30 Nov The Beatles Conclude Their 56 Night Kaiserkeller Residency
On this day in 1960, The Beatles wrapped up a 56 night run at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg
The group began their residency on the 4th of October, working intensive nights from 7:30pm to 2:00am with various half hour breaks between sets, sharing their workload with another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, also featuring Ringo Starr on drums. The Beatles later reported that the Kaiserkeller was a dangerous venue filled with gangsters, with tensions between English and German patrons often flaring into violence. Despite these unsafe conditions, the group made many friends in the venue and claimed to thoroughly enjoy their time there.
Unfortunately, the band did prefer to spend their leisure time in the nearby Top Ten Club, a direct rival to the Kaiserkeller, and eventually made a verbal agreement with the owner to play there. This infuriated Bruno Koschmider, the Kaiserkeller’s owner, who promptly terminated their contract. The Beatles did stay on to play for another 3 weeks, even after George Harrison was deported on the 20th of November for being under 18 years of age. The band continued to play without Harrison, although they began moving their belongings to the Top Ten Club.
Upon packing for their new accomodation, the band lit a small fire to see around the room as they packed. Different accounts mention a rag, wall tapestry or a condom on a nail as the ignited item. Regardless of the object, the flame quickly spread to the wall, and the band hurried to extinguish it, leaving no damage but a small burn mark on the wall. Bruno Koschmider was further infuriated and reported them to the police for arson. Paul McCartney and original drummer Pete Best were subsequently arrested for trying to burn down the Kaiserkeller and spent a night in jail before being deported the following day. McCartney apparently found the situation somewhat amusing claiming “we couldn’t have burned the place even if we had gallons of petrol – it was made of stone.”