Thursday, March 15, 2012

THE 'HOLY GRAIL' OF BEATLES RECORDS...'s only a $30,000 record. Consider it an investment.

To begin with, I find it ironic that the record label does not contain the word "Beatles". Promotional copies were made, and as a matter of fact, there are more Promo copies out there than Retail copies. Usuall it's the other way 'round; there's lots more retail copies of a record than promo copies. Radio Programmers tossed it. Consumers ignored it. Why? It's my contention that after listening a few seconds into the song, the reaction was "Yuck", and the record was heaved into the nearest receptacle. It didn't go anywhere at all upon its release. And I might just have come up with a reason why the record didn't ingratiate itself into the people's collective psyche...

It's my theory that this 1962-issued record didn't sell because of its slow intro which is over half a minute long. At the start, Tony Sheridan strums his guitar slowly and croons the chorus carefully. But, Kids wanted to rock and roll back then; they didn't want to hear an old slow number that their parents and grandparents had sung at family gatherings. So as a result, this record got bypassed by radio stations and consumers alike. They couldn't get past the long, slow intro. So where am I coming up with all this Jive?

A couple of years later, after The Beatles had become famous, MGM somehow got hold of "My Bonnie", chopped off the slow intro, and released the shortened version of the song in 1964. Plus, the Artist Name was changed to "The Beatles with Tony Sheridan", which probably helped. This issue takes off at 1000mph, and rocks out heartily. It's a surprisingly tough-sounding "My Bonnie" in that, just when you think it can't rock any harder, the instrumental break comes along and rocks WAY HARDER. "My Bonnie, a rock version?", you ask, and I say, "Oh Yeah". The record charted fairly high in Billboard, and got some radio airplay around the country. If the record charted, that means the record sold. It might be an old fuddy-duddy type song, but this version COOKS.

Of COURSE I'd love to have that "My Bonnie" single; I've heard that there are only 7 or 8 copies in existence. That ain't gonna happen, however. Four or five years ago, I found an online source that stocked this "My Bonnie"/"The Saints" single for a LOT less. I think I paid about $50 for it. And it'll do. The label is a very good reproduction, although the silver song/artist type is a bit different from what Decca Records used back in the early '60s. As far as counterfeits go, this one isn't bad. So how does the record sound? I can tell that it's not a first generation recording; the recording sounds just a bit muffled in terms of High Equalization. It's got that long slow intro that I referred to above, and really, I'm happy to have this; after all, I have the "My Bonnie" single on Decca, after all. Well, I do. In a way. The stamper that made this recording was probably recorded through a speaker, from a tape containing a recording of the song. It's real enough for me, and besides, I can't seem to find someone who'll front me $30,000 for an original copy. Something else you might not know: Remember the song "Wonderland By Night" by Bert Kaempfert and his orchestra? It is he who produced "My Bonnie"/"The Saints". Ol' Bert, he was really with it, wasn't he?

As for Tony Sheridan, he sounds like a harder-driving Elvis. He's a great vocalist and guitarist. He's from Britain but has lived in Europe for years and he's made quite a few good recordings in his time. I'm surprised he wasn't an international star. He's that good.


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