Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Beatles: "Live At The Star-Club, Hamburg, 1962"

There seems to be quite a variety of differing versions of the Beatles' final Hamburg show from New Year's Eve of 1962, with different track-listings and sound quality between them. Okay, so they're far from being perfect...far from being bootleg quality, to some ears...but this is all there is, and not only is it exciting, but you're hearing them as you would never hear them again. They weren't the leather-jacketed scruffs anymore, and not quite the four "mop-tops" yet.

It was amazing the scope of music and songs that they had in their repertoire at the time ("To Know Him Is To Love Him", "Til There Was You", etc.) , and also quite a number of their own songs, and some bitchin' rockers, such as "Hippy Hippy Shake", "Ain't Nothin' Shakin'", "Some Other Guy", and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)", all of which would have made some immortal classics if they had recorded them. We ended up getting them on Live At The BBC, but they all would have been some killer singles.

The first time I had ever seen or had known of the early recordings were from a double-album I would see at the library, on the Pickwick label. I remember getting it once, and listening to it at home, but the sound quality didn't sit well with me at the time, or some of the material, so I didn't appreciate what I was hearing. It wasn't until year later that I heard the "official" version of the German edition on the Lingasong label that it sounded better, and was much more enjoyable. You can just imagine what it must have been like to have been there as you listen to it.

One of the last things George Harrison did before he died was put an injunction on these recordings, so that they would never be released again. Quite a shame, as it would be fascinating to hear what they would sound like now, especially with such a massive leap forward in remastering technology since they were first released.

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