Following their first performance at the Indra Club, The Beatles stayed at venue owner Bruno Koschmider’s flat in Hamburg.
The next day he took them to the Bambi-Filmkunsttheater at 33 Paul-Roosen Strasse. The Beatles were unsure why they were being shown around the deserted cinema, which showed little but old Westerns, until Koschmider led them to a filthy room behind the screen. Koschmider told the group, via his interpreter Herr Steiner, that this was to be The Beatles’ home during their Hamburg stay.
We lived backstage in the Bambi Kino, next to the toilets, and you could always smell them. The room had been an old storeroom, and there were just concrete walls and nothing else. No heat, no wallpaper, not a lick of paint; and two sets of bunk beds, like little camp beds, with not very many covers. We were frozen.
Koschmider also pointed out the cinema toilet, telling them it was where they were to wash.
We were put in this pigsty, like a toilet it was, in a cinema, a rundown sort of fleapit. We were living in a toilet, like right next to the ladies’ toilet. We would go to bed late and be woken up the next day by the sound of the cinema show. We’d try to get into the ladies’ first, which was the cleanest of the cinema’s lavatories, but fat old German women would push past us.
We’d wake up in the morning and there would be old German fraus pissing next door. That was where we washed. That was our bathroom. It was a bit of a shock in a way.
There were no cooking facilities at the Bambi Kino, and the group had no money when they first arrived in Hamburg. The Beatles took to visiting the British Sailors’ Society where the manager, Mr Hawk, gave them cornflakes and milk.
That evening, at the Indra Club, they were encouraged to raise their game by manager Allan Williams. He encouraged them to “Make it a show, boys!”, a phrase quickly taken up by Koschmider – the cry of “Mak show, Beatles! Mak show!” would become a hallmark of this first Hamburg show.
The Beatles took note, and began working on their stage show. By the end of their time in Germany they would be a tight live act, regularly drawing crowds and able to effortlessly thrill their audiences.
Also on this day...
- 2010: Paul McCartney live at Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
- 2009: Paul McCartney live at BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- 1969: Recording, mixing: Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End
- 1966: Live: Suffolk Downs Racetrack, Boston
- 1965: Live: Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
- 1964: Travel: London to San Francisco
- 1963: Live: Princess Theatre, Torquay
- 1963: Television: Summer Spin
- 1962: Live: Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight – Ringo Starr’s first official show as a Beatle
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.