Friday, January 24, 2014

The Beatles - Star Club (Live) (Purple Chick) (2 Discs)

More Purple Chick Beatles stuff, in the lead-up to the fiftieth anniversary next month of the beginning of the British Invasion. I was debating with myself whether to post either this one or the Strong Before Our Birth set, and decided in the end to go with this one. Neither of the two has the greatest sound quality, but I think that in terms of familiar songs and better performances, Star Club is superior.

The Beatles' final two Hamburg residencies occurred in the late fall and early winter of 1962, their first with new drummer Ringo Starr (who had replaced Pete Best that August). The group wasn't thrilled about going back to Germany for these gigs, especially the last one in late December - by then, their star and popularity was one the rise in Britain. Their first UK single, "Love Me Do", had been released that fall and was climbing the charts, eventually reaching #17. Basically, they felt that they had outgrown Hamburg. However, the gigs had been booked months in advance, and as such they were obligated to return.

Ted "Kingsize" Taylor, leader of Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes (pictured), another British band in residency at the time in Hamburg, was the original source for these recordings. After claiming that he received the Beatles' (specifically John Lennon's) permission (allegedly in exchange for buying beer for the band during their performances), Taylor arranged for the Star Club's stage manager, Adrian Barber, to record the performances on an old reel-to-reel recorder he rented, with all of the songs fed into the machine through a single mike set up in front of the stage. These recording sessions took place during several periods between Christmas and New Year's Eve, 1962 - no one is quite certain how many individual gigs made it onto the tape.

Barber captured 33 separate tracks played by The Beatles during these sessions (some more than once), along with five additional tracks played by the group's supporting bands, the aforementioned Kingsize Taylor & The Dominoes and Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers. All but two of the Beatles songs ("Ask Me Why" and "I Saw Her Standing There") were covers. As befitting a single-mike, reel-to-reel live recording, the sound quality of Star Time isn't of the highest fidelity; at times, it's difficult to make out the vocals, or even to identify exactly which band member is singing. But the performances themselves are rollicking, raw and loose, quite possibly the last time The Beatles played with this sort of abandon. As such, this set is a good counterpoint to some of the later Beatles live recordings (such as the Before America set I posted here earlier), to see how much they matured musically in their early career.

Kingsize Taylor held on to these tapes after The Beatles made it big, and in the mid-60s he tried to sell them to Beatles manager Brian Epstein, but due to their relatively poor quality Epstein wasn't interested. Taylor then forgot about them until the early '70s, when he made a go at prepping these songs for eventual release. As the story goes, he gave the tapes to a recording engineer, who did nothing with them and who later abandoned his office, leaving a lot of his items behind - including the reels, which Taylor and his friends rescued from a trash pile.

Taylor finally found a purchaser for the tapes, and after an unsuccessful attempt by The Beatles to block it, the first commercial release of these sessions was put out by Lingasong Records in 1977. Over the next two decades, various versions of the Star Club tapes, edited and unedited, licensed and bootleg, and with varying track sequencing, were released by several sources. When Sony Music released their version in 1991, The Beatles began taking legal action again. The case was finally decided in the band's favor in 1998, with the judge determining that Taylor's story about Lennon granting him permission to record them back in 1962 was complete hogwash; to quote George Harrison, "One drunken person recording another bunch of drunks does not constitute a business deal." The Beatles were granted exclusive rights and ownership of the tapes . . .

. . . that is, until Purple Chick got hold of them.

Here's the track lineup:

Disc 1 (all songs by The Beatles unless otherwise noted):
25 December 1962:

1: Be-Bop A-Lula (vocal: Fred Fascher)
2: I Saw Her Standing There
3: Hallelujah I Love Her So (vocal: Horst Fascher)
4: Red Hot
5: Sheila
6: Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey
7: Shimmy Like Kate
8: Reminiscing
9: Red Sails In The Sunset
10: Sweet Little Sixteen
11: Roll Over Beethoven
12: A Taste Of Honey
13: Ask Me Why
14: Long Tall Sally
15: Besame Mucho
16: I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
17: Twist And Shout
18: Mr. Moonlight
19: Falling In Love Again
20: I’m Talking About You
21: I Remember You
Disc 2 (all songs by The Beatles unless otherwise noted):
28 December 1962:

1: Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees)
2: I Saw Her Standing There
3: To Know Her Is To Love Her
4: Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby
5: Till There Was You
6: Where Have You Been All My Life?
7: Lend Me Your Comb
8: Your Feet’s Too Big
9: I’m Talking About You
10: A Taste Of Honey
11: Matchbox
12: Little Queenie
13: Roll Over Beethoven

31 December 1962:

14: Road Runner
15: Hippy Hippy Shake
16: A Taste Of Honey
17: Money (vocal: Bobby Thompson)

Bonus tracks - 31 December 1962:

17: Sparkling Brown Eyes (Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes)
18: Lovesick Blues (Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes)
19: First Taste Of Love (Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes)
20: Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes)
21: Hully Gully (Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers)
Enjoy The Beatles' Star Club, all tracks edited and cleaned up to the highest possible quality by the good folks at Purple Chick and released in 2008. The sound isn't perfect, but these sounds should be appreciated more for their historical importance than for their fidelity. Whichever way you decide to approach these discs, have a listen, and as always let me know what you think.

Please use the email link below to contact me, and I will reply with the download link ASAP: 

Send Email


  1. Thanks yet again Mr. Heckhole! It is awesome that you offered this download - plus all 11 Live At The BBC discs (Disc 11 - 8 hours of stuff! Wow). It's all super cool for a big Beatles fan!

  2. The Beatles - Star Club (Live) is fantastic! Thanks for the share!

  3. Wonderful to hear this early live Beatles. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is a superb site run by a great guy!

  5. Thanks for the link. I REALLY enjoyed listening to the Star Club recordings in (probably) the most complete form available. Sad that you can't legally buy stuff this good. You made my day!!!

  6. Thanx so much for STAR CLUB. Very enjoyable. An important Fabs document. Great to add to my collection.

  7. Many thanks for uploading this. Been wanting to hear it for years. Now another legal release seems unlikely

    1. That's the sort of stuff I like to hear - that I provided someone here something they've been searching for for years! Enjoy, and I hope you find more music here that you like.

  8. Thank you for making these recordings available!

  9. Wonderful stuff, and this sound is much better than the other copies I've purchased over the years.

  10. Thanks so much for the recordings!

  11. really, so many thanks to you. :)

  12. Thank you for these, they're a great opportunity to hear a great working live band on the cusp of something much bigger.

  13. Deadhead666 says this is the only live links for any performance from the Star Club. Went through many Google pages.


  14. Thank you so much Pee-Pee Soaked Heckhole for your link to the Strong Before Our Birth set and helping me to get off the ground with experiencing these wonderful historical recordings that I was struggling to find. Stumbling over your site is like digging up buried treasure. I am also new to downloads and music files, but clicking in I found your presentation set-up very user friendly. Thanks again and regards.

    1. Dear Mr. Lewis -

      Thank you for your comment! Ha - "buried treasure" - I like that! Happy to help out; let me know what else you're seeking, and I'll do my best to oblige. Welcome to the site!

  15. Thanks also for the link to the The Beatles' Star Club. I was very taken with the cover of Chuck Berry's Little Queenie. Compared with The Rolling Stones live 1969 Madison Square Garden version, if you do like a CPI adjustment from 1962 I reckon that The Beatles' version is even ballsier!

  16. Amazing stuff--thank you PPSHH!!

  17. Thank you so much Pee-Pee Soaked Heckhole for the links

  18. Thanks! Been searching for these a long time. :)

  19. very much appreciated, thanks.

  20. This is great. There's a bunch of these tracks I hadn't heard before. Thanks for your blog, and thanks for sharing!

  21. Listening to this exquisite piece of musical history now. What a gem...thanks for sharing!

  22. Thank you again. It's great ( for me at least ) to discover these old songs...

  23. Best version of the Star Club tapes I've come across so far. THANK YOU!

  24. Thanks for the quick turnaround and your generosity. Looking forward!

  25. Best -- the only one with the "bonus" tracks to compare with The Beatles performance.

  26. Like a kid in a candy store..lovin' these rarities. Easy to request, quick response. Thanks for offering these gems.

  27. Great vintage sounds - thanks

  28. Thank you for the quick response to my request for the link to the The Beatles' Star Club. Raw stuff and not for the faint of heart! Essential listening for anyone interested in the early days of the Beatles.

  29. Thanks so much for providing this material....remember saving like mad to buy the double album vinyl german import back in the 70's....still have it..!!!...thanks once again. ..

  30. Very nice! Thank you so much for your passion and dedication. I enjoy your site and will be back!

  31. Thank you for all the time devoted to our beloved Beatles!!!

  32. Thanks a lot for this set and disc 11 of the BBC complete....
    I had the 1977 version of the star club concerts and cannot believe how much better sounding this is....unbelievable stuff
    You are truly a star with your hard work
    Thanks again and keep up the good work

  33. The Star Club recordings are a fantastic window into the Beatles and the music scene of the time. It's amazing to hear the (relatively) unpolished performances of the boys, as it is often written that the public never knew the 'real' band. Recordings and sites such as this help link us to the past, so keep up the good work!

    On a personal note, this recording led me to Arthur Alexander. Love that guy, even to the point of using one of his songs as the first dance at my wedding. So thank you again!