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Pete Best Was Fired From The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today

pete best

John, Paul, George and Pete. It doesn’t really have the same ring to it but in 1960 it was Pete Best behind the drum kit for the Beatles and not Ringo Starr. That changed on August 16th, 1962, however, when Pete Best was fired from the Beatles.

According to Beatles-History.net, Best joined the group in 1960 when John, Paul, and George needed a drummer for a gig in Hamburg. They had met Best at the Casbah Coffee Club, owned by Best’s mother, the year prior and invited him to come play. After the Hamburg show, the not-quite-fab-four started booking gigs around Liverpool.

Best was reportedly the most popular Beatle at the time and some credit him with the group’s initial popularity in Liverpool. But the four members didn’t mesh together on a personal level. As an example, Best was the only member that did not adopt the “bowl” cut.

Best was fired from the Beatles in 1962. The following year the group recorded its first album, Please Please Me, and were nearly immediately struck with Beatlemania.

The reason’s for Best’s firing remains a bit of a mystery. Some claim that the three Beatles didn’t like Best personally. Others say that they were just more impressed with Ringo Starr. Best’s mother said that the rest of the group was jealous of her son.

In 2009, the fifth Beatle talked to Spinner Magazine about his life with, and without the Beatles. Best said that he still isn’t sure why he was kicked out of the group but said that he was pretty sure it didn’t have to do with talent.

Best, who was included on 10 songs in the Beatles’ Anthology, said:

“Being on Anthology, people had a bigger insight into what my drumming was about. From that point of view, I’ve always held my head up high and said, “Yes, it wasn’t the drumming ability.” There have been conspiracy theories — the hairstyle, jealousy, antisocial, didn’t speak enough, Brian [Epstein, the Beatles’ manager] may have felt threatened — it goes on and on. I’ve long passed that.”

Best also dropped another interesting piece of information. Best was fired from the Beatles on August 16th, 1962, and hasn’t spoken to any of his former band mates since that day.

“You find that hard to believe, but it is true. I played three of four times on the same bill as them as the support band, so we’d be coming off and they were going onstage. There were things to be said but that wasn’t the place to hear your differences, onstage, so there was no communication. We’d pass like ships in the night. Some people say, ‘Well, why the hell didn’t you just pick up the phone?’ and I’ve always said, ‘Well, have you ever tried to phone a Beatle? It just doesn’t happen. You couldn’t get to them.”

Here’s the audio of Money featuring Pete Best on drums.

Here is a video of Pete Best on David Letterman.

[Edit: Title incorrectly stated that Best was fired from the Beatles 40-years-ago today. Title has been changed. Author has been ridiculed.]

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Comments

104 Responses to “Pete Best Was Fired From The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today”

  1. Mark Marshall

    It was 50 years ago…maybe get a 5th grader to check your addition.

  2. Chris Rosato

    The writer of this piece is still recovering from Woodstock, I suppose. Simply arithmetic confirms that 1962 was fifty years ago. Perhaps he's using LSD time.

  3. Jo-Jo Moore

    Arithmetic people, arithmetic. I'm happy to be your editor, if you want to run things by me before they are published.

  4. Jo-Jo Moore

    Arithmetic people, arithmetic. I'm happy to be your editor, if you want to run things by me before they are published.

  5. Pj Connolly

    That would be FIFTY years. This is what happens when you cut education.

  6. Pj Connolly

    That would be FIFTY years. This is what happens when you cut education.

  7. Cheryl Jane Bean

    What happened to Pete Best stinks. Had I been he I would have hired an attorney who would have IMMEDIATELY filed an injunction to keep me in the band. Pete comes across as passive so that would never have happened. I assume it was all meant to be and Ringo did fit in well with the band. Cynthia Lennon once said Pete never fit in. The band which supported non-conformity wanted Pete to conform.

  8. Darnell Sacco

    WRoNG it was 50 years ago… someone flunked math….. lol

  9. Gregory J Malis

    Wasn't it ten years ago today that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play? ~

  10. Ed Hansen

    You've obviously never played in a band. Like a sports team, everyone needs to feel comfortable with each other and feel like "a team". Pete apparently didn't fit in. And please keep money-grubbing, back-stabbing, bottom-feeders like lawyers out of it.

  11. Anonymous

    Unreal….40 years they say but all comments and everyone that passed 3rd grade knows its 50 years. I will bet you that the writer of this article couldn't count to 21 unless he was naked.

  12. Anonymous

    unreal……. this is what journalism has "becum" in such a rush to get the by line published can't check the basic facts.

  13. Anonymous

    Cheryl, I so hope your joking. Get an injunction to stay in the band?! My Gosh, it's a band! Are people today feeling so entitled they'd go to court to try and stay in a dance band! That's like suing someone because they didn't get picked for a dodge ball game! What an idiotic statement. No one really knows why Pete was replaced, but I've played in bands for over 40 years, and we've gotten rid of a lot of players for lots of reasons. Sue to stay involved in something, now that really shows a lack of character.

  14. Keith Thompson

    I once got kicked out of band I STARTED…who do I sue? On a serious nature, Ed is 100% correct on band member chemistry and simply by comparing the two musicians; John, Paul and George made the right call musically. Ringo is steady and versitile and his part fit the song while Pete had a couple of patterns that he played reasonably well, but he played the same parts on every song. Pete is a drummer but Ringo is a musician.

  15. Woody Roberts

    Brian Epstein, the manager who not only built the Beatles, but laid the ground work for many major band mangers to follow, Told John and Paul "He can play with the band around here, But when we record and travel we need a real drummer", Brian made it happen but John & Paul had a choice of what was done. Pete simply was not Beatle material.

  16. Woody Roberts

    Brian Epstein, the manager who not only built the Beatles, but laid the ground work for many major band mangers to follow, Told John and Paul "He can play with the band around here, But when we record and travel we need a real drummer", Brian made it happen but John & Paul had a choice of what was done. Pete simply was not Beatle material.

  17. Terry Stafford

    it was the manager who fired pete best, brian was rebuilding the beeatles and pete didn't fit in to the new look. peteliked the group as it was. so ringo replced pete and in turn the beatles was complete and still the number 1 band ion the world. so blame brian for firing pete lol. john wanted pete to stay.

  18. Terry Stafford

    oops type-o's. I need a new key board I think or type slower.

  19. Jerry Moore

    A journalist who knows something about math! You're headed straight to the Hall of Fame, my friend.

  20. David Humphreys

    If he was such a great drummer, why didn't he end up in one of the many other great bands to come out of England in the 60's? No, his claim to fame is he got fired from a band that became famous after he got fired.

  21. Dan Sperl

    Filing a lawyer's injunction to stay in the band kind of defeats the purpose. I think most musicians want to be genuinely accepted by the other band members. I do not know the reason, but given the Beatles' remarkable musical abilities and future success, I give the benefit of the doubt to the Beatles for now. It was 50 years ago. The fact that he is not "over it" yet is a bit disturbing. He should just admit he probably was a decent drummer, but not good enough for one of the best bands ever. Does anyone else feel the same way? These things happen to other musicians and they go on with their life.

  22. Gregory J Malis

    so now they corrected the headline making a lot of comments look stupid! ~

  23. Gregory J Malis

    originally it read "forty years" – but we ridiculed the author into an edit ~

  24. Gregory J Malis

    originally it read "forty years" – but we ridiculed the author into an edit ~

  25. Anonymous

    It was TWENTY years ago today…. which must be well before your time if you dont know!

  26. Anonymous

    I was in a band once… had a record on the radio in the late 1970's. We kicked our drummer out of the band because he liked to fart into the microphone on stage! He always had bad gas!

  27. Anonymous

    Cheryl – if your boyfriend told you it just wasn't working anymore, would you get an injunction to keep dating him?

  28. Anonymous

    Cheryl – if your boyfriend told you it just wasn't working anymore, would you get an injunction to keep dating him?

  29. Gregory J Malis

    I was kiddingly subtracting "ten years" like the original headline had stated "40" – go to the end of the article to see the edit footnote by the author – he sure ruined a lot of jokes when he corrected it ~

  30. Gregory J Malis

    I was kiddingly subtracting "ten years" like the original headline had stated "40" – go to the end of the article to see the edit footnote by the author – he sure ruined a lot of jokes when he corrected it ~

  31. Gregory J Malis

    I was kiddingly subtracting "ten years" as the original headline had stated "40" – go to the end of the article to see the edit footnote by the author – he sure ruined a lot of jokes when he corrected it ~

  32. Gregory J Malis

    I was kiddingly subtracting "ten years" as the original headline had stated "40" – go to the end of the article to see the edit footnote by the author – he sure ruined a lot of jokes when he corrected it ~

  33. Tom W. Chilek

    I don't know why this is such a mystery, as stated in the article. Producer George Martin has stated in both The Complet Beatles and the Anthology that Pete Best was not a very good drummer, who could not keep in time well. This is true, in my opinion, because I thought Best's drumming on the Love Me Do audition, found on Antholgy, sounds like crap. Martin told the other three that I don't care what you do with Best onstage, but I will provide the drummer for the tracks. Paul McCartney, always the perfectist, probably thought that Best needed to go and thus, brought in Starr, who needed no audition with the band; given that he had played with them many times before in Hamburg. :o)

  34. Gregory J Malis

    "infro" – is that an ingrown Afro? :-) – (I already saw your typo disclaimer) – just kidding around ~

  35. Gregory J Malis

    "infro" – is that an ingrown Afro? :-) – (I already saw your typo disclaimer) – just kidding around ~

  36. Gregory J Malis

    "infro" – is that an ingrown Afro? :-) – (I already saw your typo disclaimer) – just kidding around ~

  37. Anonymous

    Even today, but certainly not in 1962, you don't get injunctions to keep you playing in a band. Unless Pete had a written contract, he could be dismissed at any time for any reason, and there was no particular reason to think, in those days, that the Beatles were gonna be the Next Big Thing. I've fired drummers from garage bands, too. Musicians come and they go. There's always another one along in a minute. . .

  38. Anonymous

    Even today, but certainly not in 1962, you don't get injunctions to keep you playing in a band. Unless Pete had a written contract, he could be dismissed at any time for any reason, and there was no particular reason to think, in those days, that the Beatles were gonna be the Next Big Thing. I've fired drummers from garage bands, too. Musicians come and they go. There's always another one along in a minute. . .

  39. Anonymous

    Even today, but certainly not in 1962, you don't get injunctions to keep you playing in a band. Unless Pete had a written contract, he could be dismissed at any time for any reason, and there was no particular reason to think, in those days, that the Beatles were gonna be the Next Big Thing. I've fired drummers from garage bands, too. Musicians come and they go. There's always another one along in a minute. . .

  40. Scott Rutherford

    Firt of all, there was no reason at the time to believe the Beatles would become the big deal that they are. Secondly, there is no way he would have any legal standing. At MOST, he could have made them choose a different name, though even that would've been rather silly for an unestablished band (and he'd have had to prove intellectual ownership of the monniker)

  41. Scott Rutherford

    Firt of all, there was no reason at the time to believe the Beatles would become the big deal that they are. Secondly, there is no way he would have any legal standing. At MOST, he could have made them choose a different name, though even that would've been rather silly for an unestablished band (and he'd have had to prove intellectual ownership of the monniker)

  42. Scott Rutherford

    Firt of all, there was no reason at the time to believe the Beatles would become the big deal that they are. Secondly, there is no way he would have any legal standing. At MOST, he could have made them choose a different name, though even that would've been rather silly for an unestablished band (and he'd have had to prove intellectual ownership of the monniker)

  43. Anonymous

    good sources claim it was band leader John being jealous of pete getting more attention from the females, with lennon's ego this is very believable.

  44. Steven Paul

    WRONG! The band had the manager tell him he was fired. John Lennon later said they were all pussies for handling it that way and not telling him face to face. The manager was not in charge of the band and made drastic decisions like that. This was something that mainly came from Lennon & McCartney. However, it WAS a happy ending for Pete who struggled for years financially and actually ended up taking on a civil servant job. After the tremendous success of Anthology 1 since Pete was on that album he was entitled to royalties. So about 10 years ago Pete gets a royalty check in the mail for 3-5 million dollars. Not much to the rest of the Beatles but for a guy who never got compensated for being in the worlds most popular band it was a VERY nice pay day. Something most of us will never see! After that he formed his own band (The Pete Best Band) and now tours the world and I believe is much happier in his older years enjoying the good life! :)

  45. James C. Nevers

    When he was fired from the Beetles did the headline in Variety Read BEST WORST! Or…..If he had won a Grammy headline would the headline read BEST BEST!

  46. James C. Nevers

    When he was fired from the Beetles did the headline in Variety Read BEST WORST! Or…..If he had won a Grammy headline would the headline read BEST BEST!

  47. James C. Nevers

    When he was fired from the Beetles did the headline in Variety Read BEST WORST! Or…..If he had won a Grammy headline would the headline read BEST BEST!

  48. James C. Nevers

    When he was fired from the Beetles did the headline in Variety Read BEST WORST! Or…..If he had won a Grammy headline would the headline read BEST BEST!

  49. Joanne Ginty

    What a pity that this man's only claim to fame is that he was so lousy he got fired. And what a shame some people choose to memorialize it!

  50. Tony Quinnell

    It was 50 years ago today, Pete Best was taken away, so let me introduce to you the one and only Ringo Starr!

  51. Mark Christopher

    TOM chilek has it right, but I heard George Harrison say the band just rocked and really swung when Ringo was behind the kit…It appears Pete Best got a nice payoff with the Anthology so in the end he is okay…

  52. Larry Raiteri

    I'm glad they don't do stories like these on the jobs ive been fired from. id be mortified if I clicked on yahoo one day and saw the headline Larry R fired from mcdonads. id be like "wtf? that was 25 years ago. I was just a kid and I wanted to go to the st patricks day parties instead of work."
    john was asked once in an interview, if he thought ringo was the best drummer in the world. john responded "hes not even the best drummer in the beatles".

  53. Tim Niles

    Most people aren't bothered by the change… it's the idea that the Beatles sold so many millions of LPs and 45s, and THEN music CDs, and THEN DVDs… and now music files… and they didn't bother to send him a dime until Anthology came out! Not only that, wasn't Best's family something of a haven for the early Beatles? I realize that even with Epstein protecting 'the boys' the British music industry was still treating them like disposables; the Stones in 1969 were virtually penniless, paying to get out of a miserable contract. Most humans subject to that kind of institutional mistreatment would say – and act – "Not US! We treat each other RIGHT!"

    Doesn't in any way diminish the impact that the Beatles have had on popular music! Without them… we MIGHT have listened to Frankie Avalon backed by electric guitar (singing tin pan alley tunes) but not m;uch more. So much easier to sell mundane garbage when NOTHING stands out.

    The OOPs 50 not 40 gaffe reminds me of 20+ years ago when I was working with a bright young woman who had been born in 1965. I used to make comments – waiting of course until she was focused mostly on some piece of work (timing is everything) – like "Teri, you remember when the Beatles came to America?" and then just enough time for her to come partly out of focus… "Oh, that's right… you weren't BORN YET." De nada.

  54. Dave Daniels

    WOW! Can we make this a National Holiday? Just because the Olympics were in England the entire news media feels we are sitting on the edge of our seats just waiting to hear the latest boring, trivial news about England or anything they deem newsworthy involving the Beatles. Heres one they should cover ad nauseum: HEY PAUL,,, LOSE THAT NASTY SQUIRREL THAT's TAKEN UP RESIDENCE ATOP YOUR WRINKLED HEAD!

  55. Michael Dampier

    I knew a lady who grew up in Liverpool and used to hang out at the Cavern during the Beatles residency there. She claimed that the reason the Beatles got rid of Pete Best was that he would as often as not show up for the gigs. One night he was a no show and Ringo sat in for him. She was there that night that it happened. One of the members asked over the PA if there were any drummers that wanted to set in and the rest is history. Anyway, that was her story.

  56. James Johnson

    Yeah that was a stupid error on Dan Evon's part, but have no fear he has been assigned to clean the office bathrooms for the next month. It's the crappiest (pun intended) job we could think of next to covering the DNC or RNC. Ugh. Thanks for the spot though as we constantly monitor user comments to fix inaccuracies in reporting or in this case basic 1st grade mathematics.

  57. Gregory J Malis

    not stupid … just inconceivable that a half a century has passed by – seems more like forty years to me ~

  58. Joe Villella

    "Cynthia Lennon once said Pete never fit in." Aha! The plot thickens…

  59. Jeff Labadie

    Cheryl: Three people are ok with you not being in a four-piece band, you hire a lawyer? What a maroon. You pretty much represent everything that's wrong with America.

  60. Joanne Bertucci Cascio

    the reason they picked ringo, back in those days was because he was the only one who had a station wagon who could transport their equipment, and that is a true story that I heard ringo talk about in a interview.

  61. Mac Donald

    Cheryl,
    So you would file an injunction to stay in a band that does not want you? Your Bio says you work as a vendor at the Eleven Agency, are you sure you don't work as a vendor at the local 7-11?

  62. Dennis William Vernier

    Pete Best has a really fine band that he has been touring with for several years.
    They play mostly songs from the Cavern period and also originals. It's funny how people that have never seen him play make comments about his playing ability.

  63. Dennis William Vernier

    There are hundreds of excellent musicians that never make it into a world famous band. Pete had offers to go with other bands and turned them down. Today he tours with the Pete Best Band, an excellent group of musicians that play a lot of the music from the early days of the Cavern Club in Liverpool along with originals. It's funny how people comment on his playing and have never seen him perform. The musicians from England that managed to break through really big were really just the tip of the iceberg. The music business is and always has been about "who you know." The world has no shortage of excellent musicians and most never get famous. Reality.

  64. Cheryl Jane Bean

    The Beatles were not just some band Gary. They were the Fabs and were months away from super stardom. To cut Pete out the way they did was wrong and they have said they felt bad about their behavior. Do you?

  65. Suk Mi Nao

    if pete best is really good, he should put a band that can compete with the beatles,..DAVE MUSTAINE was fired by METALLICA, and he gave them a very tight competition,..

  66. Cheryl Jane Bean

    Jeff Labadie None of you know me so dont make blanket staments. The Beatles were on the verge of stardom and they knew it. Kicking Pete out just before their ship came in is terrible.

  67. Cheryl Jane Bean

    Dan Sperl The Beatles are NOT just another band. Their success beyond anyone' wildest dreams. To miss out on that would be hard to deal with for most people.

  68. Darrin Matteson

    So you're saying the Beatles wanted Pete to be different just like all those other non-conformists out there?

  69. Toni Lynn Szwarek Quinnell

    It is ridiculous when people say Ringo wasn't a good enough drummer for the Beatles. That's like saying that water would be more refreshing if it wasn't wet. Or my dog would be cuter than he already is if he were a bird. Or… you get my point! lol! x

  70. Sean Rolnick

    My father was Pete bests manager and made two albums in 1966. Best of the Beatles and the Savage young Beatles. Brian was Gay! Nothing wrong with that but Pete may have not liked the compliments of how good hw looks, Brian got him out, he had the power to do this, Pete had no chance….fact!

  71. Sean Rolnick

    I have a lot more info on this subject, after all, i have those records now and will eventualy re release them. I want Pete to getcwhat he deserves! Lotsa money!!!!!

  72. Sean Rolnick

    The masters of those records that Tony Alamo stole from my fathers house are property of my family. Ill get em back…Tony knows who he got them from….

  73. Anonymous

    Pete Best became a multi-millionaire 20 years ago from Anthology and has a band that has traveled all over the world. Don't feel sorry for him anymore.

  74. Anonymous

    Pete Best became a multi-millionaire 20 years ago from Anthology and has a band that has traveled all over the world. Don't feel sorry for him anymore