Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Review: "The Teacher – The Tony Sheridan Story"

Review by Vaughan Griggs

The Teacher – The Tony Sheridan Story 
by Alan Mann

In 2006, the author Alan Mann began researching and writing a biography of Beatles associate Tony Sheridan, with his full co-operation. However, in  2010  Tony abruptly withdrew his consent and threatened legal action if the book was published. Therefore, this book is not the full blown biography originally intended; instead it takes the form of interviews conducted between Alan and Tony, with added comments from the author throughout. It’s a slim volume (at 120 pages) but the question and answer format works well allowing Tony Sheridan to tell his story in his own words.

The book is divided into themed chapters, including Tony’s early years in skiffle bands in his home city of Norwich and his involvement in the 1950s rock ‘n’ roll scene. Of most interest to us of, course, is the early 1960s period in Hamburg when Tony befriended the Beatles and regularly appeared with them on stage. Famously, in 1961, they also recorded several songs as Tony’s backing band (their first recordings in a professional recording studio.) This section covers about a third of the book, but the other chapters are also of great interest as Tony led a very colourful life!

Tony Sheridan emerges from this excellent book as a fascinating, enigmatic character, brutally honest at times, but with a self destructive streak that hampered his career. He was, by all accounts, an impressive performer on stage and one of the best guitarists around, but he was unwilling to compromise to gain mainstream success. Consequently, his career never took off in the way it should have. Hopefully, this book will bring Tony’s work to a wider audience because as Alan Mann says,”There’s so much more to the man than as a minor footnote in a Beatles article.” Perhaps this book will also create enough interest for Tony’s full biography to be published one day.

The Teacher is available at:
and at the City Book Shop website:

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