Sunday, February 17, 2013

British Singer Tony Sheridan Has Died

Tony Sheridan, who sang on early tunes with The Beatles in Germany, died there Saturday (February 16) at the age of 72. He had been hospitalized for the past month. Born in Norwich, England in 1940, he formed a skiffle group in Soho in the late '50s and played guitar as a studio and stage musician in London for artists like Conway Twitty and Gene Vincent.

Moving to Hamburg, Germany in 1960, he eventually paired up with a Liverpool group called the Beatles, which led to a German recording contract with producer Bert Kaempfert as "Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers." It was a request for "My Bonnie" from that June, 1961 session at his Liverpool record shop that convinced future Beatles manager Brian Epstein to check out the group, who had by then returned to England. The recordings eventually were released in America on MGM Records when Beatlemania hit. "My Bonnie" reached #26 in 1964, while "Why" made it to #88 that year. The biggest of these tunes was "Ain't She Sweet" with John and Paul-- not Tony-- singing lead. That single got to #19 in 1964. Tony stayed in Hamburg and continued playing and recording-- though he adapted more to jazz and blues. Then-Beatles drummer Pete Best wrote on his Twitter account, "Great guy and great memories. I will miss you Tony. RIP."