Paul shares “missing” Indra Club photo

From “The Lyrics”: Paul’s copy of this photo. The fledgling Beatles in the bar area of the Indra Club, August 17, 1960.

Long time followers of our blog have seen this photo many times, as we have been forever in search for a good copy of a complete version of it. Taken as one of a series of photos as The Beatles started their career as professional musicians at The Indra Club in Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg, Germany on August 17, 1960, the best quality copy of this photo was presented in a cropped version of it for decades. It looked like this:

Cropped copy, leaving Pete Best and Stuart Sutclffe out of the picture.

We don’t know why, but the trio of John, Paul and George are the people who went to worldwide fame 3-4 years later, so perhaps someone thought the other two weren’t that interesting and scissored them out of the picture. And it stuck. What happened next was that in his straight-to-dvd-documentary “Best of The Beatles”, Pete Best revealed that he and Stu also belonged in this photo, by showing a partially covered version of it. Over at Chazz Avery’s excellent site “Beatlesource: The Savage Young Beatles“, he pieced together a screen shot from Pete’s video with the existing photo and came up with this:

Restoration by adding one of the missing pieces from a screen dump.

After that, we launched a mission here on our blog: a quest for the full photo. And it was our reader Guus Limberger who happened upon a true, uncropped version of the photo, which had been found in an old auction catalogue, scanned and presented on the now defunct tumblir photo blog, The Gilly. Unfortunately, the catalogue had printed the photo very small:

The full image, but small and rasterized.

As colourising old photos has been a pastime for many, this photo has also been subject to that. I believe we may have started that trend, by colourising another Indra photo back in 2009. This photo usually appeared in the wrong colours, where the colouring artist has just guessed which colour the jackets were, instead of researching the matter. This was addressed and remedied in Thorsten Knublauch’s book in 2021, “Mach Schau in Hamburg“, where Hubert Voorman gave the Beatles their true – or truer, colours.

The full image as it appear colourised for Thorsten Knublauch’s book, “The Beatles Mach Schau in Hamburg” from Apcor Publishing.

Even this version of the photo is a recreated one, piecing it together from our previously mentioned sources.

In 2020, on what would have been Stuart Sutcliffe’s 80th birthday, Paul McCartney posted one of the Indra Club photos of the band in a far better quality than it has ever been presented, which lit our hopes that perhaps he also has the other photos from that day. And now, finally, his new book, “The Lyrics” are presenting us for a complete original. Paul’s original – like his recently published Paris photo – have the marks of having been pinned to a wall at one point. It seems, these photos were printed at the time – 1960 – with a yellow hue. Here is a version we made in black and white, and with a few of the blemishes fixed.

Since it comes scanned from a printed photo in a book – the quality is not as good as the Indra photo Paul posted online last year.


The photo was exhibited at The British Library in London from the fifth of November, 2021.


7 Responses

  1. Darrel Hendrie says:

    Interesting that pete is not wearing a matching jacket

  2. Thorsten says:

    I dont have the book myself and I hope someone would send me a high res scan of it. The “Gilly” scan and the one in the lyrics book are the same (they have the same marks). This and all those Indra (and some Harald & Lore) photos were auctioned at Sothebys in 1984 formely of the collection of Dot Rhone, Pauls then girlfriend, that she got from Hamburg sent by Paul. In my book I suggested in my book at that those photos were ordered privately from many of the Beatles from the stills’ photographer at the time. Now it is clear that it was Paul who bought the photos back in 1984 and we could be happy that he shared them all after nearly 40 years in his recent book. Apart from the solo Pete photo all other four prints now are available in decent quality.

  3. Keith Bratley says:

    I was born that day.

  4. Peter says:

    Just after they played Thursdays at our little town Neston,

  5. Rick says:

    They all looked so young back then. What a great photo

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