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Pete Best Portfolio

Pete Best, born Randolph Peter Best in Madras, India on November 24, 1941, joined the Beatles, John, Paul, George, and Stu Sutcliffe, in late 1960. Their previous drummer, Tommy Moore, had left earlier in the year. Pete's mother, Mona Best, ran The Casbah Club, a cellar club in Hayman's Green, where the Beatles had been playing. When Allan Williams got the Beatles booked to play two months in Hamburg, Pete was asked to join the group.

Pete was very quiet in Hamburg, he did not partake of the uppers the way everyone else did, and spent alot of his off time out of the company of the others. The girls in Hamburg were wild over him, and would shout at him on the stage in English and German.

The other Beatles thought Pete was a pretty good drummer, but then in Hamburg they heard and met Ringo. When the Beatles and Pete returned to Liverpool, Mona acted as the booking agent for what she considered "Pete's band". She got them introduced into the Cavern Club. Pete played on "My Bonnie" and the other tracks recorded with Tony Sheridan for Bert Kaempfert in Germany.

In November 1961, Brian Epstein became the Beatles' manager, and in April, 1962, Brian succeeded in getting them an audition with George Martin at Parlophone, which happened on June 6. By this time, both Paul and George were encouraging Brian to help them get rid of Pete, to bring on Ringo permanently, who had been filling in for Pete with the Beatles every now and then.

In late July, George Martin commited to recording the Beatles. When George Martin told Brian that he didn't care for Pete, and that they would use another drummer on the sessions, he didn't know the Beatles were already thinking the same thing. Brian told him during a lunch time meeting in his office on August 15.

Mersey Beat broke the news on August 23. Pete Best fans were outraged. Petitions signed by hundreds were received at Mersey Beat. Cries of "Pete Best Forever---Ringo, never!" were heard at the Cavern Club. The following Monday, one of the many scuffles outside the Cavern Club resulted in a black eye for George Harrison.

In His Their Words

[SOUND] In this sound clip from a 1995 interview, Pete Best talks about getting the phone call from Paul to join the Beatles in 1960.

[SOUND] Here, Pete talks about his relationship with John.

[SOUND] Beatles producer George Martin talks about Pete's drumming abilities and how he planned to replace him as drummer on the Beatles records.

[SOUND] Pete talks about his final meeting with Brian in 1962, and how he's felt about it all these years.

[SOUND] In this clip, John Lennon talks about how they'd always planned on getting rid of Pete, and dispels rumors that it was because Paul was jealous of his good looks.

Biographical info from the book Shout! by Philip Norman.
Mersey Beat image Copyright © Bill Harry, used by permission.

This page updated September 1, 2008.

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