Short handwritten biographies of Tony Sheridan and his colleagues, the Beatles, were discovered by Bert Kaempfert`s daughter in 2001 at the family home. These were used in 1961 as an introduction to the press.
Biography Tony Sheridan
Born 21. May 1940 in Norwich, England, Anthony Esmond O`Sheridan McGinnity, son of an English mother and Irish father, Tony Sheridan grew up in a home strongly influenced by classical music and learned the violin at an early age. Artistically talented, he dropped out of grammar school to attend art school, and changed his violin for a guitar. In 1956 he formed his first (skiffle) group, visiting London in late 1957 and finally moving to Soho in 1958. There he quickly became a sought-after session musician, accompanying such U.S. artistes as Conway Twitty, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran on U.K. tours, and 1958/59 played lead guitar in Vince Taylor`s Playboys.
In producer Jack Goode`s BBC-T.V. “Oh Boy” show, Tony became the first young rock musician ever to be allowed to play live electric guitar on British T.V. 1959 saw Tony on tour with his trio together, with Brian Bennett and Brian “Liquorice” Locking (both later with Cliff Richard`s Shadows). It was on their last fateful tour with Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran that Eddie died in a car crash near Bristol.
In June 1960 Tony and the Jets (a make-shift group from Soho) went to Hamburg, appearing at the “Kaiserkeller”. Shortly after Tony moved to the Top Ten Cub on Hamburg`s Reeperbahn. Here he was accompanied by various groups: e.g. Gerry & the Pacemakers – but none was more destined to world repute than the Beatles, at that time featuring Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe. The Beatles did not only back Tony on stage – they all lived together for several months, during which time Paul, John and George learned much, calling Sheridan the “Teacher”, a term which Paul uses to this day when speaking of Tony.
Invited by producer / band leader Bert Kaempfert into the studio in 1961, Tony and the Beatles recorded several titles for Polydor. The ensuing recording helped pave the way for the Beatles` later career. (Later, Tony was awarded a gold L.P. for well over 1,000,000 sales of the Sheridan / Beatles L.P.). On their return to England, Ringo Starr joined Tony`s band in Hamburg, Ringo gaining much experience for his later move to the Beatles. A reunion with the Beatles (now with Ringo) took place at the opening of the Star-Club in 1962 where Tony and the Beatles appeared on the same bill.
During the early Hamburg years, Tony Sheridan recorded several albums for Polydor with diverse groups, the most popular recordings (e.g. the long-term hit “Skinny Minny”) being with the Big Six from Glasgow. Tony accepted a tour of Australia in 1964, resulting from the popularity of his song “Why”, which was currently in the Australian charts.
It was in Sydney that he visited the family of his Scots saxophonist, Alex Young. The younger Young brothers plagued Tony to demonstrate his guitar playing, which he was pleased to do – they later became AC/DC!!
After seven years in Germany, playing for audiences as far apart as the Kieler Ostseehalle and München`s “Zirkus Krone” (including everything in between!), as well as tours in Switzerland, Austria, France, United Kingdom, Israel, Czechoslovakia, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Tony accepted an offer to play for the U.S. troops in Vietnam. The initial gig was for two months – he stayed for nearly two years! It was during this period that his interest in religious themes, e.g. Buddhism, was awakened.
Back in Europe in 1969 Tony Sheridan appeared mainly in Germany and the U.K., having mutated to unplugged music of a predominately folk / blues genre.
The early seventies saw Tony in Hamburg at the NDR (North German Radio) where he moderated and compiled the first-ever purely blues programme, which proved immensely popular, especially in communist East Germany. Later he was to be invited by the state-run concert agency – on no less than six occasions – to tour that country, doing so with great success.
In 1978 came a different invitation, namely a jump to L.A., where he lived for a year, recording with Elvis Presley`s TCB Band, the first artiste to be so honoured after Presley`s death. After diverse activities (he opened the second Star-Club accompanied by the TCB Band) and musical experiments, 1986 found Sheridan in Milan, where he recorded an L.P. of his own material, joined by his old friend guitarist Albert Lee. In the following years, Tony remained active in the music business with varying formations, appearing – often sporadically – in the most diverse venues, worldwide, as he is still doing.
Tony Sheridan`s album "VAGABOND" has been released in July 2002. The compositions range from rock, r`n`b, country, to delightful ballads and critical songs (lyrics & music by TS).
In 2003 Tony Sheridan dared a successful excursion into film business: he played himself in a crime thriller for a German TV production - more than 7 million viewers were captivated by his performance!
The Live-DVD "Chantal meets Tony Sheridan", released in 2005, presents an unusual creative musical experimant, featuring Tony Sheridan live with a classical orchestra.
Today, again as a trio (together with two South American musicians - sometimes also with an English keyboarder), this extraordinary musician, whose life history reads like an exciting novel, presents an authentic and spontaneous live show with all manner of songs (including an enigmatic version of his old friend Paul`s “Yesterday”!) – and he continues to reach new fans, ensuring his ever growing popularity among music lovers of all age groups. He has no intention of ever retiring from the music business!
In 2008 Tony Sheridan was presented with a golden LP LIFETIME AWARD "for his unique and eminent contribution to the incomparable worldwide career of The Beatles" by the record label Polydor Universal!
These days Tony Sheridan lives together with his wife Anna in the boonies of Schleswig-Holstein in the north of Germany.
For 2009 and 2010 apart from several gigs in Germany visits to Mexico, Brazil, Holland, Italy, U.K., Norway, Sweden and Russia are planned.
A German-based film company is planning an international movie about Sheridan and the early Hamburg Days. Tony has been contracted to act as coach and advisor to the director.