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Lay for the Day
17th August

1960: The Beatles play the first of 48 nights at the Indra Club in Hamburg, their first gig in that city. For this booking, they have shortened their name from The Silver Beatles to just The Beatles. They play seven nights a week, and on weekend nights they play for six hours. When the engagement ends, they move on to another club, the Kaiserkeller, which they desert after 58 nights for a higher-class joint, the Top Ten Club. They don’t get back to Liverpool till December.
On 27th March 1961 they return to Hamburg and the Top Ten Club, where they play every night until 2nd July. By the time they come back from that stint in the summer of 1961, they are a hot band on the Merseybeat scene, and begin their famous residency at the Cavern.
After three more visits to Hamburg in 1962 (April–May, November, and December), for much briefer seasons at the Star Club, they’re ready to take on the world…


Alphabeatles – part 2 [continued from 12th August, continued on 18th August]

F is for a Fame
“greater than Jesus”:
a statement that gave
the God-squad seizures.

G is for George whose
shy ways struck a chord
with ladies who cried
out for their sweet lord.

H is for Hamburg,
a grim German port,
where marks weren’t many
and the gigs weren’t short.

I’s for Imagine
that some mixed-up kid
would gun down John Lennon.
None of us did.

J’s for the Joint
Bob Dylan got going.
Suck on this wind
where the answer’s blowing.

by John Gibbens,
from The Improvised Version, Volume 1


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar