Tony Sheridan and the savage young Beatles is the name of an album of songs by Tony Sheridan with the Beatles as backing band recorded on two days in 1961. Read on to find out more.

In the early days of the Beatles career, when they were in Hamburg, they teamed up with Tony Sheridan and recorded some songs with him. The ‘best known’ of which was the song My Bonnie. It was released in Germany in October 1961 and reached a peak of number 5. The B-side of which was the Harrison/Lennon penned instrumental Cry Me A River (thus becoming the first ‘Beatles’ song released!). The song eventually slipped in to the UK charts in the summer of 1963, reaching a peak of number 48.

Tony Sheridan & the Beatles – My Bonnie

Actually, to say that this was Tony Sheridan & the Beatles, although factually correct, is not correct. The Beatles were known, on this release, as ‘the Beat Brothers’. It was not the last time that the Beatles would record with Tony Sheridan!

In 1962 the German branch of Polydor released an album called My Bonnie by Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers which was a compilation of songs by Tony Sheridan, a small number of which featured, as backing band, the Beat Brothers (or the Beatles as they actually were!). Two years later, and with a different track listing, the album was released in the UK entitled The Beatles First!

And that brings us to today when I was looking through the CD’s at my local music shop and came across a CD entitled Tony Sheridan & the savage young Beatles, with a cover that certainly caught the eye and is clearly designed to spring out at you. Judge for yourself though as this is what it looked like,


Basically it is an album (released in 2007) that features the songs the Beatles recorded with Tony Sheridan on the 22nd and 23rd of June 1961 at the ‘Freidrich Ebert Halle School’ in Hamburg. The Beatles, credited as the Beat Brothers perform the music and also throw in some backing vocals on all but one of the tracks to songs sung by Tony Sheridan. The 7 tracks that feature on this album are;

  1. Cry For A Shadow
  2. Let’s Dance
  3. If You Love Me, Baby
  4. What’d I Say
  5. Sweet Georgia Brown
  6. Ruby Baby
  7. Ya Ya

All seven of these songs were already available on the aforementioned album The Beatles First, but it is interesting to note that it was these seven songs that were recorded in a two day period only. Only the first of the tracks is an original ‘Beatles’ song, written by George Harrison and John Lennon, the instrumental Cry For A Shadow (as it was the B-Side to My Bonnie) is the first Beatles track to be released as a single!

The Beatles – Cry For A Shadow

The rest of the album is made up of cover versions with Tony Sheridan on lead vocals and the Beatles, credited as the Beat Brothers, and after Stuart Sutcliffe had left the band, and with Pete Best on drums, performing the music and adding backing vocals.

In just over a years time, the Beatles were back in the UK, Pete Best was out the band, Ringo Starr was in, and the Beatles were about to take over the music scene in the UK like no one else before and no one else since. It is fair comment to say that the Hamburg days of the Beatles helped them to have their success back home – it gave them the ability to hone their craft, which they did to a high degree.

Although the Beatles time in Hamburg and what they recorded with Tony Sheridan is sometimes ‘over-looked’by all but the avid Beatles fans, it was a time of their life that even John Lennon said was one of the best for the band. Listening to how they play as back up band for Tony Sheridan it is easy to agree with that, they certainly seem to be enjoying themselves.

The rest, as they say, is history!


Image via Wikipedia

P.S. This article was originally published by the same author on Triond on the 17th of April 2011 and can be found by clicking HERE.