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Feb. 19, 2013 at 2:11 PM
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Beatles collaborator Sheridan dead at 72

BERLIN, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Tony Sheridan, a singer who collaborated with the Beatles during their formative years, has died in Hamburg, Germany, his family said on Facebook. He was 72.

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr's predecessor, drummer Pete Best, started playing backup for Sheridan in 1960 in Hamburg. The band made its first studio recordings with Sheridan the following year under the name The Beat Brothers, the Los Angeles Times said.

Among the songs they recorded were the Scottish folk track, "My Bonnie," with Sheridan singing lead; "Ain't She Sweet," which Lennon sang; and "Cry for a Shadow," an instrumental credited to Lennon and Harrison, the Times said.

Billboard.com said Sheridan continued performing in Hamburg while Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr headed back to England, where the Beatles became wildly popular in 1963.

"Tony was a good guy who we knew and worked with from the early days in Hamburg," McCartney said in a statement to the Times Monday. "We regularly watched his late-night performances and admired his style. He will be missed."

The Times said Sheridan took part in a Beatles fan convention in San Diego last year, and then returned to Germany where he recently underwent heart surgery.

He died Saturday, but the cause of his death has not been disclosed.

David Axelrod named NBC political analyst

NEW YORK, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Former White House senior adviser David Axelrod has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a senior political analyst, the U.S. network announced Tuesday.

Axelrod, 57, was named White House senior adviser after he ran Obama's 2008 election campaign. He left his White House post in 2011 to head up Obama's re-election campaign.

Axelrod is to contribute frequently across all broadcasts and platforms related to NBC and MSNBC.

"For nearly three decades, Axelrod guided successful campaigns at every level on the ballot," NBC said in a news release. "He began his career as a journalist, spending eight years as a political writer, columnist and City Hall bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune before stepping into politics in 1984. He founded Axelrod and Associates, a political and media consulting firm which became AKPD Message and Media. He later founded the communications management firm ASGK Public Strategies."

McCready didn't want to leave dog alone

HEBER SPRINGS, Ark., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Mindy McCready likely shot her dog before turning the gun on herself because she didn't want to leave her pet alone at her Arkansas home, a friend says.

"Mindy really loved her dog and that would not have been an act of malice at all," Fox News quoted the unidentified friend as saying. "It would have been more of a case where she just didn't want to leave the dog alone."

McCready, 37, fatally shot her dog, then herself Sunday afternoon.

The faded country music star had battled addictions to drugs and alcohol for years. Her two young sons were placed in foster care this month because, her family said, she wasn't taking care of them after her fiance's January death.

A memorial is being planned for McCready in Nashville, Fox News said.

Prince Michael Jackson joins 'ET' staff

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Prince Michael Jackson, the 16-year-old son of the late U.S. pop singer Michael Jackson, is working as a special correspondent for TV's "Entertainment Tonight."

Jackson began his new job Monday. One of his first assignments was to interview the stars of the upcoming family film "Oz the Great and Powerful."

"ET" correspondent Brooke Anderson welcomed Jackson to the show via Twitter, saying the teen "rocks" and is "impressive."

TVGuide.com noted Jackson had a link to the film he was covering since his father starred in the 1978 movie musical, "The Wiz," which was an adaptation of the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz."

Michael Jackson died in 2009 of an overdose of anesthesia and sedatives while trying to battle insomnia. He was 50.

The Grammy Award-winning recording artist is survived by his three children -- Prince Michael; daughter Paris, 14; and son Prince Michael II, also known as Blanket, 11.

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