Interesting discussion, folks! Here's my two cents:
Should Ringo have tipped Pete off that the boys had asked him to join?
If we're going to blame unaffiliated drummers for not ratting the Beatles out, then Johnny Hutchinson of the Big Three deserves his share of the blame. I can't remember which biography I read this in, but at least one documenter says that the Beatles went to Hutchinson first. Hutchinson turned them down, because he was good friends with Pete and he liked the group he was in already. The Beatles supposedly went to Ringo next.
But my personal opinion is that neither Johnny (if this story is true) nor Ringo owed Pete an explanation or a tip. This was an internal matter to the Beatles. It was up to the band to handle their own affairs. I think the real problem is that the Beatles were very young, and simply didn't know how to handle such a ticklish situation. John Lennon said somewhere that he was afraid that any face-to-face confrontation would have ended in blows. This is the level of sophistication we are talking about; young punks from Liverpool. They weren't exactly sensitive New Age men. So they chickened out and made Brian do it.
From what I understand, George was the most keen to replace Pete. Yes, Pete did miss several gigs, but Paul missed a lot more (or was late) because he had to take care of his brother. The real issue was that Pete's style of drumming didn't mesh well with the front line. I know this is a matter of opinion and taste, but in this case, I agree with George Martin. Pete sounds like he has a good dance hall band style-- very loud! But Ringo tailored his drumming for the song. Since that was Georgia's style as well, I can see why George preferred Ringo as a drummer. Also, these boys wanted to get a record made, but on their terms. I can see why they didn't want to have a different sound on their records (for example, if a session man was used) than when they played live. They would feel it was dishonest. I'm not sure how well that would've worked for band relations either, if the others were recording but Pete was only playing their live gigs.
Did Ringo really have to make the remark that "he took little pills to make him ill?"
When I read this quote in the February 1965 Playboy
Interview, it was fairly clear to me that Ringo was just joking around. They were quite silly through this whole interview. I'll include that snippet of dialogue, and you can form your own opinions:
PLAYBOY: "Let's start over. Ringo, you're the last Beatle to join the group, aren't you?"
JOHN: "A few years probably... sort of off and on, really... for three years or so."
PAUL: "Yeah, but really amateur."
GEORGE: "The local pub, you know. And in each other's uncle's houses."
JOHN: "And at George's brother's wedding. Things like that. Ringo used to fill in sometimes if our drummer was ill. With his periodic illness."
RINGO: "He took little pills to make him ill."
PLAYBOY: "When you joined the others Ringo, they weren't quite as big as they are now, were they?"
RINGO: "They were the biggest thing in Liverpool. In them days that was big enough."