AUDIO: Interview Astrid Kirchherr

 It’s rare that we post two nearly identical posts one after the other, but here’s another update on some Beatle related photos.  Astrid Kirchher has a new book out.  Instead of completely focusing on the group’s time in Hamburg, this book has a slightly different take on their history.

Yesterday: The Beatles Once Upon A Time documents the Beatles and the city of their birth during the making of their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, in 1964. It captures the rhythm and texture of the tough English port city where the smell of cigarettes and seawater mingled and the strains of pop music were transformed by an early 1960s music scene that gave birth to the Mersey Beat and the greatest band of all time.Before they achieved world fame, the Beatles perfected their craft in another port of call, the northern German city of Hamburg. There they met Astrid Kirchherr, a budding photographer who became close friends with the band and later was engaged to the Beatles’ original bass player, Stuart Sutcliffe. Some four years later—by which time the Beatles had conquered the world—Kirchherr with Max Scheler visited the band and took the photographs that appear in this book. Kirchherr and Scheler focused on the Beatles in private and public moments, during the filming, and also on the city itself, on the streets, the music scene, the people, evoking for us today the gritty humor and passion of 1960s Liverpudlians.

This book offers a moving testament to the inspirational effect of the Beatles’ success on their hometown as well as an important chapter of the Beatles’ almost- mythic story.

Astrid was interviewed on NPR for a story about the book, and once again provides us with those wonderful little insights that only a first-hand account can give.  Listen below.

The Beatles Once Upon a Time

  • Listen to the interview here

Here’s what we’ve read.

Hamburg-born Astrid Kirchherr met the Beatles in 1960, before they were famous, when they came to perform in Germany.

An art student in Hamburg, she took some of the earliest photographs of the group – now-classic shots that capture the foursome back before Ringo joined the band, back when Stuart Sutcliffe was playing bass. And Kirchherr has often been credited with convincing the band to adopt those iconic mop-tops.

Kirchherr and Sutcliffe fell in love and got engaged – he was more of a painter than a bass player, as it turned out – and Sutcliffe quit the band to stay behind in Hamburg. But Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage in 1962, and in 1964 Kirchherr accompanied her photographer friend Max Scheler to London to shoot behind-the-scenes photographs on the film A Hard Day’s Night – and to capture the now internationally famous Beatles in their hometown of Liverpool.

The photos Kirchherr and Scheler took on that trip are collected in the new book Yesterday: The Beatles Once Upon a Time.

Kirchherr tells Terry Gross that when she first saw the Beatles playing in a basement dive in Hamburg – a “dark, filthy cellar … not the kind of place where young ladies in the ’50s or ’60s were seen” – she was “amazed at how beautiful these boys looked. It was a photographer’s dream.”

Source: NPR

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3 Responses

  1. I loved her works but the pre-fame stuff is heads above this since there were usually dozens of cameras taking similar photos of their every move (or non-move) by 1964. All these photos have been released before in a book by Astrid and Max under the title Liverpool Days but it was waaaay too expensive as it was one of those luxurious Genesis Book releases. HOpefully this one will be more affordable to the common folk.

  2. I listened to this interview when it was on Chicago Public Radio. It was really nice– put me in a good mood! However, it was sad to hear her talk about Stu and how she eventually decided to stop doing her own photography. She seems like such an interesting lady, and she’s obviously talented. I wish she would use her skills more now.

  3. i think it’s too late.

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