It was 58 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.

Pete Best recalled the scene of the Beatles' opening night in Hamburg on August 17th, 1960 at the legendary Indra Club: "We got some crowd in -- but compared to the crowd that we built it up to before it closed, that happened very quickly. But on that opening night, I'd turn around and say it was a quiet night. But once word was out. . . once they'd actually seen us, people kept flocking in."

AUDIO: JOHN LENNON ON THE BEATLES AS PERFORMERS
AUDIO: MARK LEWISOHN ON THE BEATLES' FIRST NIGHT IN HAMBURG
AUDIO: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON THE HAMBURG BEATLES
AUDIO: PETE BEST ON STU SUTCLIFFE'S BASS PLAYING
AUDIO: CYNTHIA LENNON REMEMBERS STUART SUTCLIFFE
AUDIO: CYNTHIA LENNON ON JOHN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH STU SUTCLIFFE
AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY ON THE BEATLES LOSING TALENT CONTESTS
AUDIO: GEORGE HARRISON ON PRE-FAME BEATLES
AUDIO: PETE BEST ON FIRST GIG IN HAMBURG