The Beatles had been approached by orchestral leader and Polydor agent Bert Kaempfert, who wanted them as the backing band for Sheridan. On this day they were recorded, not at a professional studio, but at Hamburg’s Friedrich-Ebert-Halle.
The venue served as a function hall for the town of Harburg, and as an assembly hall for the local grammar and high schools. A number of musical performances took place there, including some skiffle and jazz shows, but rock ‘n’ roll was a rarity. The good acoustics, however, meant that it was often used by Polydor and Philips for recordings.
The musicians were John Lennon on rhythm guitar, George Harrison on lead guitar, Paul McCartney on bass and Pete Best on drums. The musicians’ instruments and amplifiers were set up on the stage, and engineer Karl Hinze operated the twin-track stereo recording equipment.
The first song to be recorded was My Bonnie, a beat version of the old standard My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean. Harrison performed lead guitar, although Sheridan played the solo, which was later spliced in from a different take. Two edit pieces were also recorded for the introduction, in English and German – the translation was by Bernd Bertie.
It was followed by The Saints, a new arrangement of another old song, When The Saints Go Marching In. The musicians also recorded Sheridan’s self-penned ballad Why, and Cry For A Shadow, a Lennon-Harrison original which appeared on 1995’s Anthology 1.
The Beatles were given 300 marks for the two sessions, and the My Bonnie single – credited to Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers – was released in October 1961. It reached number five in the German charts.
A third day of recording took place at Studio Rahlstedt in Hamburg on 24 June 1961.
Also on this day...
- 2015: Paul McCartney live at John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia
- 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono holiday in Wales
- 1968: Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman spend time together in Los Angeles
- 1967: Recording: All You Need Is Love
- 1965: Travel: Lyon to Milan
- 1964: Live: Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand
- 1963: Television: Summer Spin
- 1962: Live: Memorial Hall, Northwich
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
- 1960: Live: The Institute, Neston, Wirral
- 1940: Stuart Sutcliffe is born
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.