- See some of the front covers through the years of releases featuring the Beatles-Tony Sheridan tracks in the slideshow at left.
- Hear John Lennon sing “Ain’t She Sweet” from the Polydor-Sheridan tracks in the video at left.
We gave you first word about this a week ago, but now we have the details on the new issue of the Beatles-Tony Sheridan recordings coming out on Nov. 8.
The set, called “The Beatles With Tony Sheridan: First Recordings: 50th Anniversary Edition” and being released by Time-Life Records, is a two-CD set of all the available recordings made by the Beatles for the Polydor label. The tracks, with Pete Best, not Ringo Starr, on drums, were first included on “Beatles Bop,” a reissue issued by the comprehensive and obsessively meticulous (that’s a compliment, honest) reissue German label Bear Family in 2001.
Also included is a book that includes concert and other photos of the Beatles taken by photographer-friend Astrid Kirchherr and others during the early days of their career, historic handwritten biographies written by the group, signed contracts, original artwork taken from posters and records and text by Beatles researcher Hans Olof Gottfridsson.
In our earlier story, Gottfridsson told us, “Although we by now know a lot about these sessions by Sheridan & the Beatles in Hamburg, the booklet will include some new facts about these recordings and the Beatles’ stay in Hamburg.”
The set includes every recording they made for Bert Kaempfert and Polydor Records in 1961 and 1962. (Yes, the same Bert Kaempfert known for numerous orchestra albums.)
Multiple versions have been released throughout the past several decades – some in mono, some in stereo – each with distinctly different sounds. The U.S. versions were overdubbed to make them closer to the sound of the Beatles in 1964. In one case, on “Sweet Georgia Brown,” the lyrics were even altered to add the names of the Beatles to cash in on their fame. All those versions are included in the new set.
The handwritten biographies included in the book of the set were written by the Beatles the night they signed the contract to make the records for the Polydor label at Kaempfert’s kitchen table. Those contracts are reproduced in their original handwriting.
Singer Tony Sheridan is heard doing lead vocals on most of the Polydor tracks, though John Lennon sings lead on “Ain’t She Sweet.” His growling lead vocal shows the roots of what he did later on “Twist and Shout.” The instrumental “Cry For A Shadow” also features the guitar work of a young George Harrison.
As we said, the tracks were first included in Bear Family’s “Beatles Bop.” That set, which still can be found, was issued in two versions — a set featuring the two-disc set alone and a deluxe (and more expensive) version with a hardback book.
The Tony Sheridan tracks have been available in many different configurations over the years. (See the slideshow at left for a few of the different covers.) The Bear Family release was historic in what it added to the Sheridan story. But no previously released American set was ever this inclusive.
Now those tracks are being issued here. It’s about time.
- Mysterious Beatles-Tony Sheridan reissue coming in November
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