Having been told on 1 November that their contract to perform at his Kaiserkeller club was being terminated by owner Bruno Koschmider, The Beatles began moving their belonging to the attic room above the nearby Top Ten Club.
At the time The Beatles were staying in the Bambi-Filmkunsttheater cinema, where the accommodation was basic and sanitary facilities minimal. John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe had already moved out, and Paul McCartney and Pete Best were to follow. George Harrison had already been deported from Germany for being underage.
It was dark as McCartney and Best gathered their belongings in the Bambi Kino. As there were no lights they lit an object – different accounts mention rags, a wall tapestry, or a condom attached to a nail – in order to see. There was no damage apart from a burn mark on the wall, and the fire eventually extinguished itself on the damp wall.
Bruno Koschmider, however, was furious, and told the police that The Beatles had attempted to set fire to the cinema.
He’d told them that we’d tried to burn his place down and they said, “Leave, please. Thank you very much but we don’t want you to burn our German houses.” Funny, really, because we couldn’t have burned the place even if we had gallons of petrol – it was made of stone.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
McCartney and Best were arrested, and spent the night in jail before being released. They were deported from Germany on the following day.
Also on this day...
- 2016: George Harrison’s What Is Life gets new video
- 2012: Paul McCartney live: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Canada
- 2001: George Harrison dies
- 1968: UK album release: Two Virgins by John Lennon and Yoko Ono
- 1967: Editing: Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
- 1966: Recording, mixing: Strawberry Fields Forever
- 1965: Radio: Saturday Club
- 1964: John Lennon appears on Not Only… But Also
- 1963: Live: ABC Cinema, Huddersfield
- 1963: UK single release: I Want To Hold Your Hand
- 1962: Live: Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.