The Beatles, from Liverpool, to Hamburg to New York + The Story Museum in the docks

I was lucky enough to see the Beatles live at the Walthamstow Granada. Looking back, I was a young dazed and confused 9-year-old whose mum got me a ticket and sent me with the girls who worked in her office. I wore my best suit and waited. When they came on, all the girls jumped up and screamed. I was too short to see and could not hear a thing over the screaming. I did get to see all the other bands and knew them well, and I did see a lot of the Beatles by climbing on the seat and when others rested on their seats. Looking back, she should have gone. But it was one of the things that moulded my life to start in music and spend 50 years in the entertainment industry. (Stuart St Paul). When I watch the cast onboard a ship, I am reminded that I met my wife Jean, who now presents the films, in panto at the Sunderland Empire in 1978. One of my exceedingly rare visits to the theatre. 

It was a period in history, or did they change history? I think the latter is more likely to be true. Few groups of people can have such an influence on the world and from such innocent beginnings. 

I had always wanted to see where they played in Hamburg. The giant myth was a bucket-list place in my head. It was rather a letdown, but a must-see. All you need to do is follow Jean here on the film. Gordon Drane, a City Greeter free tour took her there

Having been there, and to New York and seen the Dakota Apartment block where John Lennon was shot, I decided to re-edit my Beatles Story film, which still sits in the Liverpool section of Doris Visits. A historic and popular port in the UK, but the film is so much more now. It covers the museum, the cavern, Hamburg and New York.  

Liverpool, The Beatles Museum in the Albert docks, we get full access to film this amazing part of British history. It is an extensive tour, with an audio guide, featuring quotes from them and their friends, recreations of places including an almost like-for-like of The Cavern. All these tours are listed here for you to research what is available and at what cost.

The Beatles first foot in Hamburg was on 17 August 1960, to play at the Indra Club on the Grosse Freiheit street for owner Bruno Koschmider, who also owned the Kaiserkeller. It was a 48-night booking. Their audience was often very small and mainly ladies of the night looking for business in the busy port town. Women and sailors paid for the musicians, who were often told to keep the volume down as women lived, worked and slept in the rooms above. The first night they were in shock, and often had second thoughts. Apart from the first night when they slept on the floor of the old businessman, Bruno Koschmider’s small apartment, their living accommodation was in the back of a little cinema, the Bambi Kinorough, and it was far from luxury. They were paid £2.50 each per day for performing four and a half hours on weekdays and six hours on weekends. It doesn’t sound a great deal, but then cruise ship bands sometimes do longer hours! However, George Harrison is quoted as saying, “The Reeperbahn and Grosse Freiheit were the best thing we’d ever seen, clubs and neon lights everywhere and lots of restaurants and entertainment. It looked good. There were seedy things about it, obviously, including some of the conditions we had to live in when we first got there.” The rest, as they say, is history. See our Hamburg section and consider a party cruise there.

In 1961 they were back playing the Cavern in Liverpool when actor-to-be Brian Epstein saw them. He had given up RADA and was running, very successfully, the record department in his father’s department store. He signed them, changed their image and became a manager. He was from then on the fifth Beatle. They joked when they got their MBE’s that it stood for Mr Brian Epstein. National tours of the UK followed, and they were very big stars very quickly starring on classic TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic. Their Morcombe and Wise show is fantastically funny.

This museum is a must for anyone who is interested in history. These four guys were and are British royalty. They are a part of our history we can be proud of, and there is much we cannot. There are Beatles tours in Liverpool and the museums listed on our tours page. Jean’s guide of the dock and Museums including the slavery museum which is half of a darker side of our history, the part before it conveniently forgotten as we did not leave enough of the indigenous islands alive to talk about it. Those who cruise to the Caribbean will be familiar with those stories. There is also a guide to Mathew Street and The Cavern Club.

John Lennon was shot in New York in 1980. That is where this film now ends, looking at the Dakota building from a bus tour…. the life of a cruiser.

Those of you studying your family’s ancestry will no doubt have fallen into the White Star passenger lists of the ships taking your ancestors from Liverpool to New York. The start of cruising.

NEW YORK LIBRARY GRAND CENTRAL STATION NEW YORK BIG BUS TOUR – RED  NEW YORK BIG BUS TOUR – BLUE NEW YORK BIG BUS TOUR – PURPLE   NEW YORK ELLIS ISLAND   NEW YORK CENTRAL PARK    STATUE OF LIBERTY TOUR NEW YORK – JUMPING OFF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY  BROOKLYN CRUISE TERMINAL ACCESS ROCKEFELLER CENTER SAIL UNDER UP RIVER & UNDER HUDSON BRIDGE EMPIRE STATE BLGD @ NIGH