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Beatles Collaborator Tony Sheridan Dead at 72

Rocker met the band in Hamburg and sang on their earliest recordings

February 17, 2013 6:07 PM ET
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Tony Sheridan performs on stage at the 2Is Coffee Bar in Soho circa 1958 in New York City.
Rick Hardy/Redferns/Getty

Tony Sheridan, the singer and guitarist who collaborated with the Beatles during the band's early days in Hamburg, died on Saturday at the age of 72, the UK's Telegraph reports.

Sheridan met John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best in Hamburg's red-light district in the early 1960s when the young group came to see his act every night after their own shows at a neighboring club. Sheridan took the band under his wing, advising them on their look (which at the time included black leather bomber jackets and cowboy boots) and introducing them to American R&B acts like Little Richard. The Beatles eventually served as Sheridan's backing band at the Top Ten Club and cut their earliest recordings accompanying him as the Beat Brothers on recordings of "My Bonnie" and "When the Saints Go Marching In." (The album they recorded was later released outside Germany as Tony Sheridan and The Beatles.)

The British Invasion: From the Beatles to the Stones, The Sixties Belonged to Britain 
Sheridan, who is credited with being the first British musician to play the electric guitar on television, went on to tour with Chubby Checker, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. In 1964, he released a solo album called Just a Little Bit of Tony Sheridan, which incorporated more blues and jazz influences. Sheridan returned to Hamburg in 1978 to headline the reopening of the city's famous Star Club, bringing Elvis Presley's TCB Band to accompany him. In 2002, he released his final solo album, Vagabond.

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