Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A friend, also a Classic Rock music fan, recently told me the Beatles toured the U.S. three times in the '60s, but never performed in Canada.

Why? Perhaps some problem with their visas?

Exactly how many nations did the Beatles tour?

Also, in which states did they perform?
—George Palmer,

DEAR GEORGE: As you'll see from the list below, your pal is mistaken about the Beatles not appearing in Canada.

With valid visas no doubt, they visited Canada four times, playing to sell-out crowds once in Vancouver, once in Montreal, and three times in Toronto.

In just under four years, fans in 16 nations witnessed Beatlemania first hand: Australia; Canada; Denmark; England; France; Germany; Hong Kong; Italy; Japan; Netherlands; New Zealand; Philippines; Scotland; Spain; Sweden; and the United States.

Their U.S. tours took them to: California; Colorado; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Nevada; New Jersey; New York; Ohio; Oregon: Pennsylvania; Tennessee; Texas; Washington; and Wisconsin.

Our concert location review begins in November 1962, the first tour with John, Paul, George and Ringo (who replaced Pete Best in August). Not listed are their many shows in England. Likewise with appearances on radio, TV and elsewhere which simply do not qualify. The order is chronological by year then month:

November: Germany (Hamburg)
December: Germany (Hamburg)

January: Scotland (Elgin; Ross and Cromarty; Bridge of Allan; Aberdeen)
October: Scotland (Glasgow; Kirkcaldy; Dundee); Sweden (Karlstad; Stockholm; Goteborg; Boras; Eskilstuna)

January: France (Versailles; Paris)
February: USA (Washington; New York; Miami)
June: Denmark (Copenhagen); Netherlands (Blokker); Hong Kong; Australia (Adelaide; Melbourne; Sydney; Brisbane); New Zealand (Wellington; Auckland; Dunedin; Christchurch)
July: Sweden (Stockholm)
August: USA (San Francisco; Las Vegas; Seattle; Los Angeles; Denver; Cincinnati; New York; Atlantic City)
August: Canada (Vancouver)
September: USA: (Philadelphia; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Chicago; Detroit; Jacksonville; Boston; Baltimore; Pittsburgh; Cleveland;
New Orleans; Kansas City, Mo.; Dallas; New York)
September: Canada (Toronto; Montreal)

June: France (Paris; Lyon; Nice)
June: Italy (Milan; Genoa; Rome)
July: Spain (Madrid; Barcelona)
August: USA (New York; Atlanta; Houston; Chicago; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; Los Angeles; San Francisco)
August: Canada (Toronto)

June: Germany (Munich; Essen; Hamburg)
June: Japan (Tokyo)
July: Japan (Tokyo)
July: Philippines (Manila)
August: Canada (Toronto)
August: USA (Chicago; Detroit; Cleveland; Washington DC; Philadelphia; Boston; Memphis; Cincinnati; St. Louis; New York; Seattle; Los Angeles; San Francisco)

IZ ZAT SO? In August 1960, the Beatles performed outside the UK for the first time, in Hamburg, Germany.

They only worked there a couple of months, but returned in the spring of 1961 for a longer and more fortuitous stay.

Besides their own gig, the boys occasionally backed local favorite Tony Sheridan during his show at another club. Tony grew quite fond of the Beatles and asked them to back him on a May 1961 recording session, one arranged in May by Bert Kaempfert at the Polydor studio.

Of course they agreed and the event marked the first professional recording session ever for the Beatles.

Three years later, during 1964 Beatlemania, three Tony Sheridan-Beatles tracks from Hamburg became hit singles in the U.S.: “My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean)”; “Why”; and “Ain't She Sweet.”

The German release (July 1961) of “My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean),” backed with “The Saints,” thus became the first appearance on record of the Beatles — John, Paul, George, and Pete Best on drums. Both sides are credited to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers.

Despite the similarity between the Beat Brothers and the Beatles, Kaempfert and Polydor intended to credit Sheridan's band as the Beat Brothers no matter who he chose, and whether real brothers or not. That it ended up being the Beatles is pure happenstance. Note, however, the artist billing in what is their first mention in any U.S. publication:

“A new rock 'n roll team, Tony Sheridan and The Beatles, make their debut on the Polydor label with “My Bonnie." Sheridan was discovered by Polydor producer Bert Kaempfert while playing night spots in Hamburg's famous Reeperbahn” (Cash Box International News, January 13, 1962).

Reeperbahn, a street in Hamburg's St. Pauli district, is known for its wild night life and easily available prostitutes.

About his Reeperbahn days, John Lennon once said “I was born in Liverpool but I grew up in Hamburg.”

In April 1962, “My Bonnie”/“The Saints” came out in the U.S. (Decca 31382) with what is an unusual notation for that time: “Recorded in Europe by Deutsche Grammophon/Polydor.”

Two years later, references such as “Recorded in England,” etc., appeared frequently on U.S. recordings.

Even though the singer is Tony Sheridan, Beatles collectors usually pay in the $10,000 range for a near-mint copy of the U.S. Decca single — about three times as much as for the Polydor original.

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