Tony Sheridan, the only man who could claim the Beatles as his backing band, passed away this week at the age of 72. The British rock'n'roll pioneer was part of the same Hamburg scene as the Beatles, performing in the Kaiserkeller, Top Ten, and Star Clubs. Sheridan, Lennon, Harrison and McCartney even recorded 9 songs together in 1961 and 1962, with “My Bonnie,” “The Saints,” “Why (Can’t You Love Me Again),” “Nobody’s Child,” “Take Out Some Insurance On Me, Baby,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Swanee River,” “Cry for a Shadow,” and “Ain’t She Sweet" being laid down in those sessions. It was their rollicking rendition of "My Bonnie" that grabbed the attention of future Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
Sheridan played a number of instruments over his long and fruitful career, and can be seen in the photos below with his Martin D-18E , our early stab at an acoustic-electric, circa 1960. Perhaps not by coincidence, this was the same model Kurt Cobain would go on to use for his MTV Unplugged performance over 30 years later. In the live shot, Sheridan has some pretty illustrious musicians backing him up indeed.
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