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Author Topic: Calling Beatles Fans: Let's Settle This. Cry For A Shadow, Harrison or Sheridan  (Read 1257 times)
guitarfool2002
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« on: February 12, 2017, 09:08:13 PM »

This song, Cry For A Shadow recorded in Hamburg June 1961: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXsfza2EaEk

Continuing a conversation I'm having with other fans, that song recorded at a Tony Sheridan session has been credited as the Beatles without Tony, John-Paul-George-Pete. Yet the lead guitar playing, credited to George, sounds nothing like George sounded on anything from 1962-63 that we can hear, or even into his leads from 1964-65. It's a different sound, more technical and with a different playing style, than what George did in subsequent years. Compare George blazing on the guitar in June '61 to the George who was recording at Abbey Road in '63 struggling to do a lead solo break on One After 909 and even From Me To You, and then later fumbling around on a basic 12-bar blues on the unreleased jam "12 Bar Original" in 1965. It doesn't sound like the same guitarist.

I have reservations about Pete Best drumming too, in light of those early Abbey Road sessions and the Decca tapes, but that one is not so easy to challenge since we don't have much to compare from Pete the Beatle. Unless "Cry..." captured him doing the beat he could do the best (no pun).

Use your ears and listen close to "Cry For A Shadow"...I definitely hear Lennon doing that rhythm guitar, to my ears that is his Rickenbacker all the way. I hear Macca doing that bassline because he played like that on many Beatle recordings. Best...not so sure.

But is that Harrison or Sheridan playing the lead?
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2017, 09:32:06 PM »

Well to be fair two of the three specific songs you mentioned were outtakes for a reason.

I think it sounds like him. I think during those Beatlemania years their playing (more obviously live than on record) became slightly shoddy due to the fact they couldn't hear themselves all the time, and most of the guitar solos George did do weren't too technical because of the songs they were writing. 'Cry For A Shadow' was written as an instrumental rocker. Their later stuff was more poppy. If you're a guitarist, what he's playing isn't that difficult to figure out (granted I couldn't do it as well as him but there you go). It's odd how smooth he plays it, but I think it was just the fact that in Hamburg they were playing however many hours a night and could actually hear themselves. If you listen to the solo on 'My Bonnie' it has that same sound. It could be Tony, but I doubt if he had done the solo that they'd fail to mention it anywhere. That's just how I feel though.
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 10:34:36 PM »

It's not hard to figure out, but one other element stands out. Harrison's playing in the years 62-64 really doesn't have that much string bending. Even in his Chuck Berry cover solos, he slides into notes more than Chuck who would bend the same notes. I remember an interview with George where he said that was due to the heavy gauge strings they would have to use in those days, and another interview I think with Paul where he said in the early days even in Hamburg, they occasionally would cut piano strings to replace broken ones on their guitars, as Paul still played 2nd or 3rd chair guitar or piano in the band most of the time unless (and until) Stu wasn't there thumping away on the bass.

It came down to Harrison's habit of sliding or hammering on into notes rather than bending them, I think that was where the interview question came up.

Consider the lines played on "Cry..." have a ton of whole-step bends and held bends, which Harrison really didn't do even when they could either access or afford lighter gauge strings. I think he developed that sliding style heard prominently in 62-64 having to cover all those songs by the likes of Berry and others where string bending was originally used, but Harrison had strings which didn't allow for it so he slid or hammered into the notes.

It wouldn't make sense from a guitarist perspective to not bend, say, the G string because it was the old-school wound G or a B string which was too heavy to bend for whatever reason, yet have an "early" recording from June '61 where whole step bends all over the neck are a major part of the lead guitar work.

I'm not saying it isn't George if he said it was just them playing at that Sheridan session, but at the same time how did or could George in his formative Hamburg years when he was still learning from Sheridan be playing hotter and more technical lines than he played over the next 3-4 years when ostensibly all the hours of playing would develop his style even more? Even into 65-66, sometimes the hotter and more standout lead guitar solos on Beatles records would feature Paul (Ticket To Ride, Another Girl...full of bends...Taxman, Good Morning...Hendrix/psych/Indian influences) while sessions we have from 1963 have George fumbling around on easier songs like One After 909 and even I'll Follow The Sun which apparently took him multiple takes to develop according to Emerick and it's a basic as a solo can get...

It just sounds like a style other than George, not better or not cutting down George Harrison obviously, but it seems a lot more aggressive and technical than George would play in the next few years. We do have "My Bonnie" to compare and that solo is definitely Sheridan, from the same batch of sessions. Put Bonnie and Cry side by side and it sounds like the same lead guitarist to some ears.
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 10:56:06 PM »

Oh, well if Tony played lead on 'My Bonnie' he probably played it on 'Cry For a Shadow'. I've just never read anywhere that he had played that solo, and it's weird that the Anthology wouldn't mention that.
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2017, 04:04:33 AM »

You make a good point that the playing seems to be quite advanced for Harrison at the time. However, I think all the evidence suggests that Harrison did it. Remember that the songwriting credit includes Harrison because, according to Lennon, Harrison did the solo. I think the explanation might be that Cry for a Shadow, as Beatle Bop, was one of those songs that the band had been playing a lot in Hamburg and Harrison had had a lot of time to practice it. I can't think of any specific examples right now but if memory serves his guitar work on the 1962 Star-Club recording is quite strong too and I think it's because these are songs that Harrison had spent a long time working on and perfecting.
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 04:39:07 AM »

You make a good point that the playing seems to be quite advanced for Harrison at the time. However, I think all the evidence suggests that Harrison did it. Remember that the songwriting credit includes Harrison because, according to Lennon, Harrison did the solo. I think the explanation might be that Cry for a Shadow, as Beatle Bop, was one of those songs that the band had been playing a lot in Hamburg and Harrison had had a lot of time to practice it. I can't think of any specific examples right now but if memory serves his guitar work on the 1962 Star-Club recording is quite strong too and I think it's because these are songs that Harrison had spent a long time working on and perfecting.

According to the late Ian MacDonald, whom I trust implicitly, "CFAS" and "Ain't She Sweet" were recorded on June 22, 1961 with Best on drums and Harrison on a twin pick-up Gretsch Duo Jet. No Tony Sheridan in sight.
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2017, 06:31:34 AM »

It's George. No question in my mind.
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 07:52:33 AM »


According to the late Ian MacDonald, whom I trust implicitly, "CFAS" and "Ain't She Sweet" were recorded on June 22, 1961 with Best on drums and Harrison on a twin pick-up Gretsch Duo Jet. No Tony Sheridan in sight.

This is where things get interesting when researching and reading about these things:

George didn't have the Gretsch Duo Jet in June 1961 when they did the sessions with Tony Sheridan and Bert Kaempfert producing them.

The famous story is how George bought the Gretsch from a sailor who was the original owner, and paid him 70 pounds (which the seller remembered was crumpled up and smelled like beer, as if it had been payments from a series of gigs) while still owing the man 20 on the guitar. George wrote him an IOU for the 20 which he according to legend never paid in full.  Smiley

But there is more to it. During that run in Hamburg when they recorded with Sheridan, George was looking for a "good" guitar to replace his Futurama, which was a cheap Strat-style knockoff that was not very playable. Word got around that a guy was selling a Fender Stratocaster, and George made an appointment to meet him and buy the Strat. Rory Storm's band heard about the Strat for sale too, and the guitarist for Rory's band woke up earlier than George the day of the meeting, and bought the guitar out from under George. According to one report from a band member who was there, this actually caused a physical fight between Lennon and one of Rory's guys, George was upset, and the Beatles didn't speak to the Hurricanes for a bit after that episode. But George didn't get his "good" guitar. This "good" guitar, the Strat, was also the signature guitar of Hank Marvin from the Shadows who the Beatles were copying (or mocking according to some Beatles) on "Cry For A Shadow"...Fenders were not readily available in the UK in 1961, so having one was a pretty big deal among local bands.

When they returned to Liverpool from this '61 Hamburg stint somewhere around early July '61, or thereabouts, this is when George bought the Duo Jet from the sailor after learning it was up for sale. Photos taken of the band that summer show George with the newly-bought Gretsch Duo Jet and John with the Rickenbacker 325, it was that summer after returning from Hamburg around early July that the band had their classic early instrument lineup in place.

So George didn't own the Duo Jet June 22 1961 when they did the sessions. But what did he use?

Tony Sheridan has said the band used some of his equipment, his guitars, for that session. Frustratingly, nearly everyone who hears it cites John's rhythm guitar part as coming from his first Rickenbacker 325, yet Sheridan said it was one of his guitars...I still hear the Rickenbacker every time, but there's the separation between ears, memories, and the like coming into play.

It wasn't the Duo Jet because Harrison didn't own it until several weeks later, logic might suggest it wasn't the Futurama because the action on that was impossibly high according to George and it wasn't very playable especially for bends (see my earlier comments about that issue with the string bending)...and Tony Sheridan has said the band borrowed his gear to record, while making a claim about Lennon's guitar that most listeners and Beatle researchers hear as the Rickenbacker...The suggestion is also that Sheridan's Gibson 175 was used, which is a hollowbody jazz guitar, but photos taken of Sheridan on stage with the Beatles show him playing an acoustic outfitted with a De'Armond pickup...and i think other sources have mentioned that guitar too, as in how well Tony could play fast lines and bends on a guitar like that.

It's things like this that make it both interesting and frustrating, and I usually go back to the 'ear test'.  Smiley  Does it sound like George? Then it's a matter of opinion.
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 08:18:57 AM »

Addendum to the above: This was the band's "return" to Hamburg after the first stay ended badly with George being discovered as underage (17) and deported and a few band members ending up in jail. After George turned 18 in 1961, they returned in March to play the Top Ten club and stayed until the first week of July '61. During this time they also hooked up more formally with Tony Sheridan which led to the Kaempfert sessions, and Paul got his Hofner violin bass after taking over the chair fully from Stu who dropped out.

After they returned to Liverpool, July '61, this is where and when the photos start showing the classic Beatle instrument lineup: John with the Rickenbacker 325, George with his newly bought Gretsch Duo Jet, and Paul with that first Hofner violin bass (with the pickups close together). All the forthcoming publicity photos of the band from late '61 into '62 show that lineup. It came together the summer of '61 after that second Hamburg engagement ended and they returned home. They finally had pro instruments and the "Cavern" look which was there until Brian Epstein began slowly polishing them up and ditching the leathers and boots in favor of tailored stage clothes over the next year.
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2017, 10:35:21 AM »

Wow, what a read. Fantastic! If only all topics were like this. Grin
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2017, 01:22:18 PM »

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about the Fabs
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2017, 01:46:45 PM »

Damn, but I love threads like these.  Grin The threads that talk about certain musical instruments I used by The Beatles, or Carl's guitars. I may not have the "technical know how", as I don't play an instrument(despite owning a bass), but I find stuff like this endlessly fascinating.
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2017, 05:32:38 PM »

The playing on this song doesn't sound any more difficult than George's solo on Till There Was You, so I find it easy to believe it was him:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeYSUPQVoRI
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2017, 07:22:29 PM »

It's not about difficulty, but more about style and signature licks. Til There Was You is a great solo, but not at all the same technique or style as Cry For A Shadow. Miles apart, actually. I've learned and played both for years now - Not the same techniques needed to play them, especially string bending. Let's assume what 99% of everyone assumes and says, that it is indeed George playing lead on that June 1961 recording. Maybe the important point to consider is how and why George at 18 could play such rocking, balls-to-the-wall lead guitar and do string bending with that kind of accuracy in a studio setting (well, it was a gymnasium but it was Bert Kaempfert's studio room of choice and he cut his big orchestral hits in that same gym...), yet it took until 1968 or so when he was hanging out more with Eric Clapton to hear him develop anything like a signature voice on guitar using string bending. Was he deliberately holding back?

I'd also say if Emerick is correct, the guitarist who played that way at age 18 should not have had such a hard time playing "I'll Follow The Sun" at age 21.
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2017, 11:52:20 PM »

So who plays lead on the other Sheridan tracks? To me, they sound like the same guy that plays Cry For a Shadow. I guess I had seriously underestimated Tony Sheridan as a guitar player. I still think the best vocal on that album is the one John did, though.
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2017, 04:48:39 AM »

I guess I had seriously underestimated Tony Sheridan as a guitar player.

Georgie Fame has described Sheridan as "a phenomenal guitarist" (Pete Frame, The Restless Generation, p. 422)
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2017, 07:20:04 AM »

I'd also recommend the Bob Spitz book for additional information on Tony Sheridan and his days in Hamburg with The Beatles. The accounts given in that book suggest that Tony Sheridan was indeed a much better guitarist and musician overall than a lot of the histories have noted, and that Sheridan was in fact a terrific lead guitarist with a lot of technical skill. He personally, along with the way he performed his shows, was a major influence on the Beatles in those formative Hamburg years especially in making them a top-flight band who could rock the house. He also seemed to be something of a mentor with the Beatles as his apprentices, from not only expanding their setlist but also musically in terms of advancing them on the guitar. It may have been exactly what the young band needed, and it can't be underestimated what kind of an impact Sheridan had on the Beatles as they watched an actual pro play those kinds of shows where they could see how he worked the crowds and paced his sets, not to mention his guitar work.

What that book and others suggest too is that Sheridan was almost self-destructive in that he had all the goods to be a star, both musically and the ability to put on a rocking live show, but his priority often seemed to be partying and getting f***ed up on booze and the like. He just didn't care about the next level, he liked to party and drink and play rock and roll as he did in Hamburg and didn't seem to want to expand from where he already was as a performer.
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2017, 07:26:07 AM »

So who plays lead on the other Sheridan tracks? To me, they sound like the same guy that plays Cry For a Shadow. I guess I had seriously underestimated Tony Sheridan as a guitar player. I still think the best vocal on that album is the one John did, though.

It does sound like the same guitarist, and that is another element that has been in my mind for years leading up to this revisit of the topic.

Sheridan played the leads on those other Polydor session tracks where he's singing, but even with them there is a confusing mess that followed. When the Beatles hit big, especially in the US in '64, any label that had something remotely connected to the Beatles rushed to put it out somehow to cash in. And that included adding new tracks to "sweeten" and fix some of the Sheridan tracks, even where the Beatle connection was minimal at best.

That is where some of the controversy surrounding session legend Bernard "Pretty" Purdie seems to have been pinpointed: Purdie got hammered for years for saying he was called in to fix Beatles drum tracks, and now it seems to be more accepted even with the skeptics that it was some of these leftover Hamburg Tony Sheridan tracks which were indeed fixed to jump on the Beatles bandwagon and cash cow in '64. Anything with "Beatles" in '64 was guaranteed to turn a quick buck.
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2017, 11:23:34 AM »

I know that this doesn't have anything to do with the subject of this thread, but since it's a Beatles question I thought I'd just throw it in here. I hope guitarfool2002 doesn't mind. My question is about the version of Please Please Me on the "Introducing The Beatles" album. Has this particular version of the song, with a lyric flub from John, ever been officially released on cd? If not, is this the only Beatles "rarity" that is to this day not readily available?
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« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2017, 12:31:02 PM »

I know that this doesn't have anything to do with the subject of this thread, but since it's a Beatles question I thought I'd just throw it in here. I hope guitarfool2002 doesn't mind. My question is about the version of Please Please Me on the "Introducing The Beatles" album. Has this particular version of the song, with a lyric flub from John, ever been officially released on cd? If not, is this the only Beatles "rarity" that is to this day not readily available?

The US Album "The Early Years" has this mix.
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« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2017, 01:27:28 PM »

Thanks for that info. Is it available on cd?
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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2017, 01:53:45 PM »

I have the "extended" UK version of Lewisohn's "Tune In", but I can't get to it right now. Does Lewisohn address the lead guitar on this song? As I recall, he dug up a ton of info on those sessions. He goes into excruciatingly awesome detail on the sessions.
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« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2017, 11:00:12 PM »

I'd also recommend the Bob Spitz book for additional information on Tony Sheridan and his days in Hamburg with The Beatles. The accounts given in that book suggest that Tony Sheridan was indeed a much better guitarist and musician overall than a lot of the histories have noted, and that Sheridan was in fact a terrific lead guitarist with a lot of technical skill. He personally, along with the way he performed his shows, was a major influence on the Beatles in those formative Hamburg years especially in making them a top-flight band who could rock the house. He also seemed to be something of a mentor with the Beatles as his apprentices, from not only expanding their setlist but also musically in terms of advancing them on the guitar. It may have been exactly what the young band needed, and it can't be underestimated what kind of an impact Sheridan had on the Beatles as they watched an actual pro play those kinds of shows where they could see how he worked the crowds and paced his sets, not to mention his guitar work.

What that book and others suggest too is that Sheridan was almost self-destructive in that he had all the goods to be a star, both musically and the ability to put on a rocking live show, but his priority often seemed to be partying and getting f***ed up on booze and the like. He just didn't care about the next level, he liked to party and drink and play rock and roll as he did in Hamburg and didn't seem to want to expand from where he already was as a performer.
So maybe Sheridan was party responsible for teaching the Fabs how to "mach shau" (sp?), and continue the party after the show was done? Fortunately, the Beatles didn't party nearly as hard as Tony.
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2017, 06:25:31 AM »

I have the "extended" UK version of Lewisohn's "Tune In", but I can't get to it right now. Does Lewisohn address the lead guitar on this song? As I recall, he dug up a ton of info on those sessions. He goes into excruciatingly awesome detail on the sessions.

Because of this discussion, I checked my (non-extended) copy the other day. He accepts the version that Harrison is playing the lead and that Lennon is playing a borrowed guitar. For what it's worth.

By the way, I really envy those who have the extended version. This book has brought me a great deal of joy over the last few years.
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2017, 07:50:07 AM »

I have the "extended" UK version of Lewisohn's "Tune In", but I can't get to it right now. Does Lewisohn address the lead guitar on this song? As I recall, he dug up a ton of info on those sessions. He goes into excruciatingly awesome detail on the sessions.

Because of this discussion, I checked my (non-extended) copy the other day. He accepts the version that Harrison is playing the lead and that Lennon is playing a borrowed guitar. For what it's worth.

By the way, I really envy those who have the extended version. This book has brought me a great deal of joy over the last few years.

It's really worth it. I bought it off Amazon UK back in 2014. It looks like new and used copies are still available on both Amazon US and UK.
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