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#askNat – concerning Tony Sheridan/Beatles releases & Frankenstein

This time around on #askNat I have an inquiry to share from Patrick Flynn in Washington, D.C. who writes:

I am very confused about which tracks the Beatles recorded with Tony Sheridan in Hamburg and when and how they were originally released. As I understand it, they did “My Bonnie,” “The Saints,” “Why,” “Cry for a Shadow” and “Ain’t She Sweet” on 12/21/61 and then in ’62 they did “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “If You Love Me Baby.” But did they play on Sheridan’s “Ya Ya” or any of the other tracks he sings on that are featured on most CD compilations of those sessions? Thanks for your help.

Good question Patrick. There is a lot of confusion here because most of the compilations with Tony Sheridan include “filler” of tracks that include him, but not The Beatles. Most of the information you ask about the recording sessions can be found in an earlier BROW that came out last year about “Sweet Georgia Brown” (access this here). The tracks mentioned in that entry are the only ones The Beatles actually participated in with Tony.

One thing not mentioned in the previous entry is that when the U.S. label Atlantic/Atco took over the rights to four of the songs from these sessions, they ended up adding extra instrumentation not played by The Beatles on three of them to make them more commercial sounding. These three were “Sweet Georgia Brown” (with additional drums and guitar fills), “Take Out Some Insurance On Me Baby” (aka “If You Love Me Baby”) (with additional drums and guitar) and “Ain’t She Sweet” (with additional drums). The track “Nobody’s Child” was not sweetened like the other three however, it was edited down by Atco from 3:53 to 2:56.

As far as “Ya Ya” goes, it is one of those that has appeared on a few Sheridan/Beatles compilations but while Tony is singing lead vocals, the backing band is NOT The Beatles.

German Polydor single for My Bonnie

German Polydor single for My Bonnie

The original recordings of the eight songs were made on two track equipment and released in both stereo and mono in various configurations throughout the sixties beginning with a German single of “My Bonnie” c/w “The Saints” in October 1961.

The best way to get all mixes of the recording in one nice package is with the 2- CD set released in 2011 titled First Recordings. I have included an Amazon link to this CD for more info below. The excellent liner notes included in the booklet go into lots of detail about the sessions.

First Recordings (50th Anniversary Edition), released in Nov. 2011

First Recordings (50th Anniversary Edition), released in Nov. 2011



I have a second #askNat question here from Twitter-friend Stacia who asks:

Who played Frankenstein’s monster in the video for “Back of Boogaloo,” and where was it filmed?

Harry Nilsson as Frankenstein, 1972

Harry Nilsson as Frankenstein, 1972

That was one of Ringo Starr’s great videos, Stacia! Frankenstein was played by musician and friend of Ringo’s – Harry Nilsson. It was filmed at Tittenhurst Park, Ascot, U.K. where Ringo was living at the time. The following year he bought the property from John Lennon. A search on YouTube for “Back Off Boogaloo” is sure to bring it up for anyone who would like to view it. A souped-up live version of the tune by Ringo and The Roundheads is viewable here.

Have something to say? Please feel free to add to this in the comments section below. Thanks again, Patrick, Stacia and everyone for reading this week’s #askNat!

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:

1) There is a designated form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks), but modfied to do both BROW requests and #askNat questions.

2) If you are a Facebook user, you can submit your question right on TheBeatlesRarity FB wall at www.facebook.com/beatlesrarity. If you think about it, try to remember to flag your question with “#askNat”.

3) Similarly, if you are a Google+ user, you can submit your question on TheBeatlesRarity Google+ page at www.gplus.to/beatlesrarity. Google+ supports hashtag searchability so it will be helpful if you preface your question with “#askNat” here too.

4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.

Beatles-related music makes great gifts for the holidays. Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) The Beatles With Tony Sheridan: First Recordings 50th Anniversary Edition 2011 remastered 2-CD compilation of all the recordings with Tony Sheridan and The Beatles in both stereo and mono and later modified mixes to include various edits used on other compilations in the sixties.

2) Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo 2007 remastered CD compilation of Ringo Starr’s best hits throughout his entire solo career, including the 1972 single “Back off Boogaloo.”

3) Beatles Music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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  • Steve Beauchampe says:

    The German Bear Family label also released Beatles bop, Hamburg Days, a 2-CD 38-track set featuring all of the different versions of the Beatles/Sheridan recordings back around 2001 and again in 2010 (but fortunately, it ignored the ‘sweetened’ tracks). There was a deluxe version with a hardback book.

    I wonder if these tracks will ever be re-mastered?

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thanks Steve. I think the Bear Family collection was previously my best source for these. I have the set in my collection too (see here).

      • Steve Beauchampe says:


        I don’t have the First Recordings release from 2011, you’re reply leaves me thinking that you feel it’s better than the Bear Family set, do the tracks differ in any way, am I missing something by not buying it? Thanks.


        • Happy Nat says:

          Didn’t really mean to imply that the newer set is really “better” Steve, just newer. The sound is great on both and the liner notes are too. The Bear Family release however, like the newer official set, does include the “sweetened” Atco mixes.

  • Gary Lee says:

    When the extra instrumentation was added to these songs could this be the explanation for the Bernard Purdie controversy?

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