15th August – The Beatles: Liverpool to London to Hamburg and New York

As we launch the new book, “The Beatles Fab Four Cities”, we examine events that connect the cities on 15th August.

Liverpool to London to Hamburg

On 15th August 1960, life was about to change for The Beatles. A little over 5 months before, they had formed their first rock ‘n’ roll group and performed at the Wyvern Club, arranged by their new manager, Allan Williams.

On that day, their new drummer Tommy Moore was late, so Johnny Hutch sat in for a short time. This gained them their first tour, backing Johnny Gentle around Scotland. Since then, Tommy had quit, been replaced by Norman Chapman, who was subsequently called up for the army. With days to spare, Paul McCartney rang the Casbah and invited Pete Best to join them as their new drummer. After an audition on the Saturday, and a rehearsal which turned into a gig at the Jacaranda on the Sunday, the five-piece of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best were about to head for Hamburg, courtesy of Allan Williams and Lord Woodbine. The adventure was about to begin!

With Lennon getting a last-minute passport, The Beatles hopped into Allan’s van to head to London. However, it wasn’t just Allan who went on the trip. Allan was joined by his wife Beryl, her brother Barry Chang and Allan’s business partner, Lord Woodbine (Harold Phillips). As they were heading to Hamburg, and nobody spoke German, they were picking up a translator in London, hence the diversion down south.

They had started at the Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool, inspired by the 2 Is in London: they were now heading to the 2 Is Coffee Bar.

David Bedford

The 2 Is Coffee Bar, London

The London area of Soho was always known as an entertainment district that attracted teenagers. It also had a large Italian population. Many Italians started coffee bars in Soho, the first being the Moka Coffee Bar, at 29 Frith Street, which was opened by actress Gina Lollobrigida in 1953.

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