John, Paul, George & Ringo Make a Record – October 1960

When John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr first appeared on a record – in October 1960

Summertime, recorded by Lu Walters and The Beatles
"Summertime" - Record made by Lou Walters, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in Hamburg
“Summertime” – Record made by Lou Walters, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in Hamburg

Wally Eymond, whose stage name was Lu Walters, was the bass player and second vocalist from Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. Walters was an accomplished ballad singer with the group and the opportunity to commit his voice to record was too tempting to resist.

The Klockmann House Building
The Klockmann House Building

During his band’s eight-week residency at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg, Allan Williams arranged a recording session for Saturday 15 October 1960 at the Akustik Studio, which was a small booth on the fifth floor of 57, Kirchenalle (The Klockmann-House). Williams asked John, Paul and George from The Beatles to play and sing harmonies for Walters on the recording.

Pete Best was in town supposedly buying drumsticks, so Ringo played drums, which was the first time John, Paul, George and Ringo played and recorded together. There are conflicting reports as to which songs were recorded and these may never be resolved as the documentation and the original discs have long since vanished. Beatles historian and author Hans Olof Gottfridson has studied the evidence for that day.

Entrance to the Klockmann House where the Akustik Studio was based
Entrance to the Klockmann House where the Akustik Studio was based

In a 1963 edition of Mersey Beat, it is claimed that three separate acetates with the individual songs “Fever”, “September Song” and “Summertime” were recorded. Gottfridson concluded that “Fever” was probably recorded at the session, but there is no evidence that it made it onto disc. However, there is a photograph in Allan Williams’ book, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, which shows a 78 rpm record with the words “Beatles and Wally Demo” and “Summertime” across the label. In Mersey Beat, both Lu Walters and Johnny “Guitar” Byrne from the Hurricanes supported the claim that “September Song” was also recorded.

Bill Harry, writing in Mersey Beat, recalled that, to his knowledge, John, Paul and George only backed Lu on “Summertime”, whereas Johnny “Guitar” Byrne and fellow Hurricane members Ty O’Brien and Ringo Starr backed Lu on “September Song” and “Fever”.

“The B-side of the acetate contained no music,” observed Gottfridson. “Instead, it comprised commercials for goods sold by the Klockmann Company who had a leather bag store in the bottom floor of the building.”

Investigating these early recordings often means relying on the memories of men who were swept up in the craziest times of their young lives. They had neither the time nor the desire to maintain extensive diary notes for the benefit of inquisitive fans over fifty years later. Johnny “Guitar”, who kept a brief day-to-day diary, simply recorded on 14 October 1960: ‘Wally and Beatles going to make a test recording tomorrow.’ At least this confirms the date of the recording. Sadly, Byrne’s diary entries cease on that day until the end of December 1960.

Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
Rory Storm and the Hurricanes – Ringo on drums and Lu Walters (second from right)

In March 1962, Lu left Rory Storm to join Derry and The Seniors, but by September of that year, he had rejoined the group when the Seniors split up. His time with the Hurricanes lasted until February 1965 when he finally quit the group for good to concentrate on his career as a psychiatric nurse.

Wally (Lu) still lives in the Merseyside area and is a frequent visitor at local rock ‘n’ roll nights.

So, for the first time, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr appeared on record for the first time. If only we still had the record!

Find this story and more in “The Fab One Hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”

Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles
Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles
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Author: David Bedford

David Bedford grew up in The Dingle, attended the primary school that Ringo Starr did, before moving to Penny Lane, where his three daughters attended Dovedale Primary School, where John Lennon and George Harrison had previously attended.His first book, "Liddypool" was published in 2009, now in its third edition. His second book, "The Fab one hundred and Four" was published in 2013, and his third book, "Finding the Fourth Beatle" was published in 2018. He was also the Associate Producer and Beatles historian for the documentary feature film, "Looking for Lennon".He is working on several other projects at the moment,

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