Tony Sheridan, who fronted the Beatles on their first recording, died Saturday in Hamburg, Germany. He was 72.
His daughter, Wendy Clare Sheridan-McGinnity, announced Sheridan's death, according to The New York Times.
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Sheridan first met the Beatles, which then included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best, in 1960. Though Sheridan was already an accomplished British performer, he began performing with the group at times. In 1961, German producer Bert Kaempfert offered Sheridan and the Beatles recording contracts. While there were options to have them record separately, the intention was for the Beatles to act as Sheridan's backup band.
Together, Sheridan and the Beatles recorded nine songs together, with Sheridan singing on seven of them ("My Bonnie," "The Saints," "Why (Can't You Love Me Again)," "Nobody's Child," "Take Out Some Insurance On Me, Baby," "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Swanee River").
When the group's first single, "My Bonnie," was released in Germany in 1961, Liverpool Beatles fans swarmed local record shops searching for the record. Wanting to understand the enthusiasm, store manager Brian Epstein caught a Beatles show at the Cavern. He then persuaded the group into hiring him as their manager and within a year, he got them their own recording contract at EMI.
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NME reports that McCartney referred to Sheridan as "The Teacher" for his crucial influence over the group, including introducing them to American R&B artists, such as Little Richard. Sheridan had also claimed that it he was who arranged Ringo Starr's first performances with the Beatles before Starr officially joined in 1962.
In the mid-'60s, Sheridan toured Europe with Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker and other American musicians. Sheridan released his last album, Vagabond, in 2002. He also released a DVD in 2005, Chantal Meets Tony Sheridan, which includes the only recording of "Tell Me If You Can," a song he wrote with McCartney in 1962.
Besides Sheridan-McGinnity, Sheridan is survived by three sons, Tony Jr., Bennet and Felim, and another daughter, Amber.
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