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Why Paul McCartney Went with The Beatles to Hamburg in 1960

Updated on May 31, 2012

Of all the Beatles back in 1960, Paul McCartney was the most academic student. He was well read, books by Steinbeck, Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare were favorites of his. His grades were above par in High School, he was only 17 then. Even though his mom had died of breast cancer two years earlier, his dad carried on as a salesman to raise Paul and his brother, Mike. They lived in row housing in sparse surroundings. He had killer good looks. Most, if not all, of Paul's teachers favored him and usually wrote on report cards that he showed great promise.

Paul, in 1960, faced what many face then and now, a crossroads decision.He so loved playing rock music and his BFF's were John and George and that would never change. Yet, he was getting on in age, his father asked the proverbial question, "Paul, what kind of career do you want?" There was pressure as in, "what do you want to do in life?" . Same today and then. At 17, he like most teens, was rather clueless. The Beatles as a band had not been successful by any one's expectations. John was in Art College. George thought about getting a real job. Parents pressured them as parents today do. Yet, as group, it was freedom to get lost in music.

When the Hamburg offer arrived, Paul was prepping for his exams. His thoughts were becoming a teacher because they earn a decent wage, around 10 pounds a week. He did not want sale cotton like his dad. Even so, Paul did not want to commit to that yet, he was too young, he thought. Paul knew some guy who was 24 then, who had not really become anything,just drifted. To Paul, that is what he wanted to do-delay making the decision about a career.

The Beatles were offered a staggering 15 pounds a week, to do what they loved to do. For the first time, they all thought this could become a cool job because 15 pounds was more than Paul's dad earned in a week. It was more than what teachers earned. To all of them, it was as a light had gone on- this is my career- I'm earning more than my dad and many others much older than I.

This offer was as Paul said, "A BIG THING" in a couple of ways. Had it not come, Paul might have ended up as a teacher who loves playing music. A year later, in 1961, The Beatles earned 90 pounds a week. That was like riches to them.


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