interviewed: astrid kirchherr

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Ringo demonstrates his expertise on the dance floor with Astrid

“George and Ringo were sharing a flat. We sat around, talking about music whilst Max (Scheler) took his photographs. Ringo asked me if I knew a certain dance but I did not, so he said, ‘Come here and I’ll demonstrate,’ and he did. Ringo was into dancing, more so than the others, and was really very good and Max, of course, was delighted with the photographic opportunities.”

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Some amazing photographs of The Beatles captured by Women Photographers

Photo 1: John Lennon 1963, by Jane Brown

Photo 2: The Beatles (foots) 1964 Miami, by Lynn Goldsmith

Photo 3: The Beatles in Hamburg 1960, by Astrid Kirchherr 

Photo 4: The Beatles Sgt. Pepper launch party 1967, by Linda Eastman (Later McCartney)

Photo 5: Paul McCartney Barcelona 1965, by Juana Biarnes 

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“It was when Cynthia visited John and I had the idea to take them out to the Baltic Sea for the day. We went in the morning and came back at night because they had to play then. It was just a beautiful day and they enjoyed it very much. That was the first time John and Cynthia had been to the Baltic Sea and they were having a lot of fun playing in the sand and having a swim in the sea and they were just like children enjoying themselves. Stuart and John played in the sand building little castles and things by the sea.”
-Astrid Kirchherr

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“I met him for the first time in art school. He came a little later than the start of term and we were in the same class. He was the only boy amongst all these girls, the poor thing, so he had a hard time. I was attracted to his kindness first of all and his absolutely beautiful looks and in a way his sadness. He was very lonely and he didn’t have a nice time. He had to live with a teacher from the art school and he gave him a very hard time, he had to work all the time and it was terrible for him. So that’s what I liked about him, and he was absolutely brilliant, a very talented young man. The photographs on the beach came about following an invitation from my mother because we both went for a little trip to the Baltic Sea, and because Klaus was my boyfriend then she said, ‘Well let Klaus come along’ and she booked him a single room so he could have some fun there as well.”

- Astrid Kirchherr on her first meeting with Klaus Voormann in Hamburg. Photographs c.1958. © Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective - Matthew H. Clough

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The sixth Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe met photographer Astrid Kirchherr when The Beatles were in Hamburg. They fell in love instantly and became each other’s muses. In 1960 they got engaged but it was short-lived. Stuart died in Astrid’s arms on April, 10, 1962 of a brain hemorrhage. To this day, Astrid still loves Stuart immensely. He was her soulmate. 

“Eventually Stuart and Astrid got off with each other; Astrid was really cute—so was Stuart, you can see from their pictures that they were.” - George Harrison.

“[Their relationship was] like one of those fairy tales.” - Pete Best.

“They always looked magnificently cool—black polo-neck sweaters, narrow tailored jeans. Stu was our James Dean and Astrid was a waiflike figure who looked like Mia Farrow.” - Mike McCartney.

“I love you Astrid, with all my heart and soul.” - Stuart.

“I love you forever and always. You are the love of my life.” - Astrid.

“Ringo’s girlfriend, Maureen Cox, was also from Liverpool. She was a fan whose dream had come true. She had started out as one of the hundreds of teenage girls who queued day after day at the Cavern to get close to the front of the stage for the best possible view of the Beatles and in the hope that they might catch the eye of one. Every fan had a favourite, and Ringo was hers. She wouldn’t have called herself a fanatic – she would only queue, she said, for two or three hours while some girls were there all day – but she did run after Ringo in the street one day to get his autograph when she spotted him getting out of his car. She was seventeen, had just left school and was learning to be a hairdresser. Then, one day, it happened for her. Again, she and I had little in common but she was jolly and friendly, more relaxed than Cynthia. We got on but I felt there was definitely a north–south divide among the wives and girlfriends. And I had the definite impression that the girls from the north felt they had a prior claim to the boys”

The girls from the north def had dibs on the boys. Def Mo had some claim to Geo, too.

This photo was taken while filming the concert scene in A Hard Day’s Night. I’d only know Maureen and Astrid a few days….

George Harrison and Astrid Kirchherr, Hamburg, 1 or 2 February 1977, shortly before George’s departure for Munich, the second stop during a European promotional visit for Thirty-Three & 1/3. Photo presumably © Astrid Kirchherr.

“The most close contact I have with them is with George [Harrison].
[…] He came to Hamburg to see a concert [Tom Petty in 1992] and he wanted to take me there but I couldn’t because I had the flu. So he came to my house and made me some tea. We just had a long talk and then he had to go.” - Astrid Kirchherr [x]