Many associated with the Beatles, including former members, associates, authors and fans, are today mourning the death Saturday of singer Tony Sheridan, who played a big role in the group's early career, and had his own long career as a rock 'n' roller himself. Sheridan, who died Saturday in Germany after being ill for several months, sang on “My Bonnie” and several other songs he recorded with the group in Germany in 1961.
Some of the statements here are exclusive to Beatles Examiner.
His family posted this initially Saturday on Facebook announcing his passing: “Our beloved father and friend! Thank you for your love and inspiration. You left us today at 12:00 p.m. Your loving family, Wendy, Bennet, Felim, Amber and Arunima, Rosi and Ricky."
Former Beatles drummer Pete Best posted this statement on his official Facebook page: “It is with the greatest of regrets I heard that my friend and a man I spent many hours with on stage, recorded with and regarded as a very special musician passed away this morning. I will miss him, but he will always live in my memories. Rest in peace Mr. Tony Sheridan (The Teacher), Pete.”
Ted “Kingsize” Taylor, who also played with Sheridan in Hamburg, also on Facebook, wrote, “Tony could always see a bright light, at the end of a dark road, now he has reached this bright light, and may he rest in eternal peace. The World will never forget his talent, and inspiration, that he gave to us all. R.I.P. Tony Sheridan.”
Taylor had visited with Sheridan Friday, and also wrote on his Facebook page, “This morning I visited Tony, Although he is still very weak, I was greeted with a smile, and an outstretched hand. He read some of the comments that you have been sending, which I had printed out for him, and read also, a few of the cards that people had sent to me for Tony. … Tony sends his thanks for your support, and kind messages. All in all, a pleasant visit to an old friend.”
Geoff Nugent from the Undertakers (sent to us by musician Dean Johnson): "When (the Undertakers) and the Beatles arrived in Hamburg, they went to see Tony at a club next door to the Star Club And he performed solo for six hours, no drums or bass or any band. He stood alone and rocked the club and blood poured from his fingers as the strings shredded his fingers. But he was the main influence on the Liverpool bands that went over there. He was a god, a forerunner of things to come. (He said) Tony was such a party animal, but from that extreme, he produced such amazing rock n' roll, the real thing."
Keith Putney, who was responsible for a 2007 show that featured both Sheridan and Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers, who also played with Tony in Hamburg, posted this on Facebook: “Heartbreaking news that Tony Sheridan, a dynamic, passionate, performer who influenced so many of his fellow musicians, has passed away. Gerry Marsden told me around the time this photo was taken-at my 2007 British Invasion show at the Cannery in Las Vegas that featured them both that Tony had been an inspiration to every Liverpool group that made its way to Hamburg.”
Faron of Liverpool '60s group Faron's Flamingos, in a Facebook comment from a friend, said, “He sends his sincere love and condolences to Tony's family, and has wonderful happy memories of their times together, going out with Tony, Horst Fascher, Stuart Sutcliffe, and them lying by the Juke Box listening to Jerry Lee Lewis B Sides. Memories that will live with him forever.”
Bill Harry, founder and editor of Mersey Beat, also posted on Facebook, “Devastating news to hear about Tony, one of the most amazing musicians I ever heard in my life. Eccentric, rebellious, but a complete genius creating the most incredible music. He will certainly missed, but I hope his achievements and personality won't be forgotten.”
Beatles author Mark Lewisohn told us via email, “It's really very sad to see Tony go. I went to Germany in 2006 to interview him for my new books, and he had a young wife, Anna, who was clearly taking loving care of him. She then died of cancer in 2011, age 33, and it hit Tony very hard. He went downhill fast after that. I've always sensed Tony's frustration that he was famous only for his connection to the Beatles, but such is the immensity of their shadow, anyone with an association tends to be remembered for that and only that. It can be a cross to bear.
“So it's worth remembering that when the Beatles first met Tony, in Hamburg in 1960, they were the excited ones. He'd been a regular performer on “Oh! Boy,” Jack Good's weekly TV show, which they always watched. He was a star in their eyes, known for being the first man simultaneously to play electric guitar and sing on British television, an important first. Tony's career had several highs and many lows, but his part in the Beatles' rise was significant, and he earned his place in a great history.”
Tony Bramwell, former CEO of Apple Records, posted on Facebook, “Tony Sheridan R.I.P. A legend.”
The Cavern Club, also posted this on Facebook: “We are sad to hear the news that Tony Sheridan passed away yesterday. Tony sang on some of the Beatles earliest recordings and was a regular guest at International Beatleweek.”
The British Beatles Fan Club, on their Facebook page, posted, “It was very sad to wake up to the news that Tony Sheridan has passed away. Tony performed at the concert in Liverpool in December 2010 honoring John, with Cavern residents, The Shakers, backing Tony for My Bonnie. Thanks for all the great music Tony, and rest in peace.”
Later in the day, the Fan Club added, "There have been many lovely tributes to Tony Sheridan today, but one of the best in our opinion took place in the Cavern tonight. The Cavern's resident Merseybeat band, The Shakers, who have performed with Tony, dedicated "My Bonnie" to him, and then played with total energy, enthusiasm, passion and sheer joy for the music, and respect for the man who was there at the beginning."
- Paul McCartney issues statement on death of Tony Sheridan
- Another name from Beatles history pays tribute to Tony Sheridan
- Tony Sheridan, who sang with Beatles in Germany, dead at 72
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