With their Saturday night residency at the Grosvenor Ballroom cancelled due to local complaints, The Beatles had some time off. On this night they went to Mona Best’s Casbah Coffee Club where they saw The Blackjacks playing.
The group had Mona’s son Pete Best playing a brand new drum kit. The Blackjacks were on the point of splitting up, so The Beatles suggested to Pete that he join them for their first trip to Hamburg.
Best was interested in the proposal, and agreed to audition for them on the following Friday.
We’d heard about musicians getting gigs in Stuttgart, where there were American army bases. We knew that those kinds of gigs were available around Germany, so it was an exciting thought.
The story behind our going there was that another Liverpool group, Derry and the Seniors, had given up their jobs to do a gig for Larry Parnes. And when they didn’t get it, they were all really annoyed so they decided to go to London to beat Larry up. Allan Williams said to them: ‘If you are going to London you should take your instruments.’ He drove them down and got them into the 2I’s, the club where Tommy Steele had been discovered. They didn’t beat up Larry Parnes, but they did go down well at the club.
Bruno Koschmider, a German promoter, saw them there and hired them for his own club, the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg, and they were there for a couple of months. He must have really liked them, because he then got in touch with Allan Williams and said, ‘We want another Liverpool band to play at the Indra.’
Allan Williams offered the gig to us, ‘But,’ he said, ‘the fellow wants a five-piece.’ We needed another person, since there were only the three of us and Stuart. We were excited, but we thought, ‘Paul isn’t really the drummer. Where do we get one from?’ Then I remembered a guy I’d met who’d been given a drum kit for Christmas. His name was Pete Best; the Casbah club was in his basement.
Also on this day...
- 2009: Paul McCartney live at Fenway Park, Boston
- 2008: Newly-discovered Beatles tape sells for £9,800
- 1969: Recording, mixing: Here Comes The Sun, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
- 1968: Mixing: Hey Jude
- 1967: George Harrison dines at Ravi Shankar’s house
- 1966: Brian Epstein holds a press conference
- 1966: Radio: The Lennon And McCartney Songbook
- 1965: UK album release: Help!
- 1963: Live: Springfield Ballroom, Jersey
- 1961: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.