The Beatles had recorded a number of songs with Tony Sheridan in Hamburg on 22–24 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.
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
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.
Also on this day...
- 2015: Paul McCartney live: O2 Arena, London
- 2010: Paul McCartney to receive Gershwin Prize at the White House
- 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono fly to the Bahamas
- 1968: Demo recordings for the White Album
- 1967: The Beatles watch Procol Harum perform in London
- 1963: Live: Granada Cinema, Walthamstow, London
- 1963: Radio: Pop Go The Beatles
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
Do you have any info on the recording of Ya Ya (and of Skinny Minny?). Do you know if the recording for this EP is the same that is heard on The Beatles’ First ! (AKA : In the Beginning (Circa 1960) or The Early Tapes of the Beatles on CD). According to the liner notes for that CD written by Bill Harry (editor of Mersey Beat and friend of the band), the musicians are Tony Sheridan (guitar et vocals), Rikki Barnes (saxophone), Roy Young (piano), Peter Wharton (bass) et Johnny Watson (drum). On that album, it’s sounds like a live recording but the notes say it was recorded in studio Rahlstedt on August 28, ’62. This seems wrong to me. There is a lot of good info on Sweet Georgia Brown since it was recorded by the Beatles, but these liner notes erroneously say that SGB was recorded in Hamburg’s Musikhalle on the wrong date, so maybe that was where Ya Ya was actually recorded live (but on what date ?) – but this is speculation on my part. What are your thoughts ? Thanks.