Top Ten Club, Hamburg

Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Top Ten Club, Hamburg, photo courtesy of K&K Hamburg

Apart from the Star Club, the Top Ten Club on the Reeperbahn in St. Pauli was arguably the most important rock music venue in Hamburg during the 1960s.

Opened in 1960 by Peter Eckhorn and operated by Iain Hines, the Top Ten Club was where The Beatles played and also backed singer Tony Sheridan in the group’s first recording sessions during early-mid 1961.

Throughout the 1960s, the Top Ten Club played host to a huge number of British bands, some of which featured future stars such as Elton John, Ritchie Blackmore (later in Deep Purple) and Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder (later in The Moody Blues).

Initially, there was only one band each month but from the mid-1960s onwards, there would be several groups sharing the bill each month. Singer Isabella Bond was a regular fixture and saxophone player Ricky Barnes helped run the club during the mid-late 1960s.

I have started to compile a list of bands that played at the Top Ten Club during this period but would welcome any additions and corrections in the comments below.

October 1960:

The Beatles: John Lennon (rhythm guitar/lead vocals), Paul McCartney (rhythm guitar/lead vocals); George Harrison (lead guitar/lead vocals), Stuart Sutcliffe (bass/lead vocals) and Pete Best (drums).

1961?:

The Jets: Iain Hines (keyboards), Colin Meander (lead guitar), Tony Sheridan (rhythm guitar), Rick Hardy (guitar), Peter Wharton (bass) and others.

27 March-2 July 1961:

The Beatles: John Lennon (rhythm guitar/lead vocals), Paul McCartney (rhythm guitar/lead vocals); George Harrison (lead guitar/lead vocals), Stuart Sutcliffe (bass/lead vocals) and Pete Best (drums).

1 November 1961-January 1962:

Wayne Gibson & The Dynamic Sounds: Wayne Gibson (lead vocals), Mick Todman (lead guitar), Ray Rogers (bass), Pete Gillies (rhythm guitar) and Larry Cole (drums).

 

March 1963:

The Blackjacks: Pat Harris (lead vocals), Don Callard (lead guitar), Robbie Williams (rhythm guitar/vocals), Bob Wilkinson (bass) and Pete James (drums).

August 1964:

The Mastersounds: Mal Jefferson (lead vocals/bass), Adrian Lord (lead vocals), Tony Cockayne (lead guitar), Gerry Stewart (tenor sax), Mike Price (drums) and others.

February 1965:

The Krew, Paddy, Klaus & Gibson, London Beats (plus Isabelle Bond and Beryl Marsden)

The Krew: Robert Fielden-Nicholls (lead guitar), Howie Casey (tenor saxophone), John Bradley (bass) and Eddie Sparrow (drums).

Paddy, Klaus and Gibson: Paddy Chambers (lead guitar), Klaus Voorman (bass) and Gibson Kemp (drums).

The London Beats: Frank Bennett (rhythm guitar/lead vocals), Mick Tucker (lead guitar/lead vocals), Sam Coaffee (bass) and Jim Smith (drums)

??? 1965:

Next of Kin: Frankie Allan (lead vocals), Dai Johns (lead guitar), Mike Ashman (rhythm guitar), Robert Evans (bass) and Alan Snell (drums).

March 1966:

Frank Sheen Sound: Frank Sheen (lead vocals), T J Huggett (keyboards), John Cushen (bass), John Herridge (drums) and Jeff Condon (trumpet) plus others.

March 1966:

Bluesology and Linda Laine & The Sinners

Bluesology: Stewart Brown (lead guitar/lead vocals), Reg Dwight (aka Elton John) (keyboards/lead vocals), Rex Bishop (bass) and Mick Inkpen (drums).

Linda Laine & The Sinners: Linda Laine aka Veronica Lake (lead vocals), Del Hidden (lead guitar), Peter Bellotte (rhythm guitar), Russ Maxwell (bass) and Len Crawley (drums).

April 1967:

The Copycats: John Stewart (lead guitar), Iain Lyon (rhythm guitar/vocals), Billy Cameron (bass/vocals) and Rob Lawson (drums/vocals).

July/August 1967:

Bluesology and Manchester’s Playboys

Bluesology: Alan Walker (lead vocals), Stewart Brown (lead guitar/vocals), Reg Dwight (aka Elton John) (keyboards/lead vocals), Caleb Quaye (guitar), Marc Charig (cornet), Fred Gandy (bass) and Pete Gavin (drums) (not sure this is the correct formation)

Manchester’s Playboys: Kerry Burke (lead vocals), Stuart Fahey (lead guitar/Trumpet), Graham Sclater (keyboards), Alan Watkinson (bass), Malcolm Tagg-Randall (saxophone) and Peter Simensky (drums).

Circa September 1967:

The Berkley Squares: Barry Wade (lead vocals), Ray Martinez (lead guitar/vocals), Dave Eldredge (keyboards/vocals), Leigh Catterall (bass/vocals) and Terry Abbs (drums).

December 1967:

Floribunda Rose: John Kongos (rhythm guitar/lead vocals), Chris Demetriou (keyboards/vocals), Pete Clifford (lead guitar/vocals), Jack Russell (bass/vocals) and Nick Dokter (drums).

March 1968:

Scrugg (possibly billed as Floribunda Rose) and Manchester’s Playboys

Scrugg (two weeks from 1 March): John Kongos (lead guitar/lead vocals), Chris Demetriou (keyboards/vocals), Jack Russell (bass/vocals) and Henry Spinetti (drums).

Manchester’s Playboys: Kerry Burke (lead vocals), Stuart Fahey (lead guitar/Trumpet), Graham Sclater (keyboards), Alan Watkinson (bass), Malcolm Tagg-Randall (saxophone) and Peter Simensky (drums).

Thanks to the following for contributing to the timeline: Mick Tucker, Jim Smith, Frank Bennett, Graham Sclater, Jack Russell, Nick Dokter, Len Crawley

28 thoughts on “Top Ten Club, Hamburg”

  1. I was out in hamburg in 1963 with my band the blackjacks in the top10club it was a wonderful experience ,I am still gigging .but I always look back and think of the time I spent out there.went on later to record the hippy hippy shake, and the hilly gully in German.

  2. December 1966 31 nights The Surfboard ,Lead Vocals Bryan Jeffrey (myself) bass Edd Dunbar lead Guitar Pongo Wareing piano Nick Partridge
    drums Dave Whittaker (the line up at that time) we doubled with another band who had two girl singer\dancers , name ?? we were on and off in Germany\Switzerland for about two years very hard work at times some good and bad memories of one of many hard working Groups at that time Other clubs The Funny The Apple Big Star Palace(Kiel\ Lunerberg K25 Colne some more but running out of space (still singing on the toilet )

    1. Hi Bryan,

      Came across a YouTube video (I put the link below) with two german go go girls dancing along with a band, and then being interviewed by a Swiss television channel. Would you have any idea who the girls were, or any information about them? Anything would help, thanks!

      https://youtu.be/ZsSF6x6eYfo

  3. Please correct the spelling of Sam Coaffee’s last name. It’s Coaffee with two Fs. No wonder he changed his stage name! Thanks, A

  4. Had to put my mistakes right the clubs where The Funny Crow and The Big Apple the Star Palace in Lunerberg (with Tony Sheraton)K52 in Colne The Drifters did a couple of nights when we were there lots more like Kiel and places i can,t spell Places in Switzerland (one was the Palace Hotel in Luzern)excuse spelling Zurick was another place where we did some nights with a Swiz band called the Sevens lots more if i can just recall them all a couple of years of hard work and of course memories

  5. Great times at Top Ten…
    I later formed my own band,..The Jets mark two…Icarus.
    Took first garage band to Lebanon…Romania…..Iran….they loved us…lol..
    I later recorded Yellow Balloon…The Devil Rides Out which was played in cinemas prior to the movie…
    Then I augmented the band and did an album which is still available…The Marvel World of Icarus…writing most of tracks…one with Stan Lee…check it out on YouTube…full album.
    Ask Pat Harris to email..great website BTW..☺

  6. Played in Top Ten Club with The Meteors for 6 weeks
    Nov. 1963 along with The Moody Blues
    We played for 1 hour and Moodies played for 1 hour
    till club closed.
    We also recorded a record in Polydor called
    Get a load of this/Ruby Ann
    I was lead guitarist and am now 74 years old.

    1. Hello Andy, great to read about the Meteors as I’m having the record and really love it but never found any information about the Group. I still do not know where they came from and who was in it. Would you please help me ? My e-Mail is : the.vi-king@arcor.de
      Would be great to hear from you. Thanks a lot and best regards – Manfred Kuhlmann

  7. Peter Vernon-Kell who played guitar with Hamilton and The Hamilton Movement in 1965-1966 told me that his previous band, The Macabre played at the Top Ten in Hamburg (most likely in ’64 or early-to-mid ’65).

    The group also included guitarist Ed Hamilton and bass player Alan Oates.

  8. I played in the top ten club many times in the late sixties with THE SUMMERSET it was an experiance I will never forget the Line up of the band was Les Humpries keyboards ( later with The Les Humphries singers )
    Mick Jarvis lead guitar , David Brien bass player , Bernard (rocky) Browne
    drums , Allen Spriggs vocals . we also played in the Star Club & the Crazy Horse Sallon , in Hamburg. We gigged all over Germany Berlin , Kiel , Kitzigan , to name a few also in Belgium , Holland , France , Spain , Italy and Denmark , Loved every minute of it and wish I could do it all over again.

  9. Hello Ian, when your brother Fraser came to Hamburg in the 60 l was the drummer in the league of gentleman, do you remember it l was also in your band Icarus do you remember the honda motorbike great time .my name is Ray Steadman l love to hear from you

  10. My band ‘The Quandowns’ from Sunderland played The Top Ten Club in February 1967. Ricky Barnes came to see us play at The Funny Crow in Grindelberg where we were playing the previous month. I think he had a drop out. We got the gig and played with an Irish Showband whose name I cannot remember but they were great fun and completely mad! It was during this month that Jimi Hendrix played a one nighter at The Star Club and we were lucky enough to be able to see their show. They came into the Top Ten for a drink and we joined Jimi, Mitch, Noel, Chas Chandler and Chris Barber whom they had met on The Reeperbahn. Exciting days and despite the long hours, we loved every minute.

  11. The Decadent Streak who evolved into The Flies played during first half of 1966.

    Line up:

    Robin Hunt – drums and vocals
    George Hayward – guitar
    Chris Manders – guitar
    Ian Baldwin – bass
    Johnny Da Costa – organ

  12. According to Ian Baldwin’s blog from 2008, The Decadent Streak played at the Top Ten Club in May 1966 with a West Indian R&B band called Rudy Jay & The Jaymen

  13. it was a great time I played there with the Ivys who later became the ivy league a great platform for young bands …hard work every night 4 or five sets a night good food stayed upstairs with the loft spent time wits isabelle bond who was a fantastic host

  14. August 1970. CATS EYES. Fil Filby (Lead vocals/Rhythm guitar), Dave Busby (Lead guitar/Vocals), Roy Banks (Bass guitar/vocals) Doug Alcock (Drums/vocals), Roger Banning (Saxophone/Flute).

    1. I found some old pictures of ten years after when they where the mansfields before the star club top ten …i spent some good times with Peter ekorn and isabelle bond at the top ten they where good years ..where is isabelle now ? she was a great girl fun to be with and a great voice ….

  15. I was playing at the star club with Birmingham band New Street before they / we went to Berlin. In 1969 I spent several weeks at the TOP TEN with The Pieces of Mind, I was taking the keyboards over from Dave Kubinec,the band was Phil Edwards drums Vic Johnson Guitar, Bruno Sampson Bass and Adrian Williams Vocals.It was a great scene both the Star Club and Top Ten.After I finished with the Pieces in Hamburg, I travelled with New Street to Berlin (Liverpool Hoop Club ) and another long term gig, and we went on to Switzerland.
    On return to UK the phone rang and it was the Pieces and I joined them for a tour in South of France.They are still playing to this date (2017) and I caught up with them in South Wales last year.They have a book on the bands history available from Amazon along with a new CD.Just like the old days of 50 years ago.
    I went on to play from San Francisco to Norway and down to Australia but those days in Germany were the best

  16. Hi, While preparing a radio show about the detah of Ray Thomas (formerly of the Moody Blues) I noticed that he states in an intervoiew that his band The Krew Cats played the Top Ten Club. This would probably have been in October or November 1963. The text goes as follows: ““We played the Top Ten Club in 1963,” says Thomas. “Hamburg was an education,” says Pinder. “But we weren’t getting paid, and at the end Ray and I were broke. We didn’t have a pot to piss in!” They ended up at the British Embassy, where they asked for enough money to get themselves home. Pinder laughs about it now. “It was just part of our musical journey.”

    1. I remember Mike and Ray well…I had played with Mike on piano, with him on organ with Jackie Lynton a few times…they both came into Top Ten stranded, as a band they were in had split up, so I persuaded Peter Eckhorn to let them play with house band a few nights…after which they had to return to UK…lycky fir them considering their next career phase…the Moodies.
      RIP Ray, and take care Mike.

  17. Iam a personal friend of pat harries and Peter James of the Blackjacks having joined the band in 1965.Peter and were talking recently and wondered if Ian hines knew the whereabouts of a drummer there at the club the same time as Peter James\jimmy Doyle nicknamed Seamus and mascots guitarist named Ronny would love any information

    1. Iam a personal friend of pat harries and Peter James of the Blackjacks having joined the band in 1965.Peter and were talking recently and wondered if Ian hines knew the whereabouts of a drummer there at the club the same time as Peter James\jimmy Doyle nicknamed Seamus and mascots guitarist named Ronny would love any information

  18. Very interesting to read the various accounts and experiences of musicians who were lucky enough to have played the Top Ten Club in Hamburg.

    I was the drummer with The Berkley Squares who played the venue in September 1967, and have many great memories of my time with the band in Germany who played Marburg, Star Pallast Luneburg/Kiel and on to the TTC.
    As I recall on our last night at the club we came off stage and handed over to the Summer Set for their last set leaving us to finish the final set, so I left the club to pack my stuff at the Park Hotel ready to leave early, only to have fallen asleep sitting upright and missed the last set completely! Rocky Browne drummer with the Summer Set sat in for me and winged it as a true pro’. My thanks and best to him again. Ricky Barnes was a very understanding guy! The same night I was offered a place with the Tony Sheridan band for a tour in Vietnam entertaining U.S. Forces during the conflict, but decided against it … right decision for me as I understand it didn’t end well.

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