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Tony Sheridan, who sang with Beatles in Germany, dead at 72

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Tony Sheridan, an English singer who sang on some of the Beatles' earliest recordings including “My Bonnie,” died Saturday in Germany. He was 72. His friend Dave Humphries, who arranged for him to appear in San Diego at Beatlefair late last year, sent us the news.

“Dear Steve, with deep sorrow we heard about two hours ago that Tony has died. A family member called to let us know that Tony died today, Feb. 16, 2013 at 12 noon German time, 3 a.m. PST. We are heartbroken.”

It became known in December that Sheridan had been hospitalized in Germany.

Sheridan was born May 5, 1940, in Norwich, England. According to his biography on his site, he grew up in a home strongly influenced by classical music and learned the violin at a very early age. He dropped out of grammar school to attend art school, and changed his violin for a guitar. In 1956, he formed his first skiffle group, visiting London in late 1957 and moving to Soho in 1958. He became a session musician, working with such U.S. artists as Conway Twitty, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran on their tours of the UK and playing lead guitar in Vince Taylor`s Playboys.

On Jack Good's BBC show “Oh Boy!,” he became the first British musician to play live electric guitar on TV. In June, 1960, he and the Jets moved to Hamburg, appearing at the Kaiserkeller. Various Liverpool groups accompanied him, including the Beatles, which then included Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best.

In 1961, he sang vocals for several tracks recorded by the Beatles for Polydor Records, including “My Bonnie.” Sheridan's work with the Beatles had been reissued numerous times through the years, most recently in 2011. It was in that year that a CD of their work together called "The Beatles With Tony Sheridan First Recordings -- 50th Anniversary Edition" was issued by Time-Life Records. The CD was nominated for a Grammy this year for Best Album Notes, but lost.

In 2011, he sent Beatles Examiner an exclusive comment in reply to our asking his opinion on a version of "Love Me Tender" purported to be by former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe. Part of his response read, “While I vaguely recall that Stuart sang this song on stage back in the Hamburg days when we were performing together, I wouldn’t swear it’s him we are hearing here - but I sure would like to know who the singer was/is!”

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