The origin of The Beatles' mop-top
It's not for certain that photographer Astrid Kirchherr is responsible for the famous Beatles' mop-top, but this graphic novel provides a sweet glimpse into the time John, Paul, George, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe spent in Hamburg in the early 60s and how they all had the famous hair after their second tour there. It was Stuart who first debuted the haircut according to this version of events, after meeting Kirchherr's friend Klaus Voorman. What is for certain is that the Germans that were hanging out with The Beatles at this time were super chic, wearing unisex clothing, black turtlenecks, slim black pants and smoking constantly. The crowd was arty, existentialist and very French, even though they were in Germany.
I knew nothing of Stuart Sutcliffe before reading this book. He was John Lennon's art school roommate and took up the bass as a favor to John. The guys wanted to travel a bit and see the world and Stu came along, but never really considered himself a musician. Kirchherr and Sutcliffe had an instant connection that developed into a serious romance after she photographed the band. They moved in together and Astrid updated Stuart's clothes and gave him a new haircut. Stuart enrolled in a master class at The Hamburg College of Art and around that time began experiencing severe headaches. The other band mates were having work permit troubles and went back to England to try and sort things out. On the eve of the band's return to Hamburg for their second tour, they discovered that Stu had died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Arne Bellstorf perfectly captures the fresh, rosy cheeked young Beatles and their German friends bursting with style in his black and white illustrations. It must have been so exciting for music lovers to discover this young band, performing in the diviest of dives, eager to put on a great show. You really get a sense of how this was a time on the brink of something amazing. A unique slice of history is recreated here.