On Mon, 18 Oct 2010 14:14:31 -0700 (PDT), TheWalrusWasDanny
Post by TheWalrusWasDanny
I've said it before
Here is Cry for a Shadow as recorded in 1961 with drums by Pete Best.
There is nothing wrong with the drumming at all. Further evidence that
Pete Best left the band as a mutual agreement because of the Mona/Neil/
Danny, I've noticed a trend to re-write history recently - not so much
in here, but all over the web.
The other Beatles wouldn't care about affairs and fathering children,
etc., especially if Best was an excellent drummer. He wasn't, and he
couldn't keep it together. There were many other reasons, too. His
appearance, dress, habitual tardiness and absences and so on.
Best was never told why he was dismissed from The Beatles, as the only
reason Epstein stated to him was, "The lads don't want you in the
group anymore". Epstein subsequently claimed in his autobiography
that Lennon, McCartney and Harrison thought Best "too conventional to
be a Beatle, and though he was friendly with John, he was not liked by
George and Paul." It has been documented (notably in Cynthia
Lennon's book John) that while Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison usually
spent their offstage time together in Hamburg and Liverpool, writing
songs or socialising, Best generally went off alone. This left Best on
the outside, as he was not privy to many of the group's experiences,
references, and in-jokes.
On their first trip to Hamburg, The Beatles realised that the stage
suits they wore could not stand up to the hours of sweating and
jumping about on stage every night, so they all bought leather
jackets, jeans and cowboy boots, which were much tougher. Best
preferred to play in short sleeves, and so did not match the sartorial
style of the group, even though he was later photographed wearing a
leather jacket and jeans. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and
Sutcliffe were introduced to drugs in Hamburg. As they had to play for
hours every night, they often took Preludin to keep themselves awake,
which were given to them by German customers or by Astrid Kirchherr,
whose mother bought them. Lennon would often take four or five,
but Best always refused to join in.
Kirchherr asked The Beatles if they would mind letting her take
photographs of them in a photo session, which impressed them, as other
groups only had snapshots that were taken by friends. The next morning
Kirchherr took photographs in a municipal park called "der Dom" which
was close to the Reeperbahn, and in the afternoon she took them
allminus Best who decided not to goto her mother's house in
Altona. Best was described by Dot RhoneMcCartney's girlfriend
at the time, who later visited Hamburgas being very quiet, and never
taking part in conversations with the group.
Best's popularity with fans was a source of friction, as many female
fans considered Best to be the band's best-looking member. It has
been said that Epstein became exasperated with Best's refusal to adopt
the mop-top-style Beatle haircut as part of their unified look,
although Best later claimed that he was never asked to change his
hairstyle. In a 1995 BBC Radio Merseyside interview, Kirchherr
explained: "My boyfriend, Klaus Voorman, had this hairstyle, and
Stuart [Sutcliffe] liked it very, very much. He was the first one who
really got the nerve to get the Brylcreem out of his hair, and asking
me to cut his hair for him. Pete Best has really curly hair, and it
Radio Merseyside presenter, Spencer Leigh, wrote a book chronicling
Best's firing, suggesting that the other members, McCartney in
particular, were jealous. During the Teenagers' Turn showcase in
Manchester, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison walked on stage to
applause, but when Best walked on, the girls screamed. Best was
surrounded at the stage door afterwards by attentive females while the
other members were ignored after signing a few autographs. McCartney's
father, Jim McCartney, was present at the time and admonished Best by
saying: "Why did you have to attract all the attention? Why didn't you
call the other lads back? I think that was very selfish of you".
Mona Best's take on her son's sacking, as told to British television
in 1963 with Pete by her side: "From the point of clash of
personalties, well, probably that may be it because Peter did have a
terrific fan club, you know, compared to the others. [Interviewer:
"Too good looking perhaps, eh?"] I'll leave that for other people to
say but from my point of view we haven't come here to sort of throw
sticks and stones at the boys because there is no really hard feeling.
There was at first, but it's just the way that it was done that has
annoyed us. If it had been done a bit more straightforward it would
have been more to the mark." Martin was shocked that Epstein had
sacked Best: "He seemed to be the most salable commodity as far as
looks went. It was a surprise when I learned that they had dropped
Pete. The drums were important to me for a record, but they didnt
matter much otherwise. Fans dont pay particular attention to the
quality of the drumming". Martin used session musician Andy White
on the third session for "Love Me Do" on 11 September, and not Starr,
who was Best's replacement.
Musically Best has been judged to have had a limited rhythmic
vocabulary that was seen as holding the other three band members back
from their collective musical growth. George Martin, as noted above,
deemed Best's drumming to be inadequate for a record. As stated in Bob
Spitz's 2005 biography, "All Pete could do was play 'Fours'..." a
style of drumming that uses kick drum notes on every quarter note to
hold down the beat. Spitz's book also contains engineer Ron Richards'
account of his failed attempts to teach Best somewhat more complicated
beats for different songs. Critic and Beatles historian Richie
Unterberger described Best's drumming at the Decca session as "thinly
textured and rather unimaginative" and said that Best "pushes the
beat a little too fast for comfort". Unterberger thought Ringo
Starr to be "more talented." Beatles critic Alan W. Pollack
compared the Best, Starr, and Andy White versions of "Love Me Do" and
concluded that Best was "an incredibly unsteady and tasteless drummer"
on his version.. For his part, Best has explained in an
interview that variations in tempo were in accordance with how the
song was being performed live at the time.
All the other Beatles went on record about the dismissal of Best. Paul
McCartney said that "it was a strictly professional decision. If he
wasn't up to the mark... then there was no other choice". He also
pronounced Best to be "a bit limited." Lennon called the accusations
of jealousy a "myth", claimed that Best was only recruited for the
band because The Beatles needed a drummer to go to Hamburg, and said,
"We were always going to dump him when we found a decent drummer."
Harrison said that "Pete kept being sick and not showing up for gigs"
and claimed that "I was quite responsible for stirring things up. I
conspired to get Ringo in for good; I talked to Paul and John until
they came round to the idea." For his part, Ringo said that "I
felt I was a much better drummer than he was."
Lennon, McCartney and Harrison all later stated that they regretted
the manner in which they sacked Best. Lennon admitted that "We were
cowards when we sacked him." McCartney has stated that "I do feel
sorry for him, because of what he could have been on to." Harrison
said "We weren't very good at telling Pete he had to go" and
"Historically it may look like we did something nasty to Pete and it
may have been that we could have handled it better." Ringo, on the
other hand, feels he has no apology to make: "I never felt sorry for
Pete Best. I was not involved." The Beatles authority Mark
Lewisohn has concluded that "Despite his alleged shortcomings, it was
still shabby treatment for Pete... the most underhand, unfortunate and
unforgivable chapter in The Beatles' rise to monumental power."