Saturday, October 8, 2011

Meeting Jurgen in the Middle

October 8, 1961

Paul and John are in Paris where they run into Jurgen Vollmer, and are just taking it easy for a change.  It is hard to overestimate how important their German friends are the to the development of the Beatles.  While the music is central to the Beatles appeal, their lifestyle and personal charisma are just as important and those things are heavily influenced by the Germans and their continental outlook.

Why does it seem that everything that happens to the Beatles seems to be part of some preordained script?  They work their butts off, playing long stretches in Germany and schlepping equipment all over the Liverpool area, almost never missing a gig.  Honing and polishing the music and unifying the Beatles sound into an ever better and better live presentation.  And then something whispers to John, "It's time to sag off work for a couple of weeks and take in a bit of the good life in Paris."  (Interesting side note:  Cynthia Lennon says in her book "John" that he is beginning to wonder how long this music lark will last and what he will do when it's over.  You can't go on playing rock and roll to ballrooms full of teenagers when you're 30, can you?)

While he and Paul are in Paris, they must be taking in the fashions prevalent there which will later become part of their personnas (via Brian Epstein), fashions which are so out of step with their own cultural milieu of working class northern England.  Jurgen Vollmer, one of their very oldest German friends, is a very big influence.  There are lots of pictures taken by him here (including John's favorite of him standing in a Hamburg doorway).

This is a very important time for them, indeed.

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