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Beatles kick out Pete - cold and heartless?
22 August 2013
5.43pm
DrBeatle
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mccartneyalarm said
Okay, so his name is Rogue (which could carry some negative implications). His mom is the mother of the drummer that the Beatles dumped. His dad is the business manager (for lack of better term) of the Beatles, and his dad's best friend is the drummer the Beatles dumped. I almost feel sorry for him except I have been told he is a wonderful guy who has been pretty successful (but that info is based on friends' Beatles gossip, not actual research). Whew! You couldn't make this stuff up! What is happening with Rogue nowadays?

He's playing drums alongside Pete in The Pete Best Band. They tour, release albums, appear at Beatles conventions, etc.

 

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23 August 2013
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mccartneyalarm
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Somehow, I had a feeling someone was going to say that! Whew!

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

9 February 2014
12.15am
tulane
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Spencer Leigh has written a book about the sacking of Pete Best.  "Drummed Out!" I believe it is called.  I have not read it but have heard good things about it.  Spencer is a massive Beatles fan and is certainly not a hatchet man like Grossman so I would be inclined to believe Spencer.  Apparently, the Beatles do not come out of this in a good light.  From what I've heard, the sacking of Best was motivated by jealousy because Best was very popular.  I must stress though that I have not read the book myself.  Would be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone who has.

Two things stand out to me though from what I have heard.

1) The Beatles would not tell Pete – they got Brian Epstein to do it for them which is a bit cowardly in my opinion.

2) The Beatles tried to make out that George Martin was the one who decided that Pete had to go but George Martin said he just decided to use a session musician on the record, not to kick Pete out of the group altogether.

According to Wikipedia, George Martin said:

"The drums were important to me for a record, but they didn't matter much otherwise. Fans don't pay particular attention to the quality of the drumming"

I find this explanation plausible.  When the Byrds made their first record, Michael Clarke wasn't allowed to play on it – a session musician played instead.  Michael Clarke wasn't sacked from the Byrds however.  He just didn't play on the first record.  George Martin brought in a session musician for Love Me Do because he presumably wasn't happy with Ringo's drumming either, but Ringo didn't end up getting sacked.  Also George Martin is correct to say that the average person doesn't really pay attention to the drumming.  I believe if you played them the three different versions of Love Me Do most people would struggle to tell the difference.  George Martin may have called the shots in the studio but he why would he care what drummer they used on the road?  It was common to use different musicians on the road than in the studio.  By definition, a session musician is someone who only plays on the records and doesn't go on the road.  If I'm not mistaken, when making pet sounds, Brian Wilson stayed in the studio and the Beach Boys got another bass player to go on the road so that Brian could concentrate on the studio stuff.  Also the Beatles showed they could be assertive and put their foot down when George Martin wanted them to do "How Do You Do It" as their first single and they would have none of it, but on this matter they seemed to make out that they were powerless and Pete had to go and it was something outside of their control. 

9 February 2014
1.42am
4or5Magicians
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It's been covered how it was cowardly to have Brian kick Pete out of the band, and the rest of the Beatles have admitted as such. Cold and heartless? If he wasn't up to par and wouldn't fit in with the image that made them headliners, I'm of the opinion that it was a good move handled poorly. What I find somewhat cold and heartless with ripping his head out of the picture on the cover of Anthology 1. Stu was left in the collage, so I think they could have kept a picture of Pete in there somewhere. On the plus side, it made for a great cover on the Pete Best Band's "Haymans Green" album.

9 February 2014
6.00pm
Linde
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^

Clever!

11 February 2014
12.57pm
WETSRoosa
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4or5Magicians said
It's been covered how it was cowardly to have Brian kick Pete out of the band, and the rest of the Beatles have admitted as such. Cold and heartless? If he wasn't up to par and wouldn't fit in with the image that made them headliners, I'm of the opinion that it was a good move handled poorly. What I find somewhat cold and heartless with ripping his head out of the picture on the cover of Anthology 1. Stu was left in the collage, so I think they could have kept a picture of Pete in there somewhere. On the plus side, it made for a great cover on the Pete Best Band's "Haymans Green" album.

 

I'm getting that album in the next few days, actually. I already got the Pete Best Combo's Beyond the Beatles 1964-66 album, as I'm working on a Pete Best episode. One listen to Beyond the Beatles and it's pretty clear why that band never took off, though there is some decent stuff on there. I've heard good things about Haymans Green, so I'm looking forward to getting that one.

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11 February 2014
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DrBeatle
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This debate always amuses me…regardless of how they did it, Lewisohn puts it to bed once and for all, in my opinion, in Tune In…HE WAS NOT A VERY GOOD DRUMMER. Just use your ears and the difference between Pete and Ringo is startling. It's not like he was his generation's Keith Moon and the sacking made no sense…he was pretty poor. They've been on record as saying they only asked him to join because he had his own kit and they were 2 days from leaving for Hamburg and needed a drummer desperately. The personalities didn't match, the talent level didn't match, the dedication and vision didn't match. It worked out the way it was supposed to.

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11 February 2014
1.55pm
Ron Nasty
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Wasn't Keith Moon his generation's Keith Moon?

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11 February 2014
2.08pm
DrBeatle
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mja6758 said
Wasn't Keith Moon his generation's Keith Moon?

Haha, fair enough! I meant the pre-Beatles era. Maybe I should've said Gene Krupa? :lol:

 

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11 February 2014
3.45pm
WETSRoosa
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DrBeatle said

mja6758 said
Wasn't Keith Moon his generation's Keith Moon?

Haha, fair enough! I meant the pre-Beatles era. Maybe I should've said Gene Krupa? :lol:

 

 

From what I have heard on Beyond the Beatles (only about 2/3 of the way through), Best's limitations as a drummer is pretty obvious. On some of the songs, you can't even hear the drums. Not that the drumming should be the focal point, but it's pretty hard to keep track of the song if you've lost the rhythm. That's another of Pete's problems: keeping time. "Love Me Do" from the June '62 sessions on Anthology 1 is a good example of Pete's lack of timing. I'm trying to make this a positive episode on Pete's behalf, but it's the old "lipstick on a pig" theory coming into play. Sugarcoat it all you want, Pete just couldn't compare with Ringo. No shame in that at all; Ringo's one of a kind.

"Daddy, just remember... Mommy's smarter than you. She said so."- My 4 year old
11 February 2014
5.01pm
Billy Rhythm
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"cold and heartless?"  It was just business really, which often is "cold and heartless".  I always felt that John, Paul & George had been waiting for the right moment to replace Pete long before they actually did, George Martin's concerns about his abilities to record pretty much accelerated the process.  When someone doesn't turn up for work on more than one occasion (which Pete allegedly was guilty of), it usually does lead to a replacement of some kind either immediately or down the road.  Supposedly, the reason that Pete had played hooky in Hamburg was because he wanted to spend time with his stripper girlfriend instead and if this was indeed the case, surely anyone can understand why the others would start thinking about other options even back then.

wetsroosa said 

  
 
From what I have heard on Beyond the Beatles (only about 2/3 of the way through), Best's limitations as a drummer is pretty obvious. On some of the songs, you can't even hear the drums. Not that the drumming should be the focal point, but it's pretty hard to keep track of the song if you've lost the rhythm. That's another of Pete's problems: keeping time. "Love Me Do" from the June '62 sessions on Anthology 1 is a good example of Pete's lack of timing.

As far as the case for Pete's drumming?  The best way to acetane how much better Ringo was for their sound is to directly compare versions of the same song with both of them playing on.  The 'Love Me Do' example you gave isn't the best one to compare for by Ringo's own admission he copied Andy White's work on the take where Ringo played.  One of the better ones to use is this 1962 recording (Decca Tapes, I think) of 'Money (That's What I Want)' where Pete is playing on.  His drumming is always more "playing along" than "driving it" and the disparity between the band's sound on the 'With The Beatles' version (granted a much better recording) with this one is very evident:

 

 

With Pete Best on drums, The Beatles had no solid rhythm section, the drums were merely "accompaniment" to what the other three were doing.  When Ringo joined, he and Paul jelled into the Greatest Rhythm Section of All-Time almost immediately and it's no coincidence that The Beatles fortunes grew exponentially from that moment on.  Ringo's playing allowed for all three to soar beyond their own creative limits at the time, while Pete's playing had been stifling them for years.  George's remarks on the 'Anthology' on how "history shows that Ringo was always the member of the group, he just didn't enter the movie until that particular frame" pretty much says it Best (pun intended)…:-)

11 February 2014
6.21pm
WETSRoosa
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Billy Rhythm said
As far as the case for Pete's drumming?  The best way to acetane how much better Ringo was for their sound is to directly compare versions of the same song with both of them playing on.  The 'Love Me Do' example you gave isn't the best one to compare for by Ringo's own admission he copied Andy White's work on the take where Ringo played.  One of the better ones to use is this 1962 recording (Decca Tapes, I think) of 'Money (That's What I Want)' where Pete is playing on.  His drumming is always more "playing along" than "driving it" and the disparity between the band's sound on the 'With The Beatles' version (granted a much better recording) with this one is very evident:

Even if Ringo was copying Andy's work, I think that particular "Love Me Do" still highlights Pete's struggle (I wouldn't say inability) to keep time, which was the thing I was going for. And having now finished Beyond the Beatles, it's not just "Love Me Do" that Pete loses sense of time within the song. There's a good 4-5 songs on that record that starts out one way, then either gets sped up or slowed down depending on where Pete's going. Then again, on many of the other songs on that record, it's the other members of the band that sounds out of it, and Pete's the only one who comes across professionally. Let's just say that, for the most part, the Pete Best Combo is about on par as any teenager starting a band in his parent's garage, and that's almost an insult to the aforementioned teenager.

"Daddy, just remember... Mommy's smarter than you. She said so."- My 4 year old
11 February 2014
7.04pm
meanmistermustard
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The recording dates for Love Me Do are often mixed up: Ringo played on the 4th September recording, White played on the 11th, so it was bloody hard for Ringo to copy Andy's work as he said he did.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
11 February 2014
7.23pm
Billy Rhythm
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meanmistermustard said
The recording dates for Love Me Do are often mixed up: Ringo played on the 4th September recording, White played on the 11th, so it was bloody hard for Ringo to copy Andy's work as he said he did.

 

This is why I prefer to use Lewisohn's documentation as secondary, or evidence to be used in a "supporting" context for it doesn't tell you the whole story at all.  Ringo showed up at the first recording session, according to BOTH George Martin and Ringo, expecting to play and Andy White played instead.  Ringo was handed a tambourine, and was only allowed to play on a few takes after Andy White played first, and I have no reason to doubt these first hand accounts over the "evidence" which is either inaccurate or doesn't tell you the whole story.  Ringo was likely very aware of the professional approach that George Martin was taking, and although he didn't like it, he wasn't about to rock the cart further and wisely opted to copy Andy's work to show George that he was just as capable as the "professional" drummer.  Again, "all you need is ears", the similarity between the drum tracks of the single & album versions is there for all to hear, Andy played first then Ringo copied it meticulously, regardless of the picture somebody who wasn't there paints…:-)   

11 February 2014
8.15pm
Ron Nasty
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I would agree, especially with two dates so close together, that it is easy for people to confuse events. However, what Lewisohn bases his take on the order of the events on, is the studio records from the time, and the official EMI record of the session that Andy was paid. Either all these documents made AT THE TIME are WRONG, or there are some faulty memories. I find it hard to think so many documents are wrong.

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11 February 2014
8.24pm
Ron Nasty
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Looking right now at Andy White's "Session Fees and Expenses" sheet, as reproduced in Lewisohn. It shows he was paid for a session on the 23 August 1962, and his next session was the 11 September. We know the dates for the recording of Love Me Do, and we have Andy's payslip saying he was paid for a session on the 11th, where is the argument about what session he played on?

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11 February 2014
8.51pm
Billy Rhythm
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mja6758 said
I would agree, especially with two dates so close together, that it is easy for people to confuse events. However, what Lewisohn bases his take on the order of the events on, is the studio records from the time, and the official EMI record of the session that Andy was paid. Either all these documents made AT THE TIME are WRONG, or there are some faulty memories. I find it hard to think so many documents are wrong.

 

Yeah, the date that Andy White was paid could differ from the date he actually played, who knows.  I personally doubt the accuracy of many of those studio records, unless they're hand written notes by those who were in the room with The Beatles on the tape boxes themselves, how can you really trust that persons who came in the day after, etc. doing administrative duties (who probably weren't being paid very much) took extra care in ensuring that these documents were 100% accurate?  Not to mention that many session musicians were "free lancers" who often get paid in "brown paper bag money" which differs greatly than what's reflected on the books.

 

What further clouds the issue with 'Love Me Do' is that the 'Anthology' was the first time that I'd heard of Ringo "playing on the album version", when it was always portrayed in the books I'd read before that Andy White played "on the album version" which is the more common version of the song.  I'd always believed that Ringo played on the single which wasn't issued as widely.  Now why would I doubt Ringo's "first-hand" account on this one?  Well, remembering details of what happened vs. details about albums that you never bought or listened to is different, witness John introducing 'Baby's In Black' as a track from 'Beatles VI' at Shea Stadium during the same year that album came out.  Lewisohn's dates could be correct as documented but the drummers could have been mixed up as well.

 

Bottom line is that Lewisohn's information is a second-hand account and should be treated as such, and that's no disrespect to him or the work he's done.  Reporters get details wrong all of the time when they rely on second-hand information, especially the fine details that most skip over, and they're paid "writers".  There's examples of his accounts that have proven to be false and even more examples that are of questionable accuracy.  I don't have such a big problem with him using the word "Complete" in the title of his book to help sell it, but the word is taken far too literally by too many as if there's nothing else other than the "official EMI record" which is far from "complete"…:-)

12 February 2014
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Necko
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Cold?  Yes.  Heartless?  Maybe.

The fact remains, however, that Pete Best just wasn't half as good of a drummer as Ringo was and is.  It's all about the music and what's best for the band.

I'm Necko.  I'm like Ringo except I wear necklaces.
12 February 2014
11.39am
Ron Nasty
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Billy Rhythm said

mja6758 said
I would agree, especially with two dates so close together, that it is easy for people to confuse events. However, what Lewisohn bases his take on the order of the events on, is the studio records from the time, and the official EMI record of the session that Andy was paid. Either all these documents made AT THE TIME are WRONG, or there are some faulty memories. I find it hard to think so many documents are wrong.

 

Yeah, the date that Andy White was paid could differ from the date he actually played, who knows.  I personally doubt the accuracy of many of those studio records, unless they're hand written notes by those who were in the room with The Beatles on the tape boxes themselves, how can you really trust that persons who came in the day after, etc. doing administrative duties (who probably weren't being paid very much) took extra care in ensuring that these documents were 100% accurate?  Not to mention that many session musicians were "free lancers" who often get paid in "brown paper bag money" which differs greatly than what's reflected on the books.

 

What further clouds the issue with 'Love Me Do' is that the 'Anthology' was the first time that I'd heard of Ringo "playing on the album version", when it was always portrayed in the books I'd read before that Andy White played "on the album version" which is the more common version of the song.  I'd always believed that Ringo played on the single which wasn't issued as widely.  Now why would I doubt Ringo's "first-hand" account on this one?  Well, remembering details of what happened vs. details about albums that you never bought or listened to is different, witness John introducing 'Baby's In Black' as a track from 'Beatles VI' at Shea Stadium during the same year that album came out.  Lewisohn's dates could be correct as documented but the drummers could have been mixed up as well.

 

Bottom line is that Lewisohn's information is a second-hand account and should be treated as such, and that's no disrespect to him or the work he's done.  Reporters get details wrong all of the time when they rely on second-hand information, especially the fine details that most skip over, and they're paid "writers".  There's examples of his accounts that have proven to be false and even more examples that are of questionable accuracy.  I don't have such a big problem with him using the word "Complete" in the title of his book to help sell it, but the word is taken far too literally by too many as if there's nothing else other than the "official EMI record" which is far from "complete"…:-)

The document, listing sessions from 26 April 1962 to 24 March 1963 do not list when he was paid, but what he was paid for. Ron Richards – "We weren't happy with the drum sound on the (4th)…" who incidentally produced the session on the 11th, "so I booked Andy White for the re-make. I used him a lot at the time – he was very good."

In historical studies, contemporary documentation is NEVER considered as anything less than primary sources unless they are shown to be flawed. Ringo himself has said that Andy White was there on the 11th, and not the 4th. In fact, Ringo has given detailed accounts of his drumming on the 4th.

What you are suggesting is that Ringo is wrong, Ron Richards is wrong, Andy White's pay sheet is wrong, the studio documentation is wrong. There is a couple of quotes that predate things being looked at in detail, that do the "We were expecting Pete and they arrived with Ringo" bit, but everyone involved, and all the documents, say Ringo on the 4th and Andy on the 11th.

Happy to learn something new, but if you come up with a quote that contradicts, be sure it post-dates ML, as I can't find any.

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12 February 2014
1.53pm
Ahhh Girl
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A few other threads on the forum use the term "sack" or one of its variants to describe this event. So to help this thread be found more readily with a Google search, I am adding the term here. Please continue with this most excellent discussion of the sacking of Pete Best.

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