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Why drummer Pete Best was fired from The Beatles


Why drummer Pete Best was fired from The Beatles

Born in Madras, British India back in 1941, Pete Best was The Beatles drummer from 1960 to 1962, playing with them especially in their residency in Germany, where they played in Hamburg for several months during those two years. In 1962 he was fired by the band’s manager Brian Epstein who said John, George and Paul wanted him out of the band and that Ringo Starr would be his replacement.


Only a few months later they already released their first singles and were appearing in the charts. But why was Pete Best fired?

Why drummer Pete Best was fired from The Beatles

According to the band’s co-founder, guitarist and singer John Lennon, as he said in an interview (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), they always knew Best was going to be fired. The reason was because they needed a drummer to go to Hamburg and he really didn’t improve his playing. “By then we were pretty sick of Pete Best too, because he was a lousy drummer, he never improved. There was always this myth being built over the years that he was great and Paul was jealous of him because he was pretty and all that crap.”

“The reason that he got in the group in the first place was because the only way we could get to Hamburg we had to have a drummer. We knew of this guy that was living at his mother’s house that had a club in it. He had a drum kit. (So) we just grabbed him, auditioned him and he could keep one beat for long enough.”

“We took him to Germany and we were always going to dump him when we could find a decent drummer. But by the time we came back from Germany we trained him to keep the stick going up and down, he couldn’t do much else. He looked nice, the girls liked him, that was alright,” John Lennon said.

Pete Best said that he was fired because of the other members were jealous

In an interview with David Letterman back in 1982 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Pete Best said that he was fired from The Beatles because the other members were jealous.

He had no idea that he was going to be fired from the group: “No (I had no idea I was going to be fired). When the incident happened, it just happened completely out of the blue. There was no foregone. I was called into Brian (Epstein’s) office and he turned around. I could tell (by his attitude).”

“He was agitated simply because of the fact that he was pacing up and down, biting his fingernails, so to speak. But after about three or four minutes he turned around and said: ‘Pete, I’ve got bad news for you. He said: ‘In a nutshell, the boys want you out and they want Ringo Starr in’. Well, I was completely shell-shocked by this. I couldn’t sort of get my mind together or whatever. (I was) trying to sort of get things into perspective.”

He continued:

“In a nutshell, (they fired me because of) jealousy. We found out afterwards (that) at the meeting they turned around and said that I wasn’t a good enough drummer. But consequently when we saw the turn around, a lot of people found out that jealousy was creeping into the act,” Pete Best said.

The musician said that he didn’t try to contact George, John or Paul after being fired. After that he shortly joined another group called Lee Curtis and the All-Stars. We played the same bill as them on two occasions. One was at The Cavern in Liverpool and the other one was at the Majestic Ballroom.

Pete Best’s new group opened for them and as he told Letterman back then, they never talked to him in those meetings. He already knew Ringo before and they were really good friends.

How Pete Best felt seeing The Beatles’ fame

In the same conversation with Letterman, Pete Best described his feelings when he saw the band going to the top of the charts just a few months after he was fired. “They cause me a lot of hardship, grief, financial embarrassment, but I preserved with my own lifestyle and you know.”

“I was strong enough in character to sort of turn around and say: Ok, no matter what happened in the past. Let’s forget about it. This present moment in time I’ve managed to retain my identity in my own sweet way,” Pete Best said.

How he met The Beatles and was invited to join them

During the same conversation, Best also gave his version about joining The Beatles and how it was to play with them during the residency in Germany. According to him they felt something big was happening and that they were reaching an important breaking point of their careers.

“I met the guys when they opened my mother’s club Casbah (Coffeee Club). (It was) way back in 1958 when they were known as the Quarrymen. There was John, George, Paul and another guy called Ken Brown. But we needed a group to open the club Saturday night. I was about 16.

“I joined them in August 1960, simply because they (needed a drumer). They went and had an audition for a guy called Larry Barnes. By this time they changed their name (for) the Silver Beetles. There was (another) guy called Stuart Sutcliffe, who very tragically died a couple years later. But after this particular tour they went up to Scotland and there was a guy called Tommy Moore who was playing drums with them.”

He continued:

“They came back and he said: ‘I’ve had enough, I’m quitting’. So Paul knew that I’d been playing drums and he said ‘Pete, we got an offer to go to Germany’. He said: ‘You’re interested?’ I said: ‘Yeah, very much so’. He said: ‘Come down and audition’. It’s what I did and went down the next day, bashed off about six numbers. Five minutes later they said: ‘Yeah, Pete you’re in’,” Pete Best said.

In the same interview he said they’ve been in Germany for about a month and realized the German crowds were going crazy about them. According to him all the members of the band felt like there was something special going on. They used to say to each other “Where are we going, guys? Straight to the top!” Pete Best said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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