george s. stuart

George Harrison, Bambi Kino, Hamburg, autumn 1960. Photo © The Harrison Family.

On 21 November 1960, George was deported from Germany after the police discovered he was only seventeen years old, and, as such, not allowed out past the legal curfew.

“We would be sitting up on the bandstand, while all this [ID check] went on. The Kontrolle would turn on all the club lights and the band would have to stop playing. Men would go around the tables, checking IDs.

It went on for two months before the penny dropped as to what they were actually saying: ‘Everybody under eighteen years old get out.’ I was only seventeen and I was sitting with the band and getting worried, and eventually somebody did find out; I don’t know how. We didn’t have any work permits or visas, and with me under-age they stated closing in on us; then one day the police came and booted me out.

I had to go back home and that was right at a critical time, because we’d just been offered a job at another club down the road, the Top Ten, which was a much cooler club. In our hour off from fhe Kaiserkeller we’d go there to watch [Tony] Sheridan or whoever was playing. The manager had poached us from Bruno Koschmider and we’d already played a couple of times there. There was a really good atmosphere in that club. It had a great sound-system, it looked much better and they paid a bit more money.

Here we are, leaving the Kaiserkeller to go to the Top Ten, really eager to go there - and right at that point they came and kicked me out of town. So I was moving out to go home and they were moving out to go to this great club.

Astrid, and probably Stuart, dropped me at Hamburg station. It was a long journey on my own on the train to the Hook of Holland. From there I got the day boat. It seemed to take ages and I didn’t have much money - I was praying I’d have enough. I had to get from Harwich to Liverpool Street Station and then a taxi across to Euston. From there I got a train to Liverpool. I can remember it now: I had an amplifier that I’d bought in Hamburg and a crappy suitcase and things in boxes, paper bags with my clothes in, and a guitar. I had too many things to carry and was standing in the corridor of the train with my belongings around me, and lots of soldiers on the train, drinking. I finally got to Liverpool and took a taxi home - I just about made it. I got home penniless. It took everything I had to get me back home.

I had returned to England, on my own and all forlorn, but as it turned out, Paul and Pete were booted out at the same time and were already back ahead of me. It seems Bruno didn’t want The Beatles to leave his club and, as there had been an accidental fire, he has got the police in.

Bruno said that they were burning his cinema down and they took Pete and Paul and put them in the police station on the Reeperbahn for a few hours and then flew them back to England. Deported them. Then John came back a few days after then, because there was no point in him staying and Stuart stayed for a bit because he’d decided to get together with Astrid. It was great, a reprieve, otherwise I had visions of our band staying out there with me stuck in Liverpool, and that would be it.” - George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology

More here.

A letter from George Harrison to Stuart Sutcliffe, sent from Liverpool on 16 December 1960 to Hamburg; it’s on display at the Hard Rock Café in Manchester [x]

Addressed to Stuart, c/o Astrid’s mother Nielsa Kirchherr at Eimsbütteler Straße, and written from 25 Upton Green, a few comments are of particular note:

I hope you are going on O.K. there with Astrid. I arrived O.K. [24 hrs exactly] but spent a packet on fares, taxis, etc.
I went to see your mum + dad, the day after I arrived, and they were pleased to see me. Your dad doesn’t seem to mind the idea of you being engaged, but your mum seemed a little disappointed in you, (that is as far as I could make out). Your new home, is fab, and your dad was busy adding finishing touches to the paint work. I was shown your room to be, which is about the size of the room you + John occupied at Gambier, and your mum has moved - all your paintings photos - record player - bed etc. I like the paining you did of ‘you on the bins,’ I believe it was one of your earlier creations!
I saw John last night for the first 
[Detailing what new records he had bought and adding] I am learning everything I can get my hands on!
…remember me to the wife, Jurgend + the blonde one as well. Remember, the trip is quite good even alone, and you too can be in Ullet RD in exactly 24 hrs!
Cheerio from George

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Eric Idle, George Harrison and Stuart Lerner, 1979, photographed by Carinthia West. (Courtesy of carinthiawest.com and kmfinearts.com)

Photos © Carinthia West

“This was taken at a New Year’s Eve party at Ray Cooper’s house in Chiswick, and shows Eric and George clowning around as they often did. They were such close friends. The third man was Stuart Lerner who, at the time, was dating my friend Shelley Duvall. She was in London filming ‘The Shining’ with Stanley Kubrick, George and Eric broke in to an impromptu version of ‘Guantanamara’, but delicacy forbids me from revealing their version. Suffice it to say that it was X-rated.” - Carinthia West

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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The Silver Beatles - with Johnny Hutchinson of Cass and the Cassanovas filing in as drummer - auditioning for Larry Parnes, who was searching for a backing band for Billy Fury, Wyvern Social Club, Liverpool, 10 May 1960; screen capped from The Beatles Anthology

Photos: Cheniston Roland

Teddy Boy George appreciation post:

“[John Lennon told Larry Kane] ‘He had a real kind of wild style on the guitar. It’s as though… you know, that he and the guitar were joined together. He also looked like a Teddy boy, but as you know, Larry, he was hardly that.’
Hardly. Sensitivity to others was George’s great talent as a human being. On the aircraft and in the hotel suites, it was George who was always asking, ‘Everything all right, Larry?’” - When They Were Boys by Larry Kane [x]

“George was so sweet. My family, especially my mother, loved him… He had a quiet kinship with Stu, and our mother felt he was the most courteous of the boys. Of course, Stuart was always protecting his sisters from the ‘menace’ of John and Paul. George in many ways was more centered than all of them. Much like Stu, he had an inner spirituality.” - Pauline Sutcliffe, When They Were Boys by Larry Kane [x]

“Jim [McCartney] liked George. Though here appeared to be no reason why he should favour him over John, both being dressed as Teddy Boys, history played it’s part: Paul and George had been friends for some time, and a rapport had been established between child and adult - George called him ‘Uncle Jim’ and the older man found the youngster’s impudence attractive.” - The Beatles - All These Years: Tune In by Mark Lewisohn [x]

“[George Harrison] was obviously one of those working class rebel chaps and toward the end of our school days together he got more and more outrageous. The compulsory school uniform was outvoted by his extrovert dress sense and his hair was the longest anyone could possibly get away with in the Inny, all ‘Tony Curtis’d back’, with a school cap perched on the top rear like a rabbi’s skull cap. When his guitar playing affinity with Paul was established in the end of term skewl koncerts, he’d visit our new Forthlin home and we solely became friendly.
His dress by this time was even more interesting… full length, skin-tight drainies down to his bright fluorescent socks, even brighter lime (Upton) green waistcoat under his blazer which he would flash at me in the school corridors (followed by a wink). He had the first blue suede, winkle picker shoes which together with incessant chewing of gum all became his trade marks.” - Mike McCartney, Thank U Very Much: Mike McCartney’s Family Album [x]

“After a night at the Cavern, Billy Hatton would take George back to his house for late night refreshments. ‘My mum used to look at him,’ he recalls, ‘because his hair was fairly long - not as long as it became - and I knew what she was thinking, which was, I’ll be counting the spoons when he’s gone.’” - Fab Gear: The Beatles and Fashion by Paolo Hewitt [x]

”[George Harrison] ambled cautiously in [to Mendips], wearing a crewcut and a shocking-pink shirt over a horrendous striped blazer. He said, ‘Hello, Mrs. Smith, how are you? You’ve got a beautiful home here.’ ‘You’ve been practising, I see,’ I cut him off. ‘John, you did a lovely job at tutoring. Come along in then, if you must.’" - Aunt Mimi [x]

“[Ivan] Hayward soon got a phone call from George Harrison, the young Beatles guitarist. Harrison, who arrived dressed in black leather pants and jacket that seemed at odds with his good-natured politeness, seemed like ‘a nice kid’ to Hayward.” - Gretsch Guitars website [x]

“Larry, you had to love George. He was such a lovely person, so family-oriented. When we first met him, he seemed to be a boy reaching out to find what life was all about. My mother admired him.” - Julia Baird, When They Were Boys by Larry Kane [x]

“Most Institute upperclassmen never mixed with younger students, but for George, with his interest in rock ‘n roll and undeniable talent, Paul felt the affection of an elder brother. He was touched by something he saw in the gangly boy. They hung around together on the weekends. He watched over George in school - Paul an effusively outgoing bloke, and George, barely fourteen and slow-talking, nipping alongside like a fawn; at lunch, Paul doled out double helpings from his outpost behind the cafeteria line; he rode the bus home with George to Allerton and dragged him along on a couple of social outings.” - The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz [x]

I liked them, especially George [Harrison]. They were such nice, open people - something I wasn’t familiar with at all from Germany. They made jokes about themselves, about the English, about the Germans. They had a great time. They were just happy. And I thought: that’s how I want to live. I wanted to leave Germany.
—  Klaus Voormann on first meeting The Beatles in 1960, starshoch2.de, 26 June 2011

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

20 November 1995: The Beatles Anthology 1 is released and reaches #1 in several countries, including the USA.

George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Stuart Sutcliffe at the Indra, 17 August 1960. Photo © unknown.

(A poor quality scan of this has previously been posted on the blog - here - but courtesy of The Source, this is a far better quality image.)

“The exis had nicknames for them all - John was the Sidie Man, George the Beautiful One and Paul the Baby One.” - From The Beatles, the authorized biography by Hunter Davies

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The Beatles onstage at the Top Ten Club, Hamburg, spring 1961 (photos via The Source, copyright unknown).

“In my opinion, our peak for playing live was in Hamburg. You see, at that time we weren’t so famous, so the people who came to see us were drawn in simply by our music and whatever atmosphere we managed to create. We got very tight as a band there, as most nights we played until the wee hours. We developed quite a big repertoire of our own songs, but still played mainly old rock ‘n’ roll tunes. Back in England all the bands were getting into wearing matching tire and handkerchiefs and were doing little dance routines like the Shadows. We weren’t into that bit, so we just kept on doing whatever we felt like.” - George Harrison in an interview with Ritchie York, September 1969 [x]

“Before Hamburg, we didn’t have a clue. We’d never really done any gigs. We’d played at a few parties, but we’d never had a drummer longer than one night at a time. So we were very ropy, just young kids. When we arrived in Hamburg, we started playing eight hours a day - like a full workday. We did that for a total of 11 or 12 months, on and off over a two year period. It was pretty intense. At first we played the music of our heros - Little Richard, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins - anything we’d ever liked. But we still needed more to fill those eight hour sets. Eventually, we had to stretch and play a lot of stuff that we didn’t know particularly well. Suddenly, we were even playing movie themes, like ‘A Taste of Honey’ or 'Moonglow’, learning new chords, jazz voicings, the whole bit. Eventually, it all combined together to make something new and we found our own voice as as a band.” - George Harrison, Guitar World, 1992 [x]

Contact sheet of Astrid Kirchherr’s photos of George Harrison at Heiligengeistfeld, Hamburg, November 1960

Photos © Astrid Kirchherr

On 21 November 1960, George was deported. The notice he received, dated 1 November 1960, can be read here.

George was brought to the train station by Astrid and Stu; as Astrid remembered in the Davies penned authorized biography: “Little George, all lost. I gave him a big bag of sweets and some apples. He threw his arms around me and Stu, which was the sort of demonstrative thing they never did.”

“We would be sitting up on the bandstand, while all this [ID check] went on. The Kontrolle would turn on all the club lights and the band would have to stop playing. Men would go around the tables, checking IDs.

It went on for two months before the penny dropped as to what they were actually saying: ‘Everybody under eighteen years old get out.’ I was only seventeen and I was sitting with the band and getting worried, and eventually somebody did find out; I don’t know how. We didn’t have any work permits or visas, and with me under-age they started closing in on us; then one day the police came and booted me out.

I had to go back home and that was right at a critical time, because we’d just been offered a job at another club down the road, the Top Ten, which was a much cooler club. In our hour off from fhe Kaiserkeller we’d go there to watch [Tony] Sheridan or whoever was playing. The manager had poached us from Bruno Koschmider and we’d already played a couple of times there. There was a really good atmosphere in that club. It had a great sound-system, it looked much better and they paid a bit more money.

Here we are, leaving the Kaiserkeller to go to the Top Ten, really eager to go there - and right at that point they came and kicked me out of town. So I was moving out to go home and they were moving out to go to this great club.

Astrid, and probably Stuart, dropped me at Hamburg station. It was a long journey on my own on the train to the Hook of Holland. From there I got the day boat. It seemed to take ages and I didn’t have much money - I was praying I’d have enough. I had to get from Harwich to Liverpool Street Station and then a taxi across to Euston. From there I got a train to Liverpool. I can remember it now: I had an amplifier that I’d bought in Hamburg and a crappy suitcase and things in boxes, paper bags with my clothes in, and a guitar. I had too many things to carry and was standing in the corridor of the train with my belongings around me, and lots of soldiers on the train, drinking. I finally got to Liverpool and took a taxi home - I just about made it. I got home penniless. It took everything I had to get me back home.“ - George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology [x]

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The Beatles in their iconic collarless suits, 1963

Photos: AP; Harry Hammond © V&A Images

Based slightly on Pierre Cardin’s design, but more so on a collarless jacket Astrid Kirchherr had made for Stuart Sutcliffe in Hamburg, these suits would become world-famous.

“Mark Lewisohn reveals that when Stu started wearing this jacket, the others - ironically for an item they would forever be associated with - teased him mercilessly. ‘What are you doing with your mum’s suit then, Stu?’ they would say, referring to its likeness to the sort of top a middle-aged woman might wear.
In keeping with the nature of the band’s creativity, Cardin’s jacket was an inspirational device. It was not to be slavishly copied. Working mainly with McCartney, [Dougie] Millings came up with a jacket significantly removed from Cardin’s original design. Cardin’s jacket sported five buttons at the front and three patch pockets. The round-necked, collarless Beatle jacket used three pearl buttons and two pockets with braided edges, and had single-button cuffs. The matching flat-front trousers had no side-pockets.
[Brian] Epstein’s dictum to the band that their stage clothes could be outlandish and unorthodox but must always remain smart is certainly fulfilled in this instance. Once again no other band looked like The Beatles. Once again they were leading the pack. […] 
The Beatles’ famous collarless jackets perfectly chimed with the fashion zeitgeist of androgyny, even though it was being worn by four men brought up in a highly male environment. But then that was the past, and The Beatles always looked to the future. Their clothes said as much to the world.
What is of further interest where the collarless suits are concerned is that when the band toured America, they left them behind. American audiences only got to see the band in these landmark clothes through record sleeves or magazine pictures.
[…] Perhaps they had just got bored of them. Other bands were now copying them and, as Mark Lewisohn states, ‘Once someone copied what they were doing, they dropped it instantly and looked for something new.’ Maybe they also sensed that the suits would be too provocative for the American youth.” - Fab Gear: The Beatles and Fashion by Paolo Hewitt

[Astrid Kirchherr] was close to all of them, but had what she described as a ‘sweet bond’ with George [Harrison], who wrote more letters to her than the others. Once again, as he has throughout this work, George stands out as the compassionate one. It was George who accompanied, along with Brian Epstein, Stuart’s mother on the airplane to Hamburg to console Kirchherr, and bring Stuart home.
—  When They Were Boys by Larry Kane