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Hamburg Days

Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann

Hamburg Days is a signed, two-volume set that presents The Beatles as seen through the photographs of Astrid Kirchherr and the art of Klaus Voormann. It is their memoir of the days they spent with The Beatles, 1960-63.

An array of newly-commissioned artworks and recollections – over 80,000 words and more than 250 photographs, watercolours, drawings and paintings – bring to life the years when Kirchherr, Voormann and the young Liverpool lads first met in Germany.

'It's really good to see Astrid's great photos, and Klaus's new paintings put together in one set of books – with all the usual care from Genesis.' – George Harrison from his Foreword

'Klaus was part of a group of The Beatles' friends in Hamburg. Now he has made some 'memory drawings' of our Hamburg days which are not only beautiful drawings in themselves, but which capture the spirit of the times. The really good thing about Klaus, his drawings, and this book, however, is that - unlike many other people – he was actually there!' – Paul McCartney from his Afterword

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The Photography

Hamburg Days

'The Beatles have been a big part of my life from the moment I first met them right up to now.' - Astrid Kirchherr

Alongside Klaus Voormann, photographer Astrid Kirchherr was a constant companion of The Beatles. Hamburg Days presents Kirchherr's complete collection of over 250 photographs. Many of her remarkable images are reproduced in hues of blue and sepia or in full-colour, while others remain in monochrome - all exquisitely printed in large format.

'Things were so different. If you can imagine them in the Top Ten club or the Kaiserkeller, sitting on the amplifiers, smoking, playing and drinking beer and joking with one another.... When The Beatles started playing, the music was already first-rate.' - Astrid Kirchherr

'To be as young as seventeen years old, away from home for the first time, and working nights in the clubs of Hamburg. This was quite a way to grow up. They definitely grew up in Hamburg.' - Klaus Voormann

'John said in an interview that Brian Epstein had persuaded them to put on suits, and that they didn't like it too much at first; but in truth they were well aware that it was a essential part of being successful, and playing bigger venues like the Star Club. They weren't shouting, 'Get this suit off me!' or 'I can't stand it!' I think they liked the suits; they'd had made them how they'd wanted.' - Astrid Kirchherr

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The Manuscript

Hamburg Days

'George was younger, the little one. He was very sweet, with his little tooth and the cocky songs he was singing. He was really cute, and was an essential part of the team. When all of them were harmonising together was incredible!' - Klaus Voormann

Hamburg Days is a two-volume boxed set. Volume 1 tells the story of The Beatles' years in Hamburg, through the previously unpublished memories of Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann. Covering life in war-torn Germany through to the arrival of The Beatles and their first years of fame, an 80,000-word manuscript is illustrated with Kirchherr's photographs of the young Beatles bandmates and Voormann's illustrations.

'When John sang I never got the impression that he put anything on, he just loved the songs. I don't think he posed himself on stage in a deliberate attempt to look sexy, or tough. Not John. He just loved the music and played it his way, and if he had to put the microphone in a particular position and take a certain stance, it was because he could sing best that way.' - Klaus Voormann

'When I think of all the pictures I did - when I look at them now - I can see a change. Nobody will ever see it but me, but it's about what those boys went through in a very short period. They went through such a personal change. Especially with the grief of Stuart's death.' - Astrid Kirchherr

'It was Hamburg that did it. That's where we really developed. To get the Germans going, and keep it up for twelve hours at a time, we would really have to hammer. We would never have developed as much if we'd stayed at home. We had to try anything that came into our heads in Hamburg. There was nobody to copy from. We played what we liked best and the Germans liked it as long as it was loud.' - John Lennon
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The Artwork

Hamburg Days

'Klaus has now made some 'memory drawings' of our Hamburg days which are not only beautiful drawings in themselves, but which capture the spirit of the times.' - Paul McCartney

In hundreds of original pencil sketches, watercolour paintings and pastel drawings, Hamburg Days Volume 1 is illustrated throughout with the artwork of Klaus Voormann. In addition, Hamburg Days Volume 2 is dedicated to a series of photo-realistic oil paintings specially commissioned by Genesis. Volume 2 reveals each stage of Klaus' design process. Starting with rough sketches of his memories, Klaus reconstructed scenes using actors and photography to create a visual reference for each finished painting.

'I can see it now, how Rory Storm would comb his hair non-stop for a whole hour. Ringo would be sat next to him and would mess around with a guitar for as long as Rory could comb hair. Whenever Rory asked Ringo, 'Do I look OK?' Ringo would look up, first at Rory then the mirror, and reply 'Yeah, great Rory, you're looking just great!' - Klaus Voormann

Complete with large fold-out pages, Klaus's oil paintings are exclusively reproduced in Hamburg Days Volume 2, with supporting sketches and artist commentary.
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The Authors

Hamburg Days

'I know for sure that if I hadn't have met The Beatles in 1960, my life would have been completely different.' - Astrid Kirchherr

'Astrid asked us if she could take some photographs of us and because we loved the idea that led to our first photo session, when she took us to the Hamburg Fairground. Astrid was totally responsible for that whole image.' - George Harrison from his Foreword

Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann both met The Beatles in Hamburg while they were performing a residency in the Kaiserkeller night club. They became close acquaintances, with Kirchherr taking some of the band's first photographs within days after their first meeting, and lifelong friendships were formed.

In Hamburg, Klaus Voormann began his music career by playing bass for The Beatles. He would later join the Plastic Ono band and play on solo albums for John, Paul, George and Ringo. Most know his graphic artwork through the classic album covers he created for Revolver and The Beatles Anthology.
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The Limited Edition

Hamburg Days

Introduced by George Harrison and Paul McCartney Hamburg Days is a two volume boxed set. Strictly limited to 2,500 numbered copies worldwide, each is co-signed by Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann.

Volume 1 - This 228-page volume presents Klaus Voormann and Astrid Kirchherr's story in more than 80,000 words, with drawings by Voormann and the complete collection of Kirchherr's Hamburg photographs. 

Volume 2 - The 72-page second volume presents, complete with large folding plates, reproductions of the Hamburg Days paintings with associated artwork and commentary.

Each copy of Hamburg Days is quarter bound in Italian cloth, with lithographed front and back covers. Master printed and image-varnished on 200gsm matt art paper, with trace paper leaves and coloured wraps, the twin volumes are housed in a lithographed solander box, complete with metal name plates. The boxed set's art direction was overseen by Klaus Voormann.

Hamburg Days

Select from the following editions:

Hamburg Days

Hamburg Days

  • ISBN:
    0904351734
  • Collector:
    2250 copies
  • Signed by:
    Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voormann
  • Contributors:
    George Harrison, Paul McCartney
  • Paper:
    200 gsm matt art paper, with trace-paper leaves and coloured wraps.
  • Binding:
    Quarter-bound in cloth with lithographed front and rear boards.
  • Box:
    A lithographed solander box, complete with metal name plate, houses both volumes.
Collector £345

A chronicle of The Beatles' residency in Hamburg, 1960-63. George Harrison introduces this co-signed, two-volume boxed set that celebrates The Beatles through the photographs of Astrid Kirchherr and the art of Klaus Voormann.

  • Page size: 342mm x 250mm
  • 300 pages
  • 80000 words
  • 250 images
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The story of your book

Since 1974 Genesis has created signed limited edition books on behalf of authors and artists ranging from the Beatles to Buckingham Palace.

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