Hempel's Beatles Tour
From: Hamburg, Germany
The Beatles may be from Liverpool, but they're Hamburg's most famous band. From the summer of 1960 until December, 1962, the group performed regularly at a series of clubs in Hamburg's St. Pauli quarter, which had a thriving music scene amid the strip clubs and brothels of the Reeperbahn and neighboring streets.
In 2009, The Times announced that "Hamburg rebrands itself as Beatles City." The intersection of Grosse Freiheit Strasse and the Reeperbahn was renamed "Beatles Platz," a Beatles monument was erected, and a Beatlemania museum (now defunct) opened with five floors of exhibits about the Fab Four.
Still, all of those attractions are Johann-come-latelys in comparison to Hempel's Beatles-Tour, which singer-songwriter Stefanie Hempel has offered since 2004.
Stefanie Hempel's walking tour takes you to the most important Beatles sites in the area around Grosse Freiheit and the Reeperbahn, including clubs such as the Indra Club and the Kaiserkeller and the site of the Star Club (which burned down in 1987).
Ms. Hempel describes places where the band lived (e.g., behind the screen of a movie theatre) and their busy performance schedule (five or six sets per night, seven days a week).
Along the way, Stefanie Hempel sings Beatles songs--in public, on the sidewalk--to the accompaniment of her trademark ukelele.
If you're interested in Beatles history, the tour is indispensable, but it's great fun even if you aren't a diehard Beatles fan.
Hempel's Beatles-Tour is normally offered on Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. (and possibly on other days, depending on the season, public demand, and the singer-songerwriter's performance schedule).
For more information, including an inquiry form, visit the Hempel's Beatles-Tour Web site.
Our tour began on the Grosse Freiheit, Hamburg's most famous pop-music street.
More than 50 years after the Beatles played at clubs on the Grosse Freiheit and Reeperbahn, the area is still popular with local and visiting music fans. (It's also safer than most tourists think.)
In this photo, Stefanie Hempel sings in front of a plaque that honors the Star Club, a former Beatles venue that was destroyed by fire in 1987.
Here's the plaque minus Stefanie.
After visits to many Beatles sites, with plenty of historical anecdotes and songs, our tour ended at the Beatles monument in Beatles Platz.
The diehard Beatles fans in our group couldn't resist posting in cookie-cutter statues of the famous Liverpudlians.
This short video contains short excerpts from Stefanie Hempel's Beatles-Tour in Hamburg, Germany. The video clips were taken on the street in St. Pauli's Reeperbahn quarter.
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