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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Tuesday, December 18, 1962

Star-Club, Hamburg, West Germany

The Beatles grudgingly left England and their chart record, radio, TV and increasingly prestigious live bookings, for an undesirable 5th and final club trip to Hamburg, playing for 13 nights. Despite the increased fee of 750DM (67 pounds) per man, per week, all four Beatles could think about was getting back to capitalize on their success.

Their only night off was on Christmas Day, December 25th, and their final performance on New Year's Eve, were taped on amateur equipment and released for the first time in 1977 - against the Beatles' own wishes. Though extremely low-fidelity, they are fascinating recordings, and have been reissued extensively.

The Beatles' final 42 hours on the Star-Club stage brought the group's grueling Hamburg experience to a total of approximately 800 hours. Quite how valuable the work tied up in this remarkable statistic was to prove was, at this point, beyond comprehension. The Beatles had served their apprenticeship, and served it the hard way. They were now ready to take on whatever the world could throw at them.