The Beatles is one of the biggest bands of all time and we are all familiar with their classic hits such as “She Loves You,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
Today, it’s hard to imagine there was a time before the Fab Four were rich and famous. However, in 1960, the lads were still mediocre, unknown teen performers struggling to get gigs in their hometown of Liverpool. So when offered a residency at a small club in Hamburg’s red light district, they decided to try their luck.
Life for the mop tops in the German port city was wild and crazy, but far from glamorous. They slept in cramped, smelly storerooms and had to play for hours and hours on end for peanuts. The long and grueling sets gave the young Liverpudlians the experience and the professional skills they needed though. When returning home to England in 1962, the beginner musicians had transformed into accomplished soon-to-be pop stars—or as John Lennon once famously said: “I might have been born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg”
Beatles-Platz opened in 2008 and celebrates the fact that Hamburg was the Fab Four’s springboard to global stardom. The small square is shaped like a vinyl record with a diameter of 29 meters (95 feet). Famous Beatles song titles are engraved in the stonework and the place is adorned with life-sized, metal silhouettes (which almost look like giant cookie cutters) of the members.
The plaza is located at the crossroads of the Reeperbahn boulevard and the Grosse Freiheit side street in Hamburg’s seedy St. Pauli area—just a few steps from the venues where John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr once got their start.
Know Before You Go
The square is open 24/7, but the best time to go there is after dark when the whole area comes alive and the neon signs and the lights reflect in the Beatles monument.
Getting there by public transport: U-Bahn 3 to the St. Pauli station or S-Bahn 1, 2 and 3 to the Reeperbahn station.