The Birth of the Beatle Style: Astrid Kirchherr

Astrid and Stu
Astrid and Stu
Beatles 60-61
Beatles 60-61
George-no beatle cut
George-no beatle cut
John with Beatle cut
John with Beatle cut

One might call it fate, that all the signs in heaven had lined up finally for the Beatles. But, it was more like a combination of luck and the obnoxious loud rock music they played on one specific day in 1961. For it was on this otherwise unsuccessful day, two people had strayed into close proximity of The Beatles music.

Astrid Kircherr and Klaus Voorman were an item. They were in the Reeperbahn area and had a lover's quarrel. Mad, Klaus stormed off down the street, getting closer and closer to this rock music from the Kaiserkeller Club. He normally would never had gone into the "red-light" district. Yet, there he was entering the club and standing there watching the antics and energy of The Beatles. He had never seen such a undisciplined band, but he liked them- a lot. He ran back to Astrid, said he was sorry, and dragged her (she did resist) insisting she MUST see this Liverpool band. Astrid was a great photographer, artist, and ballet dancer. As Paul said, "we had some sort of instant connection with them". They spoke some English, but they were different and The Beatles liked it. Astrid and her friends started to come by on regular basis. She liked John but loved Stu. Astrid was 22 yrs. old and stylish. She had her own apartment and The Beatles would become frequent guests to shower and bathe and eat. Eventually, Astrid took the first and now famous photos of the band, capturing their tough look. It was she that suggested they dress in all leather-that would become their band uniform-leather jackets, leather pants-everything black. They wore Texas cowboy boots.

Astrid's hair was already the "beatle cut". But that is not how it started. All men then combed their hair backwards and used hair tonic to hold it in place or had flat-tops or crew cuts. There was no long hair on men. Period. Even the Beatles slicked their hair backwards and used tonic. Granted, their hair was longer because they wanted the Elvis look. That changed when George had gone swimming with Astrid, got out and his hair dried naturally onto his forehead. When he began to comb it back, Astrid said, "No", "Just leave it". George hesitated, thinking it will look stupid, but went along. George's hair dried like a mop top. It was not over the ears, but he did have bangs on the forehead. When the others saw it, the reaction cautious. John and Pete thought it was stupid. Paul kinda liked it. Stu liked it.

Astrid's influence grew more as far as how they looked. Because Stu and John were tight as friends, it was not long until John, too, let his hair drop onto the forehead at times. Astrid would actually cut their hair at one point-that would become "the beatle cut".

When the band returned from Germany, their fans reacted to their hairstyle-it was soooo different than any had seen and not greasy. It was the first sign that the Beatles were on a wave of success. The same reaction happened again, in 1964, when they first appeared in America. After their Ed Sullivan appearance, any boy or teen 15 yrs. fought their parents for long hair and had a Beatle look.

The hairstyle is still everywhere you look today on boys and men.

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Comments 3 comments

Mark 4 years ago

What does this have to do with Ashton Kutcher?


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perrya 4 years ago Author

Duh, his hair. The style originated with the Beatles, of course, it has changed, bu the basic look, has not.


Jim h 4 years ago

I love her early classic photos of the Fab four. You may enjoy my article from July of last year on the anniversary of the first meeting of John and Paul- July, 1957. I am UShistorybuff.wordpress.com

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