The Beatles' First
The album The Beatles’ First is interesting to Beatles fans primarily for historical reasons rather than the quality of the tunes. It contains the first studio recording of a song by the musicians that would later become the core of The Beatles (Cry for a Shadow, an instrumental composed by John Lennon and George Harrison recorded on 22 June 1961).
By an large, the album is a derivative of the Tony Sheridan release called My Bonnie (January 2, 1962) featuring Tony Sheridan on vocals and The Beat Brothers backing him up. The Beat Brothers was an early iteration of The Beatles with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The band also featured original Beatles drummer Pete Best and, at times, original bassist, Stu Sutcliffe. The Beat Brothers was not a name used exclusively by The Beatles but rather a label used by whichever rotating lineup of musicians happened to be backing up Tony Sheridan at the time.
It’s a matter of debate as to which recorded tracks the Beatles played on My Bonnie as many where rerecorded using different musicians and the details are a bit sketchy. It’s often assumed that this repackaging of the songs where the tracks featuring The Beatles playing the instruments since these albums were not promoted as Tony Sheridan albums, but where marketed to Beatles fans. However it remains unclear whether The Beatles are playing on all the tracks that appear on this album.
It's generally accepted that the Beatles did not play on "What'd I Say", "Let's Dance", "Ruby Baby" and "Ya Ya" and did play on "Ain't She Sweet", "Cry for a Shadow", Why", "Nobody's Child", "My Bonnie" and "If You Love Me, Baby", "The Saints", and "Sweet Georgia Brown".
The Beatles' First was originally released by the German arm of Polydor under catalog numbers LPHM46432/SPLHM237632 and was only available in the U.K. as an import until 1967, when it was finally released there under the same title but with a different album cover and a different catalog number, 236-201.
Identical versions of the album were also released later in Canada with the title Very Together in 1969, as In the Beginning (Circa 1960) in the United States in 1970, and later as The Beatles in Hamburg in New Zealand.
The The Beatles’ First was also released as a “Deluxe Edition” double length CD in 1984 with stereo and mono version of the tracks as well as a couple bonus tracks, “Let's Twist Again” and “Top Ten Twist” (both performed by Tony Sheridan) and a couple additional derivations of the track “My Bonnie” in English and German.
In case that wasn’t enough, Polydor released yet another near facsimile of the album in 1984 as The Early Tapes of The Beatles.