And I love her
Being a contemporary of the Fab Four and of a working class background, the Beatles are of special interest to me. In some of their songs, Blackbird
for example, it can be seen that they also drew on an inborn folk music tradition common throughout the British Isles. Although I can't swear to it, it is well within the realms of possibility that I saw them performing in Hamburg before they became famous.
On New Year's Eve in 1961, as a young British sailor on leave in Hamburg, I was in some kind of music club very close to or even on the Reeperbahn where lots of young groups played virtually non-stop swapping over very half-hour or so. One lively group caught my attention and I asked a German bystander who they were. The bystander told me that they were German which I accepted without comment. On finishing their stint, the group came close to me. One of them fished out a 5- or 10-pfennig coin and stuck it in a peanut vending machine on the bar. I was very much amused, however, that when on turning the handle and nothing came out, the group member broke out in a stream of verbal abuse in purest Liverpudlian. "Some German!", I thought. Being too shy in those days I didn't open a conversation with them, more's to the pity, and it was some ten years later that it dawned on me that perhaps for a brief moment I had rubbed shoulders with the great and famous.
Geoff Grainger, Bremen-Vegesack, January 2001