The Beatles actually started out life in 1957 and were known as the Quarrymen, a name that did not last long! Everyone knows The Beatles, everyone has at some time or another heard the music. But few people know much about their early history. Destination Hamburg plans on changing this. This documentary features previously unreleased footage from the archives, and chronicles the ‘birthing’ of The Beatles, in particular their time in Hamburg, Germany. It may seem odd that these multi-millionaires started off life playing the seedy seafront and dock dives of Hamburg, a city which in the 60’s was a mecca for booze, drugs, and prostitution. Oh, come to think about it, the same could be said about Liverpool!

John Lennon is credited as being the first member, soon followed by Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Various other members came and went, maybe the joke of the time was ‘So who is playing drums this week’?

By 1960 the band had gone through many name and personnel changes, but had pretty much settled into the line up that the world became to know with the exception on Ringo, Pete Best was the drummer of choice during this period.

The big opportunity for The Beatles was Hamburg, and not ‘The Cavern’ in Liverpool as is popularly reported. As John Lennon remarked “I grew up in Hamburg, not Liverpool”. Hamburg was a 24 hour a day adventure, playing 6 hours a day, and partying the other 18!

Alas this schedule could not last long. And an incident involving setting fire to a Condom led to their deportation from Germany.

Ah, I see I have your attention. I hear you say “oh those clean cut boys would never do such a thing” well they most certainly did!

And that is just the beginning of the story. For any Beatles fan, this DVD documentary is an absolute must have. Even I enjoyed it, and I am anything but a Beatles fan, I can honestly say that in the 52 years I have been terrorizing the planet I have never owned a Beatles album. Now my perfect record has been broken, but, my comeback is that I don’t own it, it is just a review copy. And you can get your own copy from MVD.

Fascinating stuff, well worth watching. They actually went up a notch or two in my estimation because they were not the squeaky clean band that most would portray them as. I would also be willing to bet that ‘The Beatles’ management are mortified that this DVD has been released. An even better reason to buy it!

Simon Barrett

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