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From the Cavern to the Palladium

Beatle Style, Hello Brian, Enter Ringo, The First Singles

After their return to Liverpool from Hamburg in December 1960, the Beatles found that their playing had improved, and that people had actually started to notice them: “We discovered we were quite famous,” said John. “It was when we began to think for the first time that we were good. Up to Hamburg we thought we were okay, but not good enough.” In Hamburg, their contract had indicated that they needed to play from 7:00 PM until 2:00 AM, except Saturdays when they would play until 3:00. The grueling hours only seemed to make them a tougher and tighter band. George described the long Hamburg shows as the Beatles' apprenticeship, the place where they truly became musicians: “We had to learn millions of songs. We had to play so long we just played everything … We'd get a Chuck Berry record, and learn it all, same with Little Richard, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino—everything.” And perhaps most interesting of all, the Beatles would also make up songs of their own, to help pass those long hours onstage.

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Musician BiographiesThe Beatles