The Quarrymen were a poor excuse for a group. George is quoted in Anthology as saying that just prior to when they hired Pete Best, they were “horrible and an embarrassment”. When the Beatles held auditions to find a drummer, Pete Best was the only one who even wanted the job. They were a bum group nobody wanted. The main motivation in changing the name of the group was because they had already ruined the Quarrymen name and they needed a fresh start. Heck, they even had to leave the country to find work. When Allan Williams was sending them off to Germany, one of the other Liverpool groups working there wrote him a letter begging him not to send that "bum group" or else they'll ruin it for everyone.
Pete Best's mother gave them all a regular place to play (the Casbah) and a home away from home. Then Pete gave them what they needed - a steady drummer dedicated to the band. Unlike the others, he also did well in school. He even learned German and handled business dealings for the group (with help from his mother Mona).
Within a month or so of Pete joining the Beatles, they became the hottest band in Hamburg. Just 4 months after Pete joined they became the hottest band in Liverpool and he was the star of the group. In order to please fans, they even tried doing shows with Pete and his drum kit in the front of the stage with John, Paul & George forced to perform from the back. Pete's "Atom Beat" became the Liverpool sound. All of the other drummers were copying his style - including Ringo Starr from Rory Storm & The Hurricanes.
HOW POPULAR WAS PETE?
On the 1 year anniversary of Pete joining the Beatles, the Mersey Beat ran an article raving about the group. They were called a phenomenon unlike anything we will ever see again in our lifetime. Beatlemania was already happening over a year before Ringo joined the band. In that same Mersey Beat article, Pete was singled out for his mean, moody magnificence. John, Paul & George were never even mentioned.
As a drummer, was Pete a Buddy Rich or Keith Moon or John Bonham?
No. And he was never going to be.
But he was a loyal Beatle and good friend to Lennon, McCartney & Harrison. He was a dependable bandmate missing only 3 or 4 gigs out of over 750 plus performances. All with proper notice and for good reason. Others also missed a few gigs with flu or other illnesses. Paul is said to have missed the most, way more than Pete & the others. In fact, in terms of total time spent playing live, Pete played more in his 2 years with the Beatles than Ringo played in his entire career.
Pete was a rocker who liked playing in the band, drinking beer, chasing girls and getting into trouble (fun kind) with John. He didn't get on as well with George. George was friends with Ringo and had always liked him as a drummer. In a fall 1960 letter home George mentions Rory Storms group is playing the Kaiserkeller with them. He's says he thinks they're crummy and the only one in the group that's any good is the drummer (Ringo). He also mentions how well Pete is drumming in the same letter.
George became good friends with Ringo. He wasn't as close to Pete. He then lobbied Paul to make the switch from Pete to Ringo. After awhile, Paul came around to the idea and then lobbied John. John said no and didn't change his mind until the Love Me Do session when George Martin stated a preference for using Andy White. That gave George and Paul the ammo they needed to get John to make the move. Also, dispite all of his shilling for McCartney & Harrison regarding the reasons for dismissing Pete, the fact is that George Martin did not even attend the Pete Best "Love Me Do" session. He received a report from his engineers who were there.
Mona Best had lobbied Granada TV to come to Liverpool and do a piece on the Beatles. They came and recorded the Cavern debut of Ringo Starr, her son's replacement. At the end of their performance of "Some Other Guy", you hear someone in the crowd shout out "We want Pete". You can hear John shouting "Yeah!" in agreement.
John wasn't around to have a say in The Beatles Anthology. So Paul & George ran the show. As a result, Anthology 1 provides a very distorted version of the Beatles early years. It attempts to create the impression that Ringo was in the group for far longer than he really was and also tries to diminish the roll Pete and the Best family played. It attempts to fool the viewer at every turn and lead the audience into drawing false conclusions.
For instance, when George tells the story of how they found Pete, George struggles to even remember his name. He says that he remembered this guy um, um, who's mother had a club, um, um, who's son got a drum kit for Christmas, and his name was um, um, er, a ... Pete Best. He knew exactly who Pete Best was. John and Paul knew exactly who he was too. They all practically lived at his house for over a year. The Quarrymen were the house band and they hung out there when they weren't playing. They even painted the Casbah with artwork that survives to this day.
Roag Best says his father, Neil Aspinall told him that Ringo's only contribution to the Anthology Videos was to push to have Pete faded out of the famous 1960 Beatles fairground shot and have himself Photoshopped in. They say Pete was unrelyable - yet he did the most work of anyone in the band. He did 7 hour shows 7 days a week (drugfree, unlike the others) and managed the groups affairs. They say they knew they had to get "Liverpools greatest drummer" Ringo Starr, when the truth is they had actually reached out to other drummers before contacting Ringo. They also imply that Martin used White instead of Starr only because he didn't know Starr was coming to the session. That's false. Martin had listened to Starr the week before and decided he was no better than Pete. He then booked White and let Ringo play tambourine.
I think the Beatles are great (Ringo too)! They are not only a great band; they are the most successful entertainment group in the history of the world. But their true story has never truly been told.
"We were at our best when we were playing in the dance halls of Liverpool and Hamburg. The world never saw that."
- John Lennon
That's the time when Pete Best was the drummer. In fact, the first thing Brian Epstein (and most everybody else at that time) says they noticed about the Beatles was their "beat". Best helped the Beatles go from being a bum band nobody wanted into being the #1 band in 2 different cities in 2 different countries and also helped them to get 2 different record deals in 2 different countries. He was dumped during the recording of "Love Me Do". A month later it was on the charts.
What I am trying to do with my short film "The Beatles at their Best" is shine a light on this very important chapter in music history. If you care about the Beatles, and care about the truth, you should want the true story to be told. If you don’t want to hear the truth, then how can you call yourself a true fan?
And it is possible to like Ringo and like Pete too!
Pete Best was a loyal Beatle who contributed greatly to the success of the group. Even if Ringo was to one day replace him, Pete deserved better treatment than he got. He was dumped coldheartedly by his friends, then badmouthed and never spoken to again for the rest of his life.
Gimme some truth!!!
Please consider supporting efforts to get "The Beatles at their Best" out to a wider audience. You can join the project!
Click the link below the video to visit the project at Kickstarter.comhttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1007868331/the-beatles-at-their-best