Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pete Best

Pete Best was born in Madras, India on November 24, 1941 and was the original drummer for the Beatles. Best is known as the "fifth Beatle" among Beatles fans.

In 1960, Allan Williams arranged a series of appearances by the Beatles in Hamburg, Germany. Williams was owner of the Jacaranda Club in Hamburg. He auditioned Best, which turned out to be unnecessary since Paul McCartney was looking for a drummer in order to begin the gig in Germany, and he believed that Best, known for a steady backbeat on the drum kit and also known to be popular with female fans, would be best suited to become the drummer. Best had originally planned on going to teacher college but opted to play with the Beatles instead. In Hamburg, the Beatles also played at the Indra Club, the Kaiserkeller, and the Top Ten Club, where they met Tony Sheridan, who had the Beatles play as his backup-band on the recording "My Bonnie" and other numbers.

In June of 1962, five months after the Beatles, with Best, auditioned for Decca and were not extended a recording contract, the Beatles auditioned for George Martin and Parlophone Records at Abbey Road Studios. Not overly impressed with the Beatles' repertoire of songs yet, he nevertheless felt they were good enough to sign, with the stipulation made to Beatles manager Brian Epstein that he would use a session drummer instead of Best.

Cynthia Lennon has said in her book John that while John liked Best, McCartney and Harrison were not especially fond of him since he did not socialize with them in Hamburg and did not seem to fit in with the group's persona. While Epstein did not want to change the membership of his successful rock group, the Beatles insisted, and many years later they would say that they should have handled the situation with Best better. Lennon admitted to being downright "cowardly" about the matter. The bottom line, however, is that Epstein informed Best that he was out of the group, to be replaced by Ringo Starr. Ironically, Martin decided to have Andy White replace Starr when it came time to record the second version of "Love Me Do," relegating Starr to playing the tambourine. To this day, Best claims that the reasons for his dismissal were never made clear by Epstein or the Beatles. Many now speculate that Best was adequate, but not superior in his drumming skills. McCartney has said he was never really a Beatle and that his playing simply wasn't up to their emerging standards.

After being dismissed, Best was offered the opportunity by Epstein to build another band around his drumming, but Best declined. He ultimately would play with Lee Curtis & the All Stars, which became Pete Best & the All Stars, which recorded the unsuccessful "I'm Gonna Knock on Your Door" for Decca. Later, Best's groups were called The Pete Best Four and the Pete Best Combo.

When the Beatles released the Anthology series of CDs in 1995, Best's drumming was featured on many track's from the band's early days, from which Best received considerable royalties.

Beginning in 1988, Best formed the Pete Best Band and performed in Liverpool. He still tours with this band and was inducted into the All You Need Is Liverpool Music Hall of Fame in 2007. His LP discography is as follows:

Best of the Beatles (1966)
The Beatle That Time Forgot (1981)
Rebirth (1981)
The Beatle That Time Forgot (reissued in 1981)

For more information on Best, see the sitemap below under BEATLES CONNECTIONS.

No comments:

Post a Comment