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Pete Best: why was he really kicked out? Was it fair?
1 December 2014
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Oudis
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Hello everybody, I’d like to start a thread and for once I’d like to respectfully ask the Mods not to merge it with one hundred other posts that touch the same topic. The subject of this thread is Peter Best, a faithful and competent drummer that was kicked out and replaced by Richard Starkey just when The Beatles were about to make it big time. We need to know the facts first. I’ve read that it happened because he couldn’t play well enough when the band was trying to make their first single, I’ve read that it happened because he wouldn’t have his hair cut the way the others did, I’ve read that his personality didn’t match the personas that Brian Epstein was designing to make The Beatles the band (the manufactured act, John himself admitted it years later) it would become, and finally I’ve heard in the clip I post here that it was because he was the most popular with the girls and the others were jealous of that. I want to know what you know and what you think (the two are different things). And I want your opinion, from a moral viewpoint –was it correct, appropriate, to dismiss a musician who had been part of the band for many years, and contributed to the band with a special sound? Was it wrong but artistically necessary? I’ll admit that the incident makes me feel sorry for him, but I also find it morally disgusting. I will also admit that I couldn’t care less for Ringo –I cannot judge his drumming, I’ll concede that, but he was no creative force in The Beatles. George Martin was more important, at least in my opinion; he would become the fourth Beatle, artistically speaking (many of you are already holding your knives in your hands to scalp me, aren’t you?) I know that for those of you who are enamored with the myth of The Beatles, the four adorable, witty lads from Liverpool, Ringo is an essential part of it. But not for me: I believe anybody could have been in his place. Why not Peter Best is the question. What was wrong with Peter Best? I know it’s going to be a controversial topic; let’s keep it civilized and sensible please. Thank you.

 

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

1 December 2014
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1 December 2014
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Let's start with the facts;

Pete Best was their drummer by necessity - they needed a drummer for Germany ASAP. 

He never was one of the guys, insofar as their social group. He was an outsider inside the band.

They had played with Ringo in Hamburg, and they thought he was a better fit, both musically and in terms of group dynamics

George Martin voiced opposition to his drumming skills on June 6th, 1962. That gave the guys another reason to do what they already wanted to do.

 

Now, some opinion. 

Morality is not an important way to look at this. This is a musical band, nothing more. We impart far too much importance to morality in situations where it is not relevant. They made a call. It's neither moral or immoral. 

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1 December 2014
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Mr. Kite
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-12a-hard-days-night-ringo-7a-hard-days-night-ringo-13

I'm generally in agreement with you @Oudis, but here I respectfully (and really strongly) disagree. Ringo was just as important to the band as the other three, it was the perfect combination that allowed them to excel the way they did. Maybe they could've survived with Pete as their drummer, but I doubt they would've gotten past the early stage of their music. Ringo was the best drummer in Liverpool, in an already quite successful band, the other three Beatles already wanted him and it was the perfect opportunity to dispose of Pete. I do feel bad for him, but don't think he missed out, because if he was in the same position, the band wouldn't have been that big. His conflicting personality wouldn't have allowed the major popularity boom leading to Beatlemania, because a lot of the appeal was the group dynamic, can you imagine Pete in A Hard Day's Night ? And he wasn't skilled enough as a drummer to keep up with the others.

Ringo may not have been a 'creative force,' if by that you mean an amazing songwriter, but the way he played, and his distinct sound (caused by the fact that he's a lefty playing righty kit) are a major part of what we hear on Beatles songs. I doubt Pete would've been able to pull off Tomorrow Never Knows (especially) or Come Together , and would he have been able to drum on Here Comes The Sun with its odd time signature?

In response to the creativity aspect once again, I've heard Ringo say in a few interviews that he wrote more songs than anyone knew because they never got on the records, and with how hard it was for George to even get a place, a man who became such an extraordinary songwriter by the end of the 60's, Ringo's lack of songwriting credit can't be held against him. He wasn't a lyrical genius like Lennon-McCartney. That being so, he did inspire them on quite a few occasions, did John or Paul come up with the phrase A Hard Day's Night ?

Just as mr. Sun king pointed out, Pete went with them to Germany because they needed to leave quickly. The only reason he was in the band to begin with was because he was one of the few people who owned their own kit, and his mom had a venue, the Casbah Coffee Club.

RINGO FOREVER, PETE BEST NEVER!! blue-meanie
a-hard-days-night-ringo-10ahdn_ringo_09a-hard-days-night-ringo-10ahdn_ringo_09a-hard-days-night-ringo-10

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1 December 2014
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The Beatles…….The group that contained both the world's luckiest and unluckiest drummers…...

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1 December 2014
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First of all, Ringo was the best drummer and in no way he was lucky. 

"he who works hard seeks the reward" . Pete was never on the same level as Ringo !

Im not going in detail cause I have some other important work and Luck is a man-made word and losers use them who can't win big

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1 December 2014
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Hey Jude ! said
Luck is a man-made word and losers use them who can't win big

I’m derailing but, really, you don’t believe chance is a variable in people’s lives? Well, I guess I thought so too thirty years ago, but life proved me wrong, both in terms of good and bad luck.

Sorry, let’s stick to the topic now.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

1 December 2014
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Matt Busby
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I agree with the points, made so elegantly, by Mr kite and others.

This sort of switching place often in the music biz where a bunch of new talent is brewing.  Did Pete end up drumming consistently through the 60s and 70s at least,  session work or bands?

I write it off to "following the muse". Ringo's personality was perfect with the others whereas Petes wasn't.  Ringo had the boyish charm and curiosity. Nothing against Pete, he surely could have found another band. But this is how it was meant to be. Like soul mates. Can you picture Pete on in my life? Say what you will, but the boys' ability to crack jokes, say the same thing at the same time, and just play off each other like improv comics shows that the four were meant to be together.

Pete

seems to have accepted it (mostly),  perhaps with a twinge of leftover bitterness. Of course the royalties from anthology might help him feel better ;)

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1 December 2014
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I agree with Mr. Kite.  The proof -as they say- is in the pudding.  While I like Pete Best as a person, have and still follow him to an extent, and believe he was fully capable of providing a distinct, charismatic persona to The Beatles, the evidence is there.  It's been there for a long time.  He is who he is, and he isn't Ringo.

I've long-held the conviction that the sole, true reason he was replaced was due to that conflict of personality.  He was the proverbial square peg.

If he had the skill, he would have been in demand after being dismissed.  But that didn't happen.

If he had been a mate, he wouldn't have been asked to leave.  Lennon was far too obstinate and loyal to his friends to ask one to leave simply because someone else didn't think they fit the plan.  He'd cut friends before, but it was always after deep consideration.  If Stu Sutcliffe were alive today, he would attest to that fact.

If Best had been so, I can't be certain what would have transpired after Martin's now-infamous assessment, but I'm pretty sure the fight would have lasted longer than it did and I don't think Lennon and McCartney would have been so eager to drive all the way out to Butlin's to corral Starkey.

I think the fix was in back in Hamburg, they liked him from the get-go and it just took that last straw to set everything in motion.

To drive home my point, I'll go so far as to suggest they could have easily found a better drummer than Ringo... but they didn't want 'a drummer.'  They wanted him; he was one of them.  They got on together.  The energy, the synergy... it's all now so evident.

Look back and consider their individual reactions and attitudes during the fights, the break-up, their deaths... who appears to be the most affected?  In the years between the break-up and his death, who did Lennon spend the most time with?  Who was the first one there after learning the news?

Ringo loved them as his brothers.  Because that's what they became to him.  And even though Lennon and Best shared some moments together, it was something he could never be.

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1 December 2014
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I recall John saying that whilst the timing didnt look great it was the right thing to do as Ringo was a Beatle - i'm sure its in the Anthology. Certainly in the Anthology book John is quoted as saying that   

The reason he got into group in the first place was because we had to have a drummer to get to Hamburg. We were always going to dump him when we could find a decent drummer, but by the time we were back from Germany we'd trained him to keep a stick going up and down (four-in-the-bar, he couldn't do much else) and he looked nice and the girls liked him, so it was all right.

The timing sucked but what were they meant to do, keep a drummer they didn't really want out of loyalty even when a record producer was saying he was going to get another drummer for the session work? And what would that have done for Pete's and the band's confidence over time? Like mr sun king i don't buy into the whole loyalty argument, acts are always dropping members who don't quite fit so they can get a record deal.

Pete had a different personality which never really fitted in with the others ("mean, moody and magnificent" as it was said) whereas when Ringo did.

   GEORGE: There was another thing: Pete would never hang out with us. When we finished doing the gig, Pete would go off on his own and we three would hang out together, and then when Ringo was around it was like a full unit, both on and off the stage. When there were the four of us with Ringo, it felt rocking.

and 

      GEORGE: To me it was apparent: Pete kept being sick and not showing up for gigs so we would get Ringo to sit in with the band instead, and every time Ringo sat in, it seemed like 'this is it'. Eventually we realised, 'We should get Ringo in the band full time.'

As for Pete's drumming you can hear on the Anthology 'Love Me Do ' that Pete is ok till the middle and then gets lost. Time has proven the call was right and Ringo was the best drummer for the Beatles. And Pete hasn't done too badly out of it, he trades off having gotten sacked.

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1 December 2014
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I should have included this in my earlier post.

Joe's page on Pete Best http://www.beatlesbible.com/pe.....pete-best/

1 December 2014
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"Luck is a man made word."

The other words in that statement were made by?

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1 December 2014
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Atlas said
"Luck is a man made word."

The other words in that statement were made by?

Women

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1 December 2014
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Oudis said
I’ll concede that, but he was no creative force in The Beatles. George Martin was more important, at least in my opinion; he would become the fourth Beatle, artistically speaking

Of course you're welcome to your opinion, but not only was Ringo indeed a "creative force in The Beatles" he was THE Driving Force behind their music.  The difference in the calibre of drumming between the two is undeniable and no, this "anybody could have been in his (Ringo's) place" notion is garbage, it's no coincidence that the band's fortunes skyrocketed literally overnight after Ringo joined, finally, their sound was complete.  The best way to gauge the disparity between the two is to compare the songs where versions are available to listen to with either of them drumming on, and the improvement made by making the change RINGS clear as a bell.  Someone upthread pointed out the 'Anthology' 'Love Me Do ' track which is probably the BEST one, but also check out the other Pete Best Solo Material thread where somebody posted a number of tracks which included 'Boys ' & 'Some Other Guy' and the recordings severely lack solid rhythm tracks.  In George Martin's own words, "Pete simply wasn't good enough" and it's no "myth".  The other reasons pointed out by others, such as the jealousy thing and Pete not hanging out with them, while some may have been the case were just other nuances that added to the REAL reason why Pete had to go.

 

The Beatles, under Brian Epstein's guidance, had set out to become RECORDING Artists in 1962 for they were growing tired of playing the same venues year in year out by this time.  On Stage, Pete could fake his way through the fact that he wasn't rock solid, the fans would hear the songs once and go home afterwards, but on disc it's a different animal.  Pete's off-time fluctuating dynamics would forever be immortalized on a Beatles' record, making the whole band sound second-rate, and George Martin, John Lennon , Paul McCartney & George Harrison weren't gonna let that happen.  As George Harrison said, "History will show that Ringo was ALWAYS the drummer for The Beatles, he just didn't enter the movie until that particular scene"...:-) 

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1 December 2014
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Maybe he was kicked out because he was the Best Beatle.

"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

1 December 2014
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By now everyone knows the multiple reasons as to why he was sacked. The biggest one was, he was not a very good drummer. mmm quoted John above as saying:

We were always going to dump him when we could find a decent drummer, but by the time we were back from Germany we'd trained him to keep a stick going up and down (four-in-the-bar, he couldn't do much else)...

I'll add to that. I've read that Paul and/or George would have to, on numerous occasions, turn around and yell at him to keep in time with them. They would stomp their feet to the beat in order for him to follow it. I'm no musician, but isn't that the drummer's job? So yes, it was fair to dump him.

OK, so maybe the timing sucked. But, to be fair, they would have dumped him long before that if; A) a suitable permanent replacement been available and/or B), they had not been too lazy to do so prior. They brought in Ringo only because circumstances forced their hand as noted above by several. If Ringo had said no, they would have scrambled to find someone else. Thank the music gods he said yes, because they were not very friendly with too many other drummers they came into contact with. Ringo understood where they were coming from and understood them in ways others did not.

I always thought the excuses of "he was more popular with the girls" and such were lame and maintained by Pete and those in his camp. To me, they were not excuses to dump him. They were just reasons not to keep him - like drawing a line down the center of a page with "pros" on one side and "cons" on the other.

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1 December 2014
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Billy Rhythm said

...and no, this "anybody could have been in his (Ringo's) place" notion is garbage...

Can’t you keep the conversation polite? No, it seems that you can’t.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

1 December 2014
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Expert Textpert said
Maybe he was kicked out because he was the Best Beatle.

Ha Ha Ha

I Think that Rolling Stone should do a cover story of The Rolling Stones covering "Like a Rolling Stone" or if a Type of Beetle was named after The Beatles.

1 December 2014
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From what i heard. Pete Best sucked at drumming. I listened to The Anthology and the tracks he drums on are FORGETTABLE!!!!!! Honestly it's like they just got some dope to play drums for them. Of course Pete Best has probably gotten better since those dark times but still

pete-best<a-hard-days-night-ringo-2

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1 December 2014
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Pete Best was kicked out because he wasn't a very good drummer.  Simple as that.  If you listen to the recordings that he did with the Beatles, he just does the same thing over and over.  He uses a similar beat and falls back on the same fill every single time.  Ringo was a huge improvement to the band's sound and was part of what made them stand out over the other bands.

As far as whether it was fair, I don't know.  Maybe, maybe not.  Either way, it was musically a good move.

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