Recording: Sweet Georgia Brown, Swanee River

The Beatles had recorded a number of songs with Tony Sheridan in Hamburg on 2224 June 1961. Nearly a year later they taped two more songs with the singer.

The session came about due to a contract The Beatles had signed with Bert Kaempfert, who had produced the 1961 recordings. When Brian Epstein began managing the group and started looking for a record deal, he discovered that they were still technically under contract with Kaempfert.

Epstein and Kaempfert agreed that The Beatles would be released from their obligation if they recorded one more session with Sheridan when they next returned to Hamburg. It took place on this day at the city’s Studio Rahlstedt, situated at Gebäude M1, Rahlau 128, Hamburg-Tonndorf.

The songs were ‘Swanee River’ and ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, the latter arranged by Paul McCartney. Performing with The Beatles was pianist Roy Young, who had been informally accompanying with the group at the Star-Club.

Tony Sheridan, however, didn’t make it to the session. He overdubbed his vocals onto Sweet Georgia Brown on 7 June 1962, and it was released on a German EP, Ya Ya, later that year.

Ya Ya EP artwork – Germany

Sheridan re-recorded the vocals on 3 January 1964, prior to The Beatles’ arrival in America. The newer version included novelty lyrics that mentioned the group. Sheridan had previously sung:

Fellas that she can’t get
Are fellas she can’t get
Georgia claimed her, Georgia named her
Sweet Georgia Brown

This became:

In Liverpool she even dared
To criticize The Beatles hair
With their whole fan club standing there
Ah, meet Sweet Georgia Brown

The Beatles’ recording of Swanee River, meanwhile, was left unreleased and the master tape became lost. A different version was later released featuring Sheridan and another set of musicians.

Last updated: 16 May 2018
The Beatles live: Star-Club, Hamburg
The Beatles live: Star-Club, Hamburg
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  1. André Wednesday 22 July 2020

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