When’s the last time I did a post on the Beatles? Well, okay, I did a post on Paul getting mistaken for a busker two weeks ago… and talked about a rare Beatles recording, Yoko Ono’s 80th Birthday, and a re-recording of their first album in the space of a single week. Okay, so I’ve done a lot of Beatles articles lately. But the fact is that Tony Sheridan, their former leader, has died at the age of 72.
Now, the less informed of you may ask, “who is Tony Sheridan and why have I never heard of his leading one of the greatest bands in history?” Well, I’ll tell you. In the early 1960s, the Beatles and Tony Sheridan were both performing in the Hamburg club scene, a strange accident led to Sheridan’s band going back to England, but the man himself being left behind. The two knew each other before, and the Beatles volunteered to be the backing band for Tony Sheridan. They recorded their first single (not counting In Spite of All the Danger b/w That’ll Be the Day, which wasn’t really released until Anthology): My Bonnie b/w (When) The Saints (Go Marching In), under the name Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, eventually recording an album called My Bonnie, whose materials would be re-released in innnumerable formats after The Beatles went their separate ways and became musical gods. Reportedly, their single with Tony Sheridan led to their meeting their manager Brian Epstein.
Reportedly, Sheridan was an unpredictable performer, doing antics ranging from coming onstage drunk, hitting his pianist on the head with a tambourine, in an act that would inspire Noel Gallagher. Like Gallagher, Sheridan was on speed at the time. But, regardless, the Beatles would turn up to see him every night, and, even in later years, Paul McCartney would call him “The Teacher,” and introduced the band to music that wasn’t available in England at the time.
Also, in 1958, he was reportedly the first person to play electric guitar on British Television. This is hard to verify, and knowing the Beeb’s poor archiving at the time, the recordings are most likely wiped.
When all that was done, Tony Sheridan made his meal ticket from his association with The Beatles, and even made his last live performance at San Diego’s Beatlefair 2012 before undergoing heart surgery in his adopted homeland of Germany.
On Facebook, on February 16, the Sheridan family posted, “Our beloved father and friend! Thank you for your love and inspiration. You left us today at 12.00 pm”.
And, now, for those of you who don’t have any of the repackagings of Tony’s work with The Beatles, here’s his recording of My Bonnie with The Beat Brothers.