I've met Pete a few times over the years and found him to be a charming man, and he was very helpfull to me when I was setting up my original Beatles tribute band, we had our own Pete in the band you see! and where called The Silver Beatles!, anyway I found him to be a great guy. The only comment I can add to his drumming abilities is that when he appeared on stage for the first time at the Beatles festival in Liverpool, he played drums with his brother also playing drums, all the fills etc where not done by Pete but by his brother!, he still to this day has Two drummers on stage. I think its a combination of the Two Pete's drumming and his personality was different to the others, in Hamburg he did not go around with the lads, didn't take the Prellies, bed the local prostitutes, basically he wasn't a Beatle!. There was a lot of discussion in Liverpool at the time over Neil Aspinal's brief affair with Pete's mom, the age difference in those days was huge, and having a baby out of wedlock, it was covered up of course and another reasons why Brian Epstien steered clear of letting the UK press know about the truth of how he first met The Beatles re: the Raymound Jones story, The Bob Wooler incident, The photographs from Hamburg, The paternity suites pay off involving McCartney, all would have shown the boy's as far from the cuddley mop tops Brian was presenting to the UK press.
Wow Glenn thats was very interesting stuff, you are so full of Beatle info, lucky you being able to talk with Pete, he sounds a great guy, I can see why he was sacked he didnt really fit in with the others did he. Neils affair with his mum well didnt know about that.
Here is a piece I wrote about Pete. I also co-wrote a book with him called 'The Best Years Of The Beatles', but it was only published in Enjgland.
BEST, PETE. Drummer with the Beatles from 1960-1962 and, at one point, the most popular member of the group among the majority of Liverpool fans. In fact, in 1962, Mersey Beat was to observe that he was: ‘a figure with mystique, darkly good-looking and seemingly the one likely to emerge as the most popular Beatle.’ He was born Peter Randolph Best in Madras, India on 24 November 1941. His English parents were stationed in India at the time, where his father, John, was an army physical training instructor and his mother, Mona, was a nurse in the Red Cross. Following the birth of Pete’s brother, Rory in 1944, the family sailed to England, moving to Liverpool and initially settling into a flat in Casey Street. Two years later they moved to 8 Haymans Green, a 15-room Victorian house in the West Derby district of the city. When, at the age of 16, Pete began to take an interest in skiffle and rock ‘n’ roll music, he was encouraged by his parents. As so many friends were dropping in to see Pete and Rory, their mother suggested a novel idea – they could have a meeting place of their own by utilising the seven adjoining basement rooms. The idea developed until they decided to turn the basement into a coffee bar-style venue, which was similar to Lowlands, a nearby club. Mona (generally known to everyone as ‘Mo’) and her sons, together with about ten friends, began work on converting the basement. They had decided to pen during the week as a coffee bar – where youngsters could dance to jukebox music – but would hire live groups for the weekend. One of their helpers was Ruth Morrison, the girlfriend of George Harrison, who suggested that the Les Stewart Quartet, of which George was a member, could play at the club. They were currently appearing at the Lowlands club, which was situated on the opposite side of the street, 50 yards down from the Bests’ home. As a result, George and Ken Brown, another member of the quartet, came around to see Mo. However, group leader Les Stewart didn’t want to appear in the new coffee club, which Mo called the Casbah, and he had an argument with Brown. Brown left the group and George followed. George then turned up with John Lennon and Paul McCartney and they teamed up with Brown as a quartet, assuming the former name of John’s skiffle group, the Quarry Men, to begin their residency. The group didn’t use a drummer at the time. The club officially opened on Saturday 29 August 1959 and within a year they enrolled 1,000 members. On Saturday 10 October 1959 there was a dispute because Brown was unable to play, yet Mrs best still paid him a share of the group’s fee. As a result, John, George and Paul walked out on their residency and sacked Brown. Ken then encouraged Pete top form a new outfit with him and to take over a residency at the club. They called themselves the Blackjacks (the original name of Lennon’s first group). Brown played rhythm, Charles Newby played lead, Bill Barlow played bass and Pete became the group’s drummer. Mo bought Pete a drum kit from Blackler’s store (where George Harrison was to work for a time) and the group repertoire comprised numbers from rock ‘n’ roll acts such as Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins. In the meantime, the Quarry Men underwent a number of name changes ranging from Johnny & the Moondogs to the Beatals to the Silver beetles, and enlisted the services of drummer Tommy Moore. As the Silver Beatles, they toured Scotland, backing Johnny Gentle and then began appearing in Liverpool, mainly at the Jacaranda Coffee club, the Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard and the Institute, Neston. By this time they had changed their name to the Beatles. On 6 August 1959 their Grosvenor gig was cancelled when the Wallasey Corporation withdrew promoter Les Dodd’s licence to operate there and that evening they dropped intro the Casbah club, where they saw Pete perform with the Blackjacks. His new blue mother-of-pearl drum kit particularly impressed them. At that time they had accepted their first Hamburg booking, which was to commence on 13 august. However, they were without a drummer as Tommy Moore had just left them. One afternoon Paul phoned Pete at home and asked: “How’d you like to come to Hamburg with the Beatles?” Aware that the Blackjacks were on the point of disbanding and excited by the prospect of foreign climes Pete accepted and successfully auditioned for the band at the Wyvern club. After playing together for 20 minutes for the band at the Wyvern club. After playing together for 20 minutes on numbers such as Shakin’ All Over, they told him, “You’re in!” The line-up of the Beatles now comprised John Lennon (rhythm/vocals), Paul McCartney (rhythm/vocals), George Harrison (lead/vocals), Stuart Sutcliffe (bass/vocals) and Pete Best (drums). Arriving in Hamburg they discovered they were not playing at the Kaiserkeller as they had assumed, but at a smaller club called the Indra, which was further down, at the seedier end of the Grosse Freiheit. After several weeks at the Indra, they then played at the Kaiserkeller and when their season was coming to an end, they had intended to move on to the Top Ten Club in the nearby Reeperbahn. The groups’ sleeping quarters were cramped ones at the rear of the Bambi Kino, owned by Bruno Koschmider, who ran the Kaiserkeller. Stu Sutcliffe moved out to live in Astrid Kirchherr’s house and, when Koschmider found the group intended to move on to the rival Top Ten, George was deported for being under age. John, Paul and Pete moved into the dormitory of the Top Ten, intending to play for a season at the club as a quartet with Stuart. As Pete and Paul needed to collect the rest of their belongings from the Bambi Kino, they crept along there one night to pack. In the windowless rooms, there was no light so some lateral thinking had then pinning condoms into as frayed tapestry in the hall and then lighting them. The condoms singed the tapestry and that evening the police came and arrested the two of them for allegedly trying to set fire to the premises. Pete and Paul left their equipment behind and John remained in Hamburg for a further week, while Stuart decided to stay on with Astrid. Mona best phoned Peter Eckhorn, who sent their kit over by ship, and the group then intended to take up a residency at Williams’ new club, the top Ten. Unfortunately, it burned to the ground and the Beatles were left with few bookings. Mo got to work, offering them several gigs at the Casbah, settling up some promotions of her own to keep them in work, and Pete and Mo began to take over the bookings for the group. They were, in effect, managing the Beatles at the time. Through Bob Wooler, the group were booked by Brian Kelly for Litherland Town Hall on 27 December 1960 – a highlight in their local career. Their baptism of fire in Hamburg had made them an exceptionally dynamic outfit. When recalling this time to Beatles’ biographer, Hunter Davies, Pete said: “When we came back from Germany I was playing using my bass drum very loud and laying down a very solid beat. This was unheard of at the time in Liverpool as all the groups were playing in the Shadows’ style. Even Ringo in Rory’s group copied our beat and it wasn’t long before most drummers in Liverpool were playing the same style. This way of drumming had a great deal to do with the big sound we were producing.” This style of playing (which Pete had developed in Germany) earned the tag ‘the Atom Beat’, and Pete was regarded as one of the ‘Pool’s leading drummers. Issue No. 2 of Mersey Beat, published on 20 July 1961, devoted its entire front page to the story of the Beatles’ Hamburg recording and Brian Epstein ordered 144 copies of that particular issue. When Bob Wooler wrote his report on the Beatles’ impact locally (in Mersey Beat on 31 August 1961), the only Beatle he named was Pete, describing the group as’ ‘musically authoritative and physically magnetic, example the mean, moody magnificence of drummer Pete Best – a sort of teenage Jeff chandler.’ It was due to pressure from Mo and Bob Wooler that Ray McFall eventually decided to book the Beatles at the Cavern and their rise to local fame continued at a meteoric pace. Pete and Mo continued to act as unofficial managers and agents for the group, arranging all their gigs and negotiating the fees. Pete Best was emerging as the most popular Beatle among the fans. Bob Wooler considered him the Beatles’ biggest asset and said that it was principally Best who was the attraction at the Aintree Institute and Litherland Town Hall gigs. Due to his popularity, he was encouraged to introduce his own singing spot, Peppermint twist into the act. Next, Bob Wooler suggested something unprecedented – place Pete in front of the other three members of the group. This unusual line-up was presented only once – at the St Valentine’s Dance on 14 February 1961 at Litherland Town Hall – because the stage was mobbed when the girls surged forward and almost pulled him off. Reports in Mersey Beat and comments by people involved in the local scene confirm Beast’s huge local appeal. One story related how girls slept in his garden overnight just to be near him! Promoter Ron Appleby was to comment: “He was definitely the big attraction with the group and did much to establish their popularity during their early career.” In 1963, the Cavern doorman, Paddy Delaney, was to recall: “Before the Beatles recorded, Pete was inclined to be more popular with the girls than any other member of the group. There were several reasons why I believe he was so popular. Girls were attracted by the fact that he wouldn’t smile, even though they tried to make him. They also tried to attract his attention on stage, but he wouldn’t look at them. When he left the Beatles there was exclamations of surprise. ‘the Beatles will never be the same without him’…’He was the Beatles’…’They’ve taken away the vital part’, were comments I heard.” When Brian Epstein took over the management reigns, It was Pete who discussed gigs and fees with him. The two men had an amicable relationship, although Pete was to point out that Brian once attempted to seduce him and had asked if he would come to a hotel and stay with him overnight. Pete politely told him to forget it – and nothing further was said. I961 was an event-packed year, in which the group’s Cavern bookings increased. They went on another trip to Hamburg, during which Stuart Sutcliffe left the band. The Beatles also recorded in Hamburg with Tony Sheridan and Bert Kaempfert. Astrid Kirchherr fashioned Stuart’s hair in a style that was developed by Jurgen Vollmer for John and Paul in Paris and later became known as the ‘moptop.’ Astrid never offered to style Pete’s hair and no one ever asked him to adopt the hairstyle. They began 1962 with a Decca recording audition and were confirmed as Liverpool’s No.1 group in a January issue on Mersey Beat. On 7 March 1962 they made their broadcasting debut on Teenager’s Turn in Manchester. When they recorded their second radio appearance on 11 June, Pete was mobbed by the Manchester girls, while john, Paul and George managed to make their way to the coach. When Pete finally managed to break free and join the others, he was reprimanded by Paul’s father, who accused him of hogging the limelight. That month, Pete learned by accident that Decca had rejected the group. The other members knew about it, but no one had bothered to inform Pete. He said: “I was hurt because I was the last to know about it. The others knew a couple of weeks earlier. They let it slip out in a casual conversation one day.” Pete was also to comment: “When I did eventually learn our fate, their lame excuse was that they had all thought I would take the result extremely badly.” When news of the Parlophone deal came through, Mersey Beat ran the story on the front page, featuring a photograph of Pete Best with the caption: “Congratulations to Pete, Paul, John and George.” The Beatles were now on the brink of success, but a number of incidents hinted at a covert plan to get rid of Pete. Apart from the fact that the others had not immediately informed him of the Decca audition result, a similar situation occurred regarding the Parlophone contract – they just didn’t bother to tell him. When Pete was chatting with Paul and mentioned he was considering buying a Ford Capri, Paul told him: “If you take my advice you won’t buy it, that’s all. You’d be better saving your money.” On Wednesday 15 August 1962, following their lunchtime gig at the Cavern, Pete asked John what time he and Neil Aspinall would collect him for the customary lift in the van the next day. John said: “No, don’t bother. I’ve got other arrangements,” and rushed away. Brian was still in the Cavern and asked Pete if he could come and see him at the office the next morning. Pete saw nothing unusual in this – he was the one who met with Brian regularly to discuss forthcoming gigs. He arrived at NEMS the next day, driven by Neil, and went to meet Brian in his office. The manager seemed unusually flustered and blurted out: “The boys want you out and Ringo in. They don’t think you’re a good enough drummer, Pete. And George Martin doesn’t think you’re a good enough drummer.” When Pete asked him: “Does Ringo know yet?”, Brian told him that he was joining the band on the coming Saturday. Then the phone rang – it was someone asking if Pete had been given the news. Brian asked Pete if he could fulfil the remaining three bookings until Ringo replaced him. Stunned, Pete said “Yes”, then left, in somewhat of a daze. When Pete rejoined Neil downstairs he told him the news and the two retreated to the Grapes to discuss it over a drink. Neil was furious and threatened to resign as the Beatles’ road manager, but Pete told him to stay with the group as they were about to become successful. When Neil phoned Mo, she was furious and spent the afternoon trying to contact Epstein by phone – in vain. She then managed to talk to George Martin on the phone and he denied that he had ever suggested sacking Pete. All he would say was that he would prefer having a session drummer that he was familiar with in a recording studio. In fact, this was confirmed when he used a session drummer even after Ringo had joined the group. Martin actually told Mo: “I never suggested that Pete Best must go. All I said was that for the purposes of the Beatles’ first record I would rather use a session man. I never thought that Brian Epstein would let him go. He seemed to be the most saleable commodity as far as looks went. It was a surprise when I learned that they had dropped Pete. The drums were important to me for a record, but they didn’t matter much otherwise. Fans don’t pay particular attention to the quality of the drumming.” At that point in time it was not uncommon for A&R men to use session drummers. Ringo was to experience something similar when he arrived at the recording studios on Tuesday 11 September 1962. A session drummer, Andy White, was present. White also played drums on P.S. I Love You, while Ringo was handed a pair of maracas. Martin told Beatles’ biographer, Hunter Davies: “He (Ringo) couldn’t do a roll – and still can’t – though he’s improved a lot since. Andy was the kind of drummer I needed. Ringo was only used to ballrooms. It was obviously best to use someone with experience.” Ringo himself was to tell Davies how shocked he was to arrive at the session and find another drummer there: “I thought, ‘that’s the end’, they’re doing a Pete Best on me.” The decision to sack Pete was not a sudden one. It had been claimed that Paul and George had been overheard talking to Bob Wooler in the Grapes about sacking Pete, once they had john’s approval. Their next step was to approach Epstein and tell him. Epstein then considered Johnny Hutchinson as the best replacement and contacted Hutchinson to offer him the job. Hutchinson turned him down – he didn’t have a good opinion of the group. Years later, Hutchinson was to tell broadcaster Spencer Leigh: “Brian asked me to join the Beatles and I said, ‘I wouldn’t join the Beatles for a gold clock. There’s only one group as far as I’m concerned and that’s the Big Three. The Beatles can’t make a better sound than that, and Pete Best is a very good friend of mine. I couldn’t do the dirty on him.” On the evening of Best’s sacking, Epstein was surprised to find that Pete didn’t turn up for the gig at the Riverpark Ballroom. Neil told him: “What do you expect?” Brian got Hutchinson to fill in the three bookings until Ringo was able to join. That evening when Neil questioned Paul and John about it al, he was told: “It’s got nothing to you with you. You’re only the driver.” The story in Mersey Beat read: “BEATLES CHANGE DRUMMER! “Ringo Starr (former drummer with Rory Storm & the Hurricanes) has joined the Beatles, replacing Pete Best on drums. Ringo has admired the Beatles for years and is delighted with his new engagement. Naturally he is tremendously excited about the future. “The Beatles comment, ‘Pete left the group by mutual agreement. There were no arguments or difficulties, and this has been an entirely amicable decision.’ “On Tuesday September 4th, the Beatles will fly to London to make recordings at EMI Studios. They will be recording numbers that have been specially written for the group, which they have received from their recording manager, George Martin.” The Beatles’ comment, issued by Brian Epstein, was false. Pete was to tell Mersey Beat: “The news came as a big surprise to me as I had had no hint that if could happen and didn’t even have the opportunity of discussing it with the rest of the group.” Local fans went wild with fury and hundreds of letters and petitions of protest were sent to Mersey Beat. When the Beatles were due to appear at the Cavern with Ringo on Sunday 19 August 1962, the Best fans were out in force. Ray McFall arranged for Brian Epstein to have a bodyguard and, during scuffles, George Harrison was given a black eye. Fans were chanting “Peter for ever, Ringo never” and “Pete is Best.” However, the protests didn’t last long. George was to write to a fan: “Ringo is a much better drummer and he can smile – which is a bit more than Pete could do. It will seem different for a few weeks, but I think that the majority of our fans will soon be taking Ringo for granted.” To his credit, John Lennon was later to say: “We were cowards when we sacked him.” Added to the devastating news for Pete Best that after two years’ unblemished service with the band, he was unceremoniously sacked when they were finally about to achieve success, was the fact that his name was tarnished. Epstein attempted to soften the harshness of the group’s decision by implying that Pete wasn’t a good enough drummer. The fellow Merseyside musicians disputed this as did fans who actually heard him play. He genuinely contributed to the Beatles’ success and was an integral part of them as they established themselves as the No I band on Merseyside. There had never been a single complaint about his drumming and he had developed the ‘Atom Beat’, which other drummers had copied. In 1984, Geoff Nugent of the Undertakers was to tell Spencer Leigh: “Pete Best put the Beatles on the map. You’d see two or three girls around Paul and George and John, nut you’d see fifty around Pete. I very rarely saw him smile and yet he was always pleasant. If you look at any of the Beatles photographs with Pete Best, the first face you’re drawn to is Pete’s. I don’t care if you’re a man or woman.” Instead of seeking to investigate the real motives behind the sacking of Best, writers have merely continued to perpetuate the lie that ‘he was not a good enough drummer.’ If a lie is repeated enough, people will assume it is the truth. Pete was to say, “I wouldn’t rate Ringo as a better drummer than me – I’m adamant about that – and when it happened I felt like putting a stone around my neck and jumping off the Pier head.” Mo told Epstein, quite frankly, that she believed the reason Pete was sacked was due to the fact that he was so popular locally and would probably have become the most popular Beatle when they achieved success. She put it down to jealousy by the other members of the group – particularly since a lot of people in Liverpool had been calling the group ‘Pete Best and the Beatles.’ She said to Hunter Davies: “They were jealous and they wanted him out. Pete hadn’t realised what a following he had till he left. He was always so very shy and quiet, never shot his mouth off, like some people I could mention. “He’d been their manager before Brian arrived, did the bookings and collected the money. I’d looked upon them as friends. I’d helped them so much, got them bookings, lending them money. I fed them when they were hungry. I was far more interested in them than their own parents.” In some quarters of Liverpool at the time, people suspected that the Beatles wanted to get rid of Pete because his mother was such a strong personality that she would continue to make her presence felt, even though Epstein was now managing the band. Another reason was that Pete just never quite fitted in personality wise with the other three members of the group. He was taciturn and didn’t have the same wacky sense of humour. He didn’t even adopt their hairstyle, although he says they never asked him to and he would have done so, if requested. The truth probably lies in a combination of these theories. Still upset by the turn of events, Epstein, who had had a sleepless night prior to sacking Pete, then told him, that he wanted to continue managing him and would place him with another band – the Mersey Beats. Pete didn’t want to remain with Epstein after what had happened and certainly didn’t want to start at the beginning again with an unknown group. Behind the scenes, Epstein arranged for Joe Flannery to approach Pete about joining Lee Curtis and the All Stars. Pete had had numerous offers to join other bands, but decided to give the All Stars a shot and made his debut with them at the Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead on Monday 10 September 1962. On Saturday 24 November, Pete was again appearing at the Majestic with the All Stars and also celebrating his twenty-first birthday. Compering the show, Bob Wooler read out a telegram that had arrived for Pete: “Congratulations. Many happy returns. All the best, John, Paul, George, Ringo and Brian.” Epstein probably sent this as the relationship between Pete and his former colleagues was now a difficult one. Pete commented: “We played on the same bill as the Beatles on two occasions. One was at the Cavern when we were second on the bill to the Beatles. The other was in the Mersey Beat Pollwinners’ concert. On both occasions we were on just prior to the Beatles, and we had to pass one another face-to-face, yet nothing was said.” In fact, Lee Curtis & the All Stars were voted into second place in the second Mersey Beat Popularity poll – and this was entirely due to the fact that Pete had joined them. Lee Curtis & the All Stars comprised Lee Curtis (vocals), Tony Waddington (rhythm), Wayne Bickerton (bass), Frank Bowen (lead) and Pete Best (drums). Pete began to pick up the pieces of his life and in August 1963 he married his girlfriend Kathy. Lee Curtis signed with Decca, but recorded without the band. Decca then offered the group a separate deal. Pete said; “Decca suggested we push my name, so we became the Pete Beast Four.” Ironically, Mike Smith, who had recorded the Beatles’ original audition for Decca, produced their debut record. The single, I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door was released in June 1964, but it didn’t register and Decca dropped the band. On Monday 30 March 1964 Pete appeared as a guest on the American TV show, I’ve Got A Secret. Pete was to say, “Magazines, both in Britain and across the Atlantic, have been printing far-fetched stories that I had quit the Beatles because of illness and that Ringo was called in only because I was too sick to play.” In fact, this sort of falsification of the facts came to a head when a Beatles’ interview in Playboy magazine in February 10963 had a quote from John saying: “Ringo used to fill in sometimes if out drummer was ill, with his periodic illness.” Ringo commented, “He took little pills to make him ill.” Pete sued and a few years later an out-of-court settlement was eventually reached. To counter the accusations that he was always taking time off due to illness, Pete confirmed that during the entire two years he was with the group, he was only off on two occasions and had given the group an advance warning. Other members of the group had spent as much time away from the band with illnesses. Pete and his wife Kathy were living in Haymans Green, but one night when Kathy was visiting his mother, Pete became terribly depressed and attempted to gas himself. His brother Rory, smelled the gas, battered down the door and, together with Mo, spent several hours reviving him. Mo became manager of the group and they appeared in Hamburg and recorded with Joe Meek - although the Meek recordings were never released. They were offered the opportunity of recording in America by an independent A&R man, Bob Gallo. By this time, Tommy McGurk had replaced Bowen, but McGurk left before their American trip. The band added two sax players – Trevor and Bill – and, as a quintet known as the Pete Best Combo, they flew to the States, along with the Undertakers. The Pete Best Combo appeared on television, toured Canada with Roy Orbison and cut almost 40 numbers in the recording studios. The American producers attempted to capitalise on the Beatles association and some of the releases included Best Of the Beatles, The Beatle That Time Forgot and My Three Years (sic) As A Beatle. Tony Waddington revealed to Record Collector magazine: “In the summer of 1965, we were due to audition for the Monkees TV show – Pete Best could have been a Monkee! We’d been told what sort of show it was going to be and what it was all about, and we were going to fly out to Hollywood. By then, we’d split with the Gallo camp and we had a manager called Chick Petri, who was wealthy and influential.” However, it wasn’t to be. They had been in America so long that they either had to return to England and re-apply for a work permit, or become American citizens. If they became citizens, they would be eligible to be drafted for Vietnam, although it seemed an unlikely prospect. They returned home in July 1966 to appear at the Cavern and disbanded soon after that. By 1969, Pete had left the world of music and settled down to become a civil servant for the employment service in Liverpool. In 1978, Dick Clark invited him to appear on a television reunion with various other veteran musicians. Then Clark invited him to be the technical advisor on a TV movie called The Birth of the Beatles, although the producers reportedly ignored the advice of Pete and other Mersey Beat veterans, such as Bob Wooler. In 1984 his autobiography, written in collaboration with Pat Doncaster, was published. In !990, together with Billy Kinsley, a former member of the Mersey Beats, he recorded a Rock Wakeman song, Heaven. He also formed a new band and recorded a live album of their appearance at the Beatles convention in Liverpool in 1991. Pete’s younger brother Roag also plays drums with the band. Pete was then invited to tour cities throughout Japan and became a guest at several international Beatles conventions. He took early retirement in 1994 and resumed his musical career with his outfit, the Pete Best Band. His CD of rock ‘n’ roll favourites from the early Beatles repertoire, released in 1993, was called Back To The Beat and the same year, he set out on a year-long world tour of 20 countries, which included Britain, America, Belgium, South Africa, Russia and Duabi. Pete then received an unexpected piece of good fortune when it was revealed that the Beatles new Anthology double CD, set for release in November, would contain several tracks on which Pete made an appearance. These included the Bert Kaempfert Hamburg recordings, tracks from the Decca audition and the initial Parlophone audition recordings. His reward, reputedly, was for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.
With reference to Pete's quote which Bobber started this thread off with, Pete's statement
"I can’t accept the drumming theory as when we came back from Germany, other groups copied my style using the loud bass drum. Also, Bert Kaempfert was quite happy with my drumming when we recorded in Germany.
It's interesting to note that in Eric Krasker's The Beatles Fact and Fiction 1960 - 1962, Kaempfert insists that Pete was too unsteady and that the bass drum was not used during the Polydor sessions.
For all the accounts that Pete was a great drummer from fellow Liverpool musicians, you only have to listen to Pete's version of Love Me Do and compare it to Ringo's. There is no comparison - Pete's version is all over the place, lurching from one section to another were as Ringo's was rock steady throughout and much more suitable for recording purposes. (There was no improvement with Andy White's version over Ringo's interestingly).
I think there is plenty to support the view that Pete Best was sacked because of his drumming and not because of his popularity. Subsequent TV appearances and interviews do not demonstrate a dazzling personality that would have been prominent had he achieved world wide fame with The Beatles. However to be fair to him he may have learned this skill with experience.
All this said, The Beatles were cowards over the sacking of Pete and acted dishonorably.
P.S. apologies for raking up this thread after so long but I just couldn't help it!
Read a book called "Liddypool" by David Bedford for a fair & unbiased account of what happened. The general weight of evidence , including opinions by people who were there , suggest that Pete was a very good live drummer. In fact I've seen Pete perform with his band & though it's true that they have 2 drummers , he can still play well even at 70 yrs of age. If the other beatles weren't too keen on Pete why have him as their drummer for 2 yrs? Why wait until they were at the cusp of fame & fortune to sack him? It's fairly common knowledge now that George Martin never called for his sacking , as Brian Epstein & some books claimed , and didn't mind if Pete continued as their live drummer. There is also one other major point that is overlooked. When Ringo was initially brought in he wasn't offered to become a permanent member of the band straightaway. He was actually paid a small wage & used as a "sideman" , he was also NOT entitled to the bands recording royalties. This is something that suited the other 3 quite well as with Pete in the band they would've had to split the royalties 4 ways. Soemthing to think about!!
I have to disagree that the weight of evidence is in favour of Pete being a great drummer. Based on the Decca, EMI and Polydor recordings, the drumming is clearly not very impressive (Love Me Do is uncomfortable to say the least!). After so long without a drummer it is not surprising that they held onto Pete for 2 years. Let's face it, by the time the Parlophone contract came about The Beatles could have had their pick of drummers in Liverpool compared to when Pete first joined and The Beatles were considered a 'bum group'.
If Pete was that good then why wasn't he snapped up by another group on the verge of stardom rather than Brian Epstein having to find positions for him in lesser bands?
I think 50 year old memories of how good a band or musician really was should not be taken as gospel without the benefit of recordings to confirm this. For example, Ringo has gone on record as saying that Johnny 'Guitar' from Rory Storm and the Hurricaines was 'as good as Hendrix'. However other peoples response to this was that, although a really good guitarist, Johnny wasn't even in the league of Adrian Barber from The Big Three or the guitarist who subsequently replaced Barber. Certainly he wasn't in the league of Hendrix according to other sources. I think the world would have heard the guitar playing of Johnny if this was the case the same as the world would have been knocked out by Pete's playing if he really was that good.
I think The Beatles would have been foolish to have offered Ringo a permanant position in the band from the off. If they had and it didn't work out then it would have cost them a big pay out to get rid of him. John and Paul did actually give Ringo and George a small (very small!) percentage of their singwriting royalties not long after they made it big. Later on everything, other than songwriting royalties, did become a four-way split anyway.
Lastly, I have seen Pete Best live too. He only ever seems to play with brother, Roag. I don't really like the two-drummer set up but lots of bands have done it over the years. However when I saw him Pete just played a straight beat all the time and Roag did all the fills.
Oh, thank you for the info. I looked into this issue because it stirred my curiosity. I read somewhere he was sacked because he was too good looking but through further research and speculation, I think it was because Martin didn't like him and requested a session drummer.
Hi eeevee I think you're getting the two mixed up here. Ringo was the one replaced by a session drummer, Andy White. by Martin for only one song Love Me Do. After that Ringo was the drummer on every Beatle tune. Pete was literly fired from the Beatles by the Beatles and Epstein just relayed Pete the good news. Whether Martin had anything to do with Pete's being fired other than saying he didn't like his drumming.
He was sacked because he had curly hair. That's the long and the short of it. Look at how long and hard Roger Daltry and Jimi Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell worked to get their hair to stay straight. Curly hair just wasn't cool in the beat group era. They all had to have the same hair. You can tell how awkward some of the 'forced moptop' style was on some people back then. Jimmy Nichol looks ridiculous. Pete didn't even bother trying to straighten his hair. That indicates a bad attitude. They were going to be famous, he could've sprung for a hair straightening treatment and got to look like everybody else. The Who got famous because Roger worked REALLY hard to have the same hair. Everybody knows that hair is the deal maker or breaker. Of course many of those groups gave up on the hair straightening because it can be costly, so long wavy/curly hair was now included with long straight hair and the whole industry went to pot.
Remember, though when they all had the same hair? All that stuff they put up their nose made it fall out a few years back.
Friend: My favorite Beatles song is Band On The Run.
Me: It's not a Beatles song.
Friend: Wot! That guy, that guy, Paul McCartney sings it right?
Friend: Alright! That one is my favorite Beatle song.
Post by beatlesfansunite1 on Sept 11, 2013 12:25:25 GMT
Just a few years ago in 2007 a seasoned musician named Peter Best was inducted in the All You Need is Liverpool Music Hall of Fame as its first Chartered Member. Pete Best was awarded a framed certificate and his band “The Pete Best Band” went on to perform. The city of Liverpool went on to name two streets in his honour. How did this come to be?
Pete Best was the original drummer for the Beatles. It was actually Mona Best, Pete’s mother that led Pete to become a member of the infamous band from Liverpool. It was 1960 the Beatles did not have a regular drummer and remembered Pete from his performances at his mother’s club. The Black Jacks had just broken up. When the Quarrymen – later renamed The Beatles – were offered a series of club dates in Hamburg, Germany, Pete was asked to be their drummer. Female fans liked Pete, which would be good for the band.
Seems to be a myriad of reasons but I think it can best be chalked up to personality differences. John, Paul and George were much more extroverted than Pete and although true he (Pete) did his fair share of drinking and carousing, one also hears stories how he would often go off in Hamburg on his own (to be his girlfriend).
Hard to say if Ringo was truly a better at the time. If so, not by much I think. By what recordings there are, Pete seems to be rather inconsistent - sometimes he sounds fabulous, sometimes not so much. I don't put a lot of stock into the EMI/Parlaphone guys wanting a session guy there as they were used to working with big band drummers who were rock solid in tempo/timing. They had zero idea about rock'n'roll nor would they have approached the recording session in any kind of manner than what they were accustomed to. Heck, Jimmy Page must have played on half the recordings coming out of the English Invasion period, so ringers were often used.
I would also venture to guess that Pete's popularity did indeed rub the other members the wrong way...the band was sometimes billed as Pete Best & The Beatles and had him in front of the rest of the guys...certain that didn't sit well with them.
Not sure if the Mona Best thing meant much. Epstein would often conference with Pete about business matters when he took over management, so I don't believe they viewed her as any kind of a threat. Hard to say though.
I'll always be curious as to what Pete's playing would have ended up like had he not been sacked. I for one think he was almost Ringo's equal around 1962, and given he would have been forced to keep up with the rest of them, we all might be singing his praises as a drummer today. Check out the Pete Best Combo's versions of "Kansas City" and "Boys" 45/single...there's proof of what he was capable of by comparison. Not much to squabble about between the PBC and Beatles' takes.
One should take into account that when The Beatles went into record Love Me Do with Best, their arrangement at the time was based around shifting time signatures a la "Hey Baby"(Bruce Channel). The very idea to use the harmonica came to Lennon via Channel. Throw into the mix an EMI engineer requesting Pete try some bits based around jazz drumming of which he had no experience, it's all partly why it sounds as dire as it does.
One listen to the Decca Tapes reveal that he'd be more than capable of playing a straight beat a la Ringo or Andy White had that been the direction they were taking at the time. So it's a bit unfair to compare, IMHO.