Beatles at the Star-Club 1962

These are the punk Beatles. Raw and relentless playing fast and furious. The Beatles before the world was paying attention to them. This was recorded on an old reel to reel recorder on the slowest speed to conserve tape. It was not meant to be an album or anything commercial. A friend named Ted “King Sized” Taylor the leader of a band called the Dominoes, put a microphone near the stage to record them. The quality is poor, to say the least.

It was released in 1977 and the record company sunk 100,000 dollars just to make the audio listenable.

The Beatles were playing to an audience of sailors, prostitutes, drunks and gangsters. They would rip through songs at such a speed that only 2 songs on this double album are over 3 minutes long.

They are a great band here. You catch them with their guard down and acting completely natural.

The Beatles were in their last club dates at Hamburg. They had already recorded Love Me Do and it was on the charts. They did not want to be back in Hamburg but they honored a previous agreement and was there. They didn’t mail the performances in but they were loose and relaxed.

It contains mostly cover songs with very few originals. The track listing is at the bottom of the post. This is close to what Brian Epstein heard when he first saw them, this is why they took over Liverpool and this is why they got signed.

Casual fans will not want this album but serious Beatles fans will love it. This is more than a low fidelity album…it is history. John Lennon always said that the world didn’t hear the best of the Beatles live…I agree.

After they became THE Beatles…they could not hear themselves play because of the long constant jet taking off screaming. On this album you hear them as they were before the screams.

I was 11 when I bought this and I didn’t get the importance to a few years later.

This is out of the book Tune In… Without a doubt the best book out on the Beatles. It’s the first of three volumes.

Their playing is adept and hyper-energetic, and the microphone catches many important moments. The tape’s value has been downplayed on the basis that the Beatles are musically sloppy and perhaps even lazy, knowing they’ve one foot out of the door, but this is to ignore its virtues. The Beatles did hate being in Hamburg this last time … but the recording shows them still cutting the mustard on stage. They’re sloppy because, here, they can be, but they’re not lazy, and they’re not playing with extra care because they’re being recorded: this is an authentic eavesdrop on their club act, not something fizzed-up for the tape machine.
At least three sets were recorded, and because the Beatles rarely repeated themselves in Hamburg, there are only five duplicates among the thirty-seven songs. The repertoire is a real surprise. The only self-written pieces are “Ask Me Why” and “I Saw Her Standing There” (twice), so there’s no “Love Me Do,” “PS I Love You,” “Please Please Me,” “One After 909” or any of several other possibilities, and there are few of the songs from the spine of their all-conquering 1962 stage sets—no “Some Other Guy,” “Soldier of Love,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “Don’t Ever Change,” “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues,” “Devil in Her Heart,” “Baby It’s You,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody,” “Hey! Baby, A Picture of You,” and so on. What’s here is an idiosyncratic selection of old rock numbers all played at breakneck speed—Prellies pace. The nights of half-hour “What’d I Say” marathons are past: everything is high velocity, only three numbers tipping into three minutes.




Side one
  1. Introduction/”I Saw Her Standing There” (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 0:34/2:22
  2. “Roll Over Beethoven” (Chuck Berry) – 2:15
  3. “Hippy Hippy Shake” (Chan Romero) – 1:42
  4. “Sweet Little Sixteen” (Berry) – 2:45
  5. “Lend Me Your Comb” (Kay Twomey, Fred Wise, Ben Weisman) – 1:44
  6. “Your Feet’s Too Big” (Ada Benson, Fred Fisher) – 2:18
Side two
  1. “Twist and Shout” (Phil Medley, Bert Russell) – 2:03
  2. “Mr. Moonlight” (Roy Lee Johnson) – 2:06
  3. “A Taste of Honey” (Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow) – 1:45
  4. “Bésame Mucho” (Consuelo Velázquez, Sunny Skylar) – 2:36
  5. “Reminiscing” (King Curtis) – 1:41
  6. “Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey” (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Richard Penniman) – 2:09
Side three
  1. “Nothin’ Shakin’ (But the Leaves on the Trees)” (Eddie Fontaine, Cirino Colacrai, Diane Lampert, John Gluck) – 1:15
  2. “To Know Her Is to Love Her” (Phil Spector) – 3:02
  3. “Little Queenie” (Berry) – 3:51
  4. “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)” (Frederick Hollander, Sammy Lerner) – 1:57
  5. “Ask Me Why” (Lennon, McCartney) – 2:26
  6. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (Gene Vincent, Bill Davis) – 2:29
    • Guest lead vocal by Fred Fascher, Star-Club waiter
  7. “Hallelujah I Love Her So” (Ray Charles) – 2:10
    • Guest lead vocal by Horst Fascher, Star-Club manager
Side four
  1. “Red Sails in the Sunset” (Jimmy Kennedy, Hugh Williams) – 2:00
  2. “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” (Carl Perkins) – 2:25
  3. “Matchbox” (Carl Perkins) – 2:35
  4. “I’m Talking About You” (Berry) – 1:48
  5. “Shimmy Like Kate” (Armand Piron, Fred Smith, Cliff Goldsmith) – 2:17
    • Based on The Olympics’ arrangement of “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”;[32] sometimes misidentified as “Shimmy Shimmy” or “Shimmy Shake”
  6. “Long Tall Sally” (Enotris Johnson, Robert Blackwell, Penniman) – 1:45
  7. “I Remember You” (Johnny Mercer, Victor Schertzinger) – 1:54!_at_the_Star-Club_in_Hamburg,_Germany;_1962


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Beatles at the Star-Club 1962”

  1. A great historical document. In the time machine- I want to see them in Hamburg and then when they returned to The Cavern….. as far as the Lewisohn book- if you are someone who has any interest at all in The Beatles, music or just great biography- this is a remarkable book- 2 volumes still to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He described it so well that I had to use that little snippet. I couldn’t top that.
      I’m look more forward to that book than any movie or other book I ever have waited for…
      I’m listening to the audio version still. It’s like a made up story… this is where life is stranger than fiction…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been carrying the book around with me- up to 1957 now. Same here- I check every now and then to see if there is a release date- I guess we just need to be patient. I am sure it won’t be out anytime soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But like we have said…this one should not take as long. If I had my guess he will be gathering info at least for the next one also.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hope you are correct… I just think of Robert Caro who has been writing on his Lyndon Johnson series since the early 1970’s…..Have you ever read where the final book will end? When The Beatles ended I would think but I don’t think he’s ever said…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thats where I think he would end it…in 1970 If he goes through their solo careers…that is another book in itself.
        Of course he could pick up again in the 1990s for the Anthology because…it was the Beatles.
        There are so many possibilities.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I could go for 3 volumes covering The Beatles and then if he wants to continue -go for it. I don’t know how he could go to the present in just 3 volumes not in the details he gets into. .. I could see Vol 2 going until they quit touring-then vol 3- post Revolver to Paul quitting.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That is what I was going to ask you…how far will he go in the second. That would be the logical move…the end of that part of their career.
        Oh…I don’t know if you are interested but I’ve always wanted to hear Stu play bass. The 1960 tapes they taped at Pauls house is on youtube now…I couldn’t believe it. He was a beginner but not bad…and this was before Hamburg.

        This was posted after the book. Years ago I looked everywhere for something…The book verified the recordings and Stu playing bass…and this is what he described. No doubt it’s them.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. You can hear it well also. I felt like I found pure gold…I think he was better than people said…he just wasn’t as great as them.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I can’t believe they haven’t released that recording- interesting. talk about an artifact from history. I agree Stu wasn’t as bad as legend had it. … I always wondered- what if Stuart had lived- could well have been the famous artist who had been a Beatle.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. All the artists I’ve heard interviewed said he was great. I’m not an artist so I can’t judge but I can judge his bass playing…for him being a beginner he wasn’t bad…with all of those nights in Hamburg…he probably was a decent player…of course no McCartney but who is.

        I can’t believe that popped up on youtube. I wish you…it should have been released on Anthology.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I bet it eventually sees the light of day as an album. .. I think with Stuart it was mainly his interests were elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I always felt bad for him. He really influenced them… Even down to the name…of course “Beatals”. He seemed like a really good guy. George was closer to him than I thought before I read the book… I agree it will come out sometime.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Stuart was a very stylish young man. On that Beatles tour we took- the first place the tour guide took us was the the Liverpool Art Institute and showed us a work of Stuart’s that was on the wall that won an award- and he believed if Stuart would have lived- he was a major talent who would have been world renown.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. That is just so sad he couldn’t live to see his impact and potential… As a kid the books I read implied that a kick in the head in that fight after a gig started it…I seriously doubt that.
        He does look cool in the photos. He looked more like a rock start than they did. He had the image part down.
        I saw a documentary on him at one time…I need to look that up.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. John sure did have a tragic life- his parents- his best friend dying at such a young age.. no wonder he had anger issues… yes he never knew they made it. Never knew his impact on them..

        Liked by 1 person

      15. John did…it’s plain to see why he had that anger. His mom was the most tragic…as soon as he got to know her.
        I had forgotten but yes it was months before they recorded Love Me Do…I bet Paul felt just terrible after he passed away.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They were so raw… yes I agree. I got a bootleg video this weekend of them at Budokan in 1966 and the difference between this and that is miles apart. They may have had more stage experience than any other rock band during this recording because of all of those shows in Hamburg 6-7 days a week.


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