee, Grughalle, Essen, Germany, 25 June 1966

Photo © Walter Kohn

Camie McKay: “George, do you enjoy these news conferences?”

George Harrison: “Well, if people ask good questions, but usually they ask a lot of idiotic questions.”

McKay: “Ah, a very short interview with George of The Beatles. And now, they are moving out of the conference room.” - Brief interview for Radio Canadian Army Europe at the press conference between concerts, Essen, 25 June 1966 (it’s also on YouTube, here)

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A rare photo of George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr with others on the train in Mulheim-Styrum, Germany, 25 June 1966, submitted to the German newspaper WAZ by Juliane Grote. Photo 1 courtesy of Juliane Grote, 2012; photo 2 courtesy of DB Museum, 2016.

The following memory, by fan Juliane, is translated from WAZ’s 25 June 2012 issue:

“In 1963, The Beatles sang their way into my young girl’s heart with ‘She Loves You.’ When The Beatles were due to come to Essen during a Blitzournee, it all came down to one question for me: how do I get there? My parents categorically declined it. My father, an officer with the railway police, spoke of ‘layabouts’ and ‘long-haired men’ and remained steadfast. Only to then surprise me with confidential information. After making me promise not to breathe a word to anyone, he told me that he was one of the officers on duty at the trainstation where The Beatles would arrive and said I may be able to experience the arrival of the train.

The day before, we found out that my school friend Rita could also come along; the destination of our dreams: Mühlheim-Styrum. My God, I was excited when we arrived there on 25 June 1966. There was nothing going on, there were barely any barriers set up. Were we to have The Beatles to ourselves?

When the chartered train arrived, I felt queasy. I’m not about to faint, I thought to myself. My father gave me the signal we had agreed upon, telling me what compartment The Beatles were in. I climbed aboard - and stood in front of The Beatles. My heart was racing and I couldn’t get a word out. All I could do was hold out my autograph book and a pen and silently ask them for their autographs. What a moment!

The moment ended abruptly when a police officer manouevered me out of the train. When John, Paul, George and Ringo departed the train, the only people on the track were photographers and the two of us girls. Right in front of the stairs the line of policemen ended. Our chance. No one stopped us as we lined up with The Beatles. We walked, no, floated, down the stairs next to them.

The concert at the Gruga [Hall] wasn’t important any longer, we couldn’t get closer to The Beatles than that.” - Juliane Grote, WAZ, 25 June 2012

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George Harrison, and John Lennon, onstage at the Circus Krone Bau, Munich, 24 June 1966; and George at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, photographed by German freelance photographer Frank Fischbeck. These images were auctioned by Bonhams in 2012.

Fischbeck recalled the following to Bonhams:

“[I overheard a member of the hotel staff telling a colleague that The Beatles] would be arriving by car in the basement of the hotel and not, as everyone presumed, at the hotel’s main entrance, where the screaming kids awaited them. I ambled down inconspicuously, camera out of sight under my jacket… When the Beatles finally arrived at the service entrance the band were quickly ushered into a waiting lift to take them to their hotel suites. [I simply got into the lift with them.] They were in high spirits, took me as hotel staff and presented no objection that I enter their private suites for a couple of candid images.” 

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The Beatles waving to fans on the balcony at Schloß Tremsbüttel, the hotel they stayed at near Hamburg, 26 June 1966. These are screen captures from footage of their brief German Bravo-Beatles-Blitztournee.

The newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt nicknamed the hotel “Tremsbeatle” for their one-night stay.

Sunday, 26 June 1966, backstage at Ernst-Merck-Halle, Hamburg, Germany: Paul McCartney and George Harrison with 16-year-old Paul Löffler, a fan who thought of improving his battered reputation at school (for having “long hair”) by starting a school newspaper - and getting an interview with The Beatles. The reaction of his friends: “You’re crazy.” He managed to make his way backstage with a camera, tagging along with a member of the press, and met the band.
Scoring this photo, and one of himself with Paul, he was extremely popular in school after this memorable day.

Photo courtesy of NDR; information courtesy of a news report in “Ländermagazin” Hamburg, aired on 26 June 2016.

Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon pictured on the flight from London to Munich, 23 August 1966; and George Harrison pictured during the “Strawberry Fields Forever” promotional video shoot, Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, 31 January 1967 [x].

Photos: Robert Whitaker; Jane Bown

The story behind those hats:

On the flight to Munich, BRAVO journalist Thomas G. Beyl gave The Beatles presents - “four original, Bavarian traditional costume hats,” as a “welcoming present” from the editorial office, based in Munich. This was reported by BRAVO in its 11 July 1966 issue.
It looks as though George’s hat made an appearance some months later during the “Strawberry Fields Forever” shoot.

Q: ‘What are you doing afterwards if you can’t sing? Ten years later perhaps. What are you doing then, if you are a private man?’

George Harrison: 'Well, we’ll carry on with music, because we can’t just give music up like that. We’ll just carry on writing songs and we’ll just progress. I don’t know. We just wait and see! But we’ll still be making music.’

Q: 'And what’s your first private hobby? Your wife and you…?’

GH: 'I don’t know. Wife and music…’

Q: 'Wife and music? Both together?’

GH: 'Yes!’

Q: 'Yes?’

GH: 'Yes!’

Q: 'And how can you do it together? Your work and family and so? Have you some time? Good time? Much enough time for your private life?’

GH: 'Yes, we now have more time free for our private lives and then when we go on tour like now, then the wives stay at home.’

Q: 'And which one have the boy? You?’

GH: 'No!’

Q: 'Is Zak your boy?’

GH: 'John and Ringo!’

Q: 'Yeah? And you are… you have no?’

GH: 'No, no not yet!’

Q: 'You want some?’

GH: 'Well, yeah! Not for a little while… 'bout time!’

Q: 'How old is your wife?’

GH: '22.’

Q: 'And… you put… she prefers beat music, too?’

GH: 'Yes, she likes…’

Q: ’…or perhaps she likes classics?’

GH: 'She likes… she likes all, all sorts of music that I like.’

Q: 'Yeah?’

GH: 'Yeah!’

—  George Harrison interviewed by Sascha Keith in Essen, Germany, 25 June 1966
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George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney tuning up backstage at Ernst-Merck-Halle prior to their concert, Hamburg, Germany, 26 June 1966.

Photos © Robert Whitaker

“We went back to Hamburg in June 1966, for the first time since 1962. We played concerts in Munich and Essen first, and then got on a train to Hamburg. It was the train that was used when the royal party toured Germany, and it was very nice; we each had our own compartment with marble bathtubs, really luxuriously decorated.

Hamburg had a good and bad feeling for me. The good side was that we were coming back to play after all our fame and fortune, and when we’d been there before we’d been playing dirty nightclubs to work our way up. The bad bit was that a lot of ghosts materialised out of the woodwork - people you didn’t necessarily want to see again, who had been your best friend one drunken Preludin night back in 1960. It’s 1966, you’ve been through a million changes, and suddenly one of those ghosts jumps out on you.” - George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology

John Lennon, George Harrison - holding a photograph of himself with Stuart Sutcliffe, taken at the Top Ten Club in 1961 by Peter Brüchmann - and Paul McCartney, backstage at Ernst-Merck-Halle, Hamburg, 26 June 1966. (This image has also previously been posted at thateventuality in less-than-ideal quality as a scan here.)

Photo © Peter Brüchmann/K & K Ulf Krüger OHG/Getty Images

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George Harrison at The Beatles’ Hamburg press conference and on stage at the Ernst-Merck-Halle, 26 June 1966

Photos: K&K Ulf Krüger OHG/Getty Images

“Hours before the concert was due to begin we stood in front of the entrance to take our seats in row 5, not the allotted row 17. In my hands I held a colorful bouquet of flowers which I had intended for my idol, Paul McCartney, but which landed in front of George Harrison. Eye contact: George smiled at me. I was overwhelmed! Row 5, seat 22 belonged to a young man who was willing to trade seats with me. [My friend] Heike sat behind me. I couldn’t believe it: Paul, John, George and Ringo were standing on stage in the flesh, and overcome, I bit the arm of the person in the seat next to me.” - Birgit Pasternak, fan at the Hamburg concert, Hamburger Abendblatt, 31 May 2006

George Harrison onstage at Circus-Krone-Bau during The Beatles’ Bravo-Beatles-Blitztournee, Munich, Germany, 24 June 1966. Photo © Ulrich Handl.

“The concert itself was great,’ [Ulrich Handl] says. ‘All the hits - it was quite something.’ But it was infernally loud, Handl determines. ‘The screaming of the female fans - I never heard anything like it again.’” - Abendzeitung, article by Christian Pfaffinger, 20 June 2016

Scan - George Harrison backstage at the Ernst-Merck-Halle, Hamburg, 26 June 1966. He’s holding up a photograph of himself and Stuart Sutcliffe, taken by Peter Brüchmann at the Top Ten Club in 1961. Scanned from Mach Schau! Die Beatles in Hamburg.

Photo © Peter Brüchmann