It was 61 years ago tonight (August 17th, 1960) that the Beatles began their first stint in Hamburg, Germany's Indra Club. At that time the group consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison — all on guitars — along with Lennon's art college buddy Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and drummer Pete Best, who had joined the group only five days earlier.
During their initial 48-date booking, each band member received less than four dollars a day, and was contracted to play four-and-a-half hours every weekday night — between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., and for six hours a night on Saturday and Sundays. Their Saturday shift ran between 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., with Sunday's set starting at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 1:30 a.m. The band lived in squalor, rent-free, in the back of the Bambi-Filmkusttheater, a movie theater owned by the Indra's proprietor and the Beatles' employer, Bruno Koschmider.
It was while performing in Hamburg that the group, who were barely professional upon arrival, grew into a tight rock n' roll ensemble by sometimes playing as much as eight hours a night.