February 8, 2017 John, Paul, George & Pete. Pete?

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The Beatles, With Tony Sheridan & Their Guests, MGM E-4215, 1964

On June 22, 1961,  in Hamburg Germany, Tony Sheridan recorded five songs backed up by a fellow English group he knew from the local club scene.   The single My Bonnie did well enough in West Germany (#31), but it would be an unlikely candidate for a major label release in the US if it weren’t for the fact that the backing band was The Beatles.  Actually, it still probably didn’t deserve a major label release.  The songs are mainly public domain standards, with one incredible instrumental.  Cry For A Shadow, originally recorded as The Beatle Bop, is the only song credited as written by John Lennon and George Harrison.

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Naturally, there was no way that The Beatles would allow their image on a record that wasn’t really even theirs, so MGM, which licensed the Sheridan tracks from German Polydor came up with this bland green cover that screams THE BEATLES and adds a brief mention of the real artist Tony Sheridan “and their guests”.  The “guests”, who are more like party crashers, are billed here as The Titans, but the tracks were released in 1961.  As you can see, MGM did what most record companies did when an album had both stereo and mono versions.  One extended cover “slick” was printed, and the appropriate edge was exposed, with the other edge covered by the back slick.  Someone tore off the upper left corner of this mono record to expose the upside-down “stereo” printed on the front slick. It’s too bad, because real stereo copies of this album are very rare and worth hundreds of dollars.

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There were other recordings made that day in Hamburg.  With some extra time left in the session, The Ringo-less Beatles recorded four songs themselves.  These got leased to Atco Records for yet another major label US release, with the single Ain’t She Sweet hitting the top 20.  The two singles off this album My Bonnie and Why didn’t do as well, but these songs were issued countless times over the last 53 years.  I suppose the same thing would have happened if MGM got their hands on a tape of John Lennon reading the phone book.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $5, $419 Remaining

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