Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Their First Visit to Hamburg

by Iain Hines

It was a dodgy, difficult day for the Jets, our own group, when bass player Colin Milander and I went to the Fleurs Schanke Club to try to land us another job. It was about ten in the evening when I got back to the Top Ten and the Beatles were already in full swing.

Tony Sheridan and I joined them on stage and we had a ridiculous rave-up, ad-lib style, with the five of them. Perhaps the most memorable session ever, ending with a seventy-minute version of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say". If I'd only remembered to tape it, I'd probably make a fortune out of it right now!

More drama for the Beatles the next day. Colin and I had decided to return home to London so we went up to the main station for our tickets. Outside the Club was a Hamburg Peter wagon--that's the German equivalent of a Black Maria. We were paying the taxi-driver and suddenly noticed the Beatles being ushered into the police van.

Off we went to the Top Ten, to manager Peter Eckhorn, and were told the Jets' contract was being renewed for two months as somebody had somehow "framed" the Beatles. It appears that he was jealous of them signing a contract with the Top Ten, and accused them of trying to burn down a Club and got them DEPORTED . . . via BEA.

I can assure you that the story was completely false. Truth was that the boys were so cold in their accommodation that they'd burned newspapers in the grate in an effort to keep warm. But the police or "Nasties" as John called them believed the lies. The boys had to leave all their gear in Hamburg, but Peter later sent it on to Liverpool. . . .

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