Swanee River

To begin with, as The Beatles were developing as a band, they would be the support for vocalist, Tony Sheridan. While in Germany, they recorded “Swanee River” with Sheridan when they had the name of “The Beat Brothers”.

In Detail


Release Date: Unreleased
Recorded: 24th May, 1962
Songwriter: Stephen Foster
Producer: Bert Kaempfert


Tony Sheridan: vocals
John Lennon: electric guitar
Paul McCartney: bass guitar
George Harrison: electric guitar
Pete Best: drums
Roy Young: piano

Swanee River is an unreleased Beatles' song from their failed Decca audition tape


** Ringo Starr was not yet part of The Beatles at this time, of course.

Up to now, there is no official release. In fact, it may well be that the original recording no longer exists. This is because Polydor states that they’ve “never found it”. Although Sheridan’s album, “My Bonnie”, has a version of this song, it does not feature The Beatles.

So, unless something turns up, we may never get to hear The Beatles’ on the song, “Swanee River”. But, if anything does materialise, The Beatles Forum and Cavern Club will announce this here.

There are videos on YouTube which state their version includes The Beatles as the backing group, but their information is not factual. This is because the version recorded at Hamburg’s Studio Rahlstedt with The Beatles or Beat Brothers is non-existent as far as we know.

Of course, in the past, there have been other discoveries of “lost” Beatles’ recordings and artefacts. So, who knows, this gem may appear one day, imagine the fuss if it ever does!

Background And Lyrics

Written by Stephen Foster, “Swanee River” aka “Old Folks at Home”, dates back to 1851 and is a minstrel song.

Way down upon de Swanee Ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere’s wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere’s wha de old folks stay.

All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation,
And for de old folks at home.

All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb-rywhere I roam;
Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home!

2nd verse
All round de little farm I wandered
When I was young,
Den many happy days I squandered,
Many de songs I sung.
When I was playing wid my brudder
Happy was I;
Oh, take me to my kind old mudder!
Dere let me live and die.

3rd Verse
One little hut among de bushes,
One dat I love
Still sadly to my memory rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see de bees a-humming
All round de comb?
When will I hear de banjo strumming,
Down in my good old home?

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About Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Editor on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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