Today, November 24, 2022, is the 81st birthday of Pete Best. The Indian-born Liverpudlian was the original drummer in The Beatles and joined the band alongside the likes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. However, on August 16, 1962, he was kicked out of the band. The Fab Three replaced Pete with a drummer they had met over the years, Ringo Starr. While he hasn’t spoken much about Pete in the past, he did have some rough feedback for the musician.
Ringo reflected that his arrival in the band in 1962 did not go down well with the band’s fans. He said: “There were riots! Pete had a big following, but I had been known for years in Liverpool, so I had quite a following, too. So there was this whole shouting match: ‘Ringo never, Peter forever,’ and: ‘Pete never, Ringo forever.’ There was this whole battle going on, and I’m just trying to drum away.”
Years later, however, he would look back on Pete’s drumming and turn his nose up at it. He said: “Pete Best? – it’s no offence, but I never felt he was a great drummer.” (Via Culture Sonar)
30 years after Pete was kicked out of the band, Ringo was asked yet again if he ever felt sorry for replacing the young drummer. He confidently replied: “No. Why should I? I was a better player than him. That’s how I got the job!”
Despite these comments, it seemed as if Pete’s drumming was not the only reason behind his axing from The Beatles.
Ringo’s biography, Ringo: With a Little Help, was written by Michael Seth Starr (no relation), who revealed that Pete had a very different character to John, George and Paul.
Michael wrote: “His personality slowly drove a wedge between Pete and his fellow Beatles. Best was moody and distant, didn’t seem to share the same sense of humour as his Beatle brethren and, more often than not, kept to himself after a show rather than banter with the guys.” (sic)
Paul corroborated this claim, once calling his former drummer “different”. He said: “Pete had never quite been like the rest of us. We were the wacky trio and Pete was perhaps a little more… sensible. He was slightly different from us, he wasn’t quite as artsy as we were. And we just didn’t hang out that much together.”
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Eventually, John, George and Paul made the decision to get rid of Pete. But as youngsters new to the music industry, they didn’t want to do it themselves. Instead, they asked their boss to do it.
The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, was given the gruesome task of telling Pete that he was being kicked out of the band. He pulled Pete aside and delivered the brutal news.
Years later, John did show some remorse at how Pete was removed from The Beatles. He said in Beatles Anthology: “We were cowards when we sacked him. We made Brian do it.”
However, these comments were a far cry from what he said some years prior. John said: “By [August, 1962] we were pretty sick of Pete Best too because he was a lousy drummer, you know? He never improved and there was always this myth being built up over the years that he was great and Paul was jealous of him because he was pretty and all that c**p.”
Paul also made some comments about Pete’s exit. He confessed he felt a little repentant at the band’s actions. He said: “I do feel sorry for him, because of what he could have been on to.”
George also spoke of Pete, saying: “We weren’t very good at telling Pete he had to go. Historically, it may look like we did something nasty to Pete and it may have been that we could have handled it better.”
Pete went on to start his own band, The Pete Best Band.