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Old Oct 23, 2005, 11:15 PM   #1
Old Brown Shoe
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Default The Tony Sheridan/Beatles songs: the answers are here !

A few weeks ago here... we were trying to figure out on which of the Tony Sheridan songs the Beatles had actually played.

Well, I just got my double CD "Beatles Bob - Hamburg Days" by Bear Family.

And, as usual, Bear Family did a fantastic job hunting down all informations and details possible and, having found the orginal studio paperwork for the said sessions, we can no now for sure who played on what.

The CD comes with a 100 page booklet, packed with loads of details and some very nice pictures and I've just found out that they have a second edition of this set... but with a 120 page, LP sized, book ! *

* ... and I'm quite temped of getting that !

Contrary to popular belief, The Beatles did not sign directly with Polydor, but with Bert Kaempfert's own record company, "Bert Kaempfert Produktion".

This contract came into effect on July 1st 1961 and was to last until June of 1962 and would automtically be renewed, for another year... unless either of the parties decided to terminate it, three months before it's expiration.

In an other clause, it was specified that John was authorised as the band's representative to receive payments.

No amount is disclosed, but the deal specified that The Beatles would get 5% of the proceeds for any records sold in stores and 2% for the sales via record clubs.

O.K. the Beatles actually only backed Tony on only six songs (this of course doesn't count "Ain't she sweet" and "Cry for a shadow", as Tony was not on those).

The first batch of songs were recorded on July 22nd 1961, at Friedrich Ebert Halle, in Harburg Germany... which was NOT a school-hall, as it's often listed but an actual concert hall, on the school's grounds... but independent of the school, though it was used for some of the school's shows.

It was, in fact, an orchestral hall, with very good accoustics, that was often used for such recording sessions by Philips and, on occasion, by Polydor.

According to Bert and Pete Best, Bert picked The Beatles up to take them to that first session at 8:00 a.m. at the Top Ten Club, where they had been on stage until 3:00 a.m. that very night !

Pete recalls that, during that session, the Beatles kept drinking Coca Cola to try and stay awake and that during a "promising" take George had knocked a Coke bottle at his feet, ruining the take.

The songs recorded on this day were:

"My Bonnie"
- Tony: lead & rythm guitar/lead vocal
- John: backing vocal/hand clapping
- Paul: bass guitar/backing vocal (+ shouting in the backround)
- George: lead & rythm guitar
- Pete: drums

"The saints (when the saints go matching in)"
- Tony: rythm guitar/lead vocal
- John: rythm guitar
- Paul: bass/shouting in the backround
- George: lead guitar
- Pete: drums

"Why (can't you love me again)"
- Tony: rythm guitar/lead vocal
- John: rythm guitar/hand clapping/backing vocal
- Paul: bass/backing vocal
- George: lead guitar/backing vocal
- Pete: drums

... they also recorded "Cry for a shadow" at this session.

* "My Bonnie": they also recorded recorded two introductions (one in english and one in german), separately from the song itself... and each was mixed in at a later date. And George was quoted as saying "When Tony sings, then it is me playing. But the break in the middle is Tony playing".

On the next day, July 23rd 1961, they recorded two more songs with Tony:

"Nobody's child"
- Tony: rythm guitar/lead vocal
- Paul: bass
- Pete: drums

"Take out some insurance on me"
- Tony: lead guitar/lead vocal
- Paul: bass
- George: rythm guitar
- Pete: drums

... they also recorded "Ain't she sweet" at this session.

Now, we move foward to May 24th 1962, two weeks before The Beatles first auditionned at EMI !

After both Brian Epstein and Bert had considered doing a recording session at which the Beatles would have recorded twelve more tracks (some with Tony, but the bulk of those tracks to be recorded by themselves), the two instead agreed to terminate the contract with Bert only asking only that The Beatles record just two more songs for him, with Tony, in exchange.

So, on that date (while they were playing germany), The Beatles went into Studio Rahlstedt (Hamburg) and recorded...

"Sweet Georgia Brown"
- Tony: lead vocal *
- John: rythm guitar/backing vocal
- Paul: bass/backing vocal
- George: lead guitar/backing vocal
- Pete: drums
- Roy Young: piano

* Tony's lead vocal was recorded separately, on June 7th... which explains why, at one point, he shouts out (during the piano solo) "Ahh, tell it to me, Paul !" as, not having been at the first session... he had assumed that Paul had played the piano (because Paul sometimes played piano on-stage when Tony had played with The Beatles the year before).

On that same day, they also recorded "Swanee river" with Tony... but that recording was "lost" and never released.

The version of that song that is often included on Tony Sheridan albums was in fact recorded in December 1961, without The Beatles.

Lastly, early in January 1964, Tony (with new producer Paul Murphy) again went to the Rahlstedt Studio to overdub a new lead vocal onto the orginal backing track (by the Beatles) of "Sweet Georgia Brown" (adding lines that mentionned the Beatles).

The 1964 version of that song is the one that has usually included on all the varrious Tony Sheridan compilations, as opposed to the 1962 version.

One reason for the "confusion" regarding many of these songs is that they're usually listed under "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers".

There never was a backing band per say called The Beat Brothers, it was just the name used for any and all of the various bands that had backed-up Tony back in the sixties.
People are crazy, times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm... out of range
I used to care, but... things have changed

Last edited by ABCKO : Oct 23, 2005 at 11:25 PM.
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Old Oct 24, 2005, 02:54 PM   #2
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This is great information to have. Thanks ABCKO! I think the Beatles made this a great album.
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Old Oct 25, 2005, 01:16 AM   #3
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I've always been suprised that no greedy record executive has ever thought of deleting Tony's vocals and then releasing those tracks as "Beatle" songs !
People are crazy, times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm... out of range
I used to care, but... things have changed
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Old Oct 25, 2005, 04:48 AM   #4
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Let's not give them any ideas, ABCKO.
With a love like that, you know you should be glad, yeah, yeah, yeah!-- Beatles, 1963

If I seem to act unkind, it's only me, it's not my mind. -- George Harrison, 1966
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