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Beatles pay tribute to early collaborator Tony Sheridan

Beatles pay tribute to early collaborator Tony Sheridan

TRIBUTES have been paid by Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to singer Tony Sheridan, who has passed away aged 72.

Mr. Sheridan had been an early collaborator with the Beatles when they met in Hamburg in the 1960s. At one point the Beatles, including early members Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe, had played as the backing band for the singer.

Ringo Starr was a member of Mr. Sheridan’s band for a short period before he joined the Beatles line-up. 

Under the guidance of German producer Bert Kaempfert, Mr. Sheridan and the Beatles collaborated on a number of recordings —an album featuring the recordings enjoyed significant sales when it was eventually released. One of the songs they recorded together was Why (see below).

Mr. Sheridan was regarded as having influenced the Beatles when they were honing their stage skills. Indeed, Paul McCartney referred to the singer as “The Teacher”. 

In his tribute, Sir Paul said: “Tony was a good guy who we knew and worked with from the early days in Hamburg. We regularly watched his late night performances and admired his style. He will be missed.”

Ringo Starr tweeted: “Goodbye to Tony Sheridan... I had a great month 1960-61. Playing with him was great”.

Born Anthony O’Sheridan McGinnity in Norwich in 1940, Tony Sheridan had shown an early talent for playing the violin, but after leaving school to attend art college his interest in classical music was soon replaced with wanting to play rock ‘n’ roll, and the violin was ditched in favour of the guitar.

He honed his talents in London where he was soon a sought-after session musician being hired to play on the UK tours by the likes of Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Conway Twitty.

But it was in Hamburg in the early 1960s that he developed his great skills as a lead performer. He recorded a number of albums for Polydor during these years. One of his hits was Skinny Minny (see below).

He went on to tour and record across the world. In the late 1970s he became the first singer to record with Elvis Presley’s TCB Band following the death of the King. 

Mr. Sheridan had lived for many years in Germany. It is understood that he had undergone surgery for a heart condition months before his death.

To hear an excerpt from Why, click here.

To see footage of Tony Sheridan performing Skinny Minny, click here.

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