German police authorities deported George Harrison from Hamburg on this day, after discovering he was under 18 years of age.
The discovery took place on 20 November 1960. Harrison stayed up all that night teaching John Lennon his guitar parts, so The Beatles could continue without him. The following day he left Germany.
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 the Kaiserkeller we’d go there to watch 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 were, 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.
Harrison returned to England alone, spending all his remaining money on train tickets, tips and taxi fares. The journey took 24 hours. The Beatles remained in Hamburg for a few more performances until they, too, were deported.
Also on this day...
- 2013: Paul McCartney live: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan
- 2010: Paul McCartney live: Estádio do Morumbi, São Paulo, Brazil
- 1995: Album release: Anthology 1
- 1968: George Harrison performs on Badge by Cream
- 1968: Yoko Ono suffers a miscarriage
- 1963: Live: ABC Cinema, Carlisle
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Merseyside Civil Service Club, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
Can you imagine if he’d ended up in a German jail?
Wow…this is a fascinating personal story from George..and what’s more it actually took place..yes
it’s true that George WAS underage in 1960, having been only 17 years old at that time and therefore still “legally” a minor…and consequently “illegally” in Germany…of course the Immigration and Foreign Labour Laws were much stricter back then with good reason….Thanks very much for this interesting upload !