In the realm of mainstream Beatles lore, Tony Sheridan gets largely forgotten. The British singer in fact led an early incarnation of the band in their Hamburg days, when they were the Silver Beatles, a boozy club act. He played on the same circuit as the boys, and they acted as his backing group at certain gigs, while he also sat in on guitar when needed.
Sheridan died this past Saturday in Hamburg at the age of 72 after complications from heart surgery.
They had recorded nine songs together as Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, with the single "My Bonnie" being integral in the Beatles' striking out on their own with manager Brian Epstein. Funny that Sheridan was the one who had the "star potential" and not John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Ringo Starr wasn't aboard just yet. Pete Best was still on drums.
In late 2011, a collection of work by Sheridan and the Beatles was released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of their recorded collaborations.
A Lennon-fronted "Ain't She Sweet" was one of the more notable Beatles tunes to come from this set of songs, along with the instrumental "Cry for a Shadow."
The Beatles had always said that Sheridan acted as a big brother to the group during their seminal days, even given them fashion tips, butching them up with leather jackets and boots. According to Pitchfork, he was also the first Brit musician to play electric guitar on television.
After his brush with the Beatles, Sheridan kept busy recording and touring on his own, playing with various pick-up super-groups along the way. His story meanders, but it's full of more brushes with rock royalty.
He was made an honorary captain in the US Army after a band he had formed to entertain troops in the Vietnam theater suffered a casualty while performing.
Most recently, Sheridan had kept busy designing coats of arms and other family insignia, while also taking part in the odd Beatles-centric interview.
With each year that goes by, more and more of the Beatles universe slowly passes away. Yoko Ono just turned 80, and McCartney and Starr are 70 and 72 respectively. Richard Lester, the film director who helmed A Hard Day's Night and Help!, is 81.
Their legendary producer George Martin is still kicking at 87.
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