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Pete Best: why was he really kicked out? Was it fair?
15 February 2021
6.32am
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AppleScruffJunior
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I was watching House MD a while back and the dialogue went like this:

 

House: Pete Best. Good God ! Has none of you ever read a history book? The original Beatles drummer. A bunch of nerves controls the tempo of the heart. They’re all playing in time, except one dude can’t keep the beat. Wrecks the whole thing. So we hire Ringo.

Kutner: Pete Best was actually a great drummer, but I assume you mean the patient needs a cardiac sympathectomy?

 

I laughed at someone thinking Pete Best was “a great drummer”.

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13 March 2021
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castironshore
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Apparently it was George that really pushed to have Best replaced by Ringo, the 2 never really got along and it was clear from his time in Germany that he didn’t really fit in with the others personality wise. It must have been a cruel blow to Pete though just as the band were on the verge of making it, but listen to the version of ‘Love Me Do ‘ on ‘anthology1’ – Bests playing is clumsy and he loses the beat. So it was the right call by the group. I think Best was a solid enough live drummer but Ringo could provide backbeat equally well but also could be more inventive in his playing. 

Thing is Best was renowned as one of the best drummers in Liverpool, but The Beatles make it sound like they just literally grabbed anyone to go to Hamburg. Yet the band made no attempt to replace him on their return from Germany.

Its nice to see that he got some recompense eventually after the anthology stuff got released. As Paul said ‘a wrong needed righting’.

31 May 2021
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Ron Nasty said

Oudis said

Ron Nasty said

Pete chose to treat it as a job, and saw them as “work friends”, where for John, Paul and George it was more than that, and they wanted a drummer who shared their worldview. They wanted their drummer to be a friend, a member of their gang, as opposed to just being someone they worked with.

To miss that, and to think it’s all about musicianship and hours put in, is to fundamentally misunderstand any creative endeavour created by a group dynamic. It is always about the personal relationships.

Valid point, Ron Nasty. He was the odd-man-out. And out he went. Unfair, but it makes sense from an emotional viewpoint.

You’re still missing the biggest point I’ve been making, @Oudis. Pete made his choice about the relationship he wanted with John, Paul and George. You can call it unfair should you want, but it would be equally unfair to expect them to put up with his attitude towards them, that he had no interest in being friends, no interest in being part of the gang. He made that choice, not them.

  I’m convinced that Pete Best is on the autism spectrum.  It wasn’t matter of him having “no interest in being friends” or “being part of the gang.”  It is highly likely that John, Paul, George, and (earlier) Stu were the people he was most likely to socialize with in the time he was a Beatle.  As far as “going off on his own,”-those would have been “sensory breaks”-something that most people on the autism spectrum feel a need to have. 

  

31 May 2021
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Ron Nasty said
@Billy Rhythm, some thoughts of mine on some thoughts of yours.

I would never argue that Pete was a great drummer, but the logic of your argument is that, had he been the “Best Drummer in Liverpool” (which I clearly state in my first post on the topic – post 36 – he wasn’t), The Beatles would have kept him despite their personal issues with him. And there we part ways.

While there are plenty of accounts about the inadequacy of his drumming from many who were there, there are also many examples of those who were there who disagreed.

It is difficult though, to find any evidence that Pete was part of the gang, including those you would cite as sources.

George Harrison during the 1988 High Court case over the Star Club recordings said this, under oath:

…after the shows we were all friends with Ringo and we liked him a lot and hung out with him, whereas Pete – he was like a loner. He would finish the gig and then he would go.

George Martin would comment in an August 1965 legal letter:

Pete Best did seem to be ‘an odd man out’ and while the other three there were very unified in their performance and enthusiasm, he did not seem to be a true part of the group.

Brian Epstein notes in the raw transcript of A Cellarful of Noise:

Friendly with John, but Paul and George didn’t like him.

Astrid Kirchherr said:

…he was so very, very shy that you tended to forget about him. He was on his own really.

Astrid’s photos. He’s only in one of them.

481_photogallery@6@testflickr@testflickr.jpgImage Enlarger

Then he left after twelve exposures.

Yes, there were moments. There will always be moments when you spend that much time together. But moments don’t mean he was “in the gang”. A lot of the people who were there say the relationship was distant.

It is that distance between him and the others would have done for him in the end, in my opinion, even if he was the best drummer on Merseyside (which he wasn’t).

That he wasn’t gave them something to blame rather than themselves.

  

  These quotes are highly consistent with an autism diagnosis.  I believe very strongly that Pete did consider the other Beatles to be friends (Paul a bit less than the others). 

1 June 2021
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Magill
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From my knowledge:

Everyone thought Pete wasn’t a good drummer. He had no emotion and energy on stage, and he just… wasn’t good enough. 

Everyone except Brian Epstein thought that. Brian thought Pete was better.

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1 June 2021
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AppleScruffJunior said
I was watching House MD a while back and the dialogue went like this:

 

House: Pete Best. Good God ! Has none of you ever read a history book? The original Beatles drummer. A bunch of nerves controls the tempo of the heart. They’re all playing in time, except one dude can’t keep the beat. Wrecks the whole thing. So we hire Ringo.

Kutner: Pete Best was actually a great drummer, but I assume you mean the patient needs a cardiac sympathectomy?

 

I laughed at someone thinking Pete Best was “a great drummer”.

  

   Most of the Liverpool musicians who saw him play with the Beatles did in fact think he was a great drummer. 

1 June 2021
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Ron Nasty said
This is where we sometimes get it wrong. @mr. Sun king coming together. Me, myself and I, too. Pete might have improved as a drummer, we’ll never know what John and Paul might have drawn out of him. But friendship-wise, that wouldn’t have changed.

If it was going to, it would have happened in Hamburg. It didn’t, and Pete seemed happy with that. I’ve said it before, he could have been the best drummer in Liverpool and would still have been doomed, his personality didn’t fit, and Ringo’s did.

  

Pete “seemed happy with that,” because he is on the autism spectrum and thus was as friendly with the other Beatles as you could expect him to be with anyone.  His decision to take sensory breaks was not a matter of “animosity” or not caring about the others.  I don’t see any reason to believe he got “bored” while playing on stage as a Beatle either. 

1 June 2021
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Ron Nasty said

It is that distance between him and the others would have done for him in the end, in my opinion, even if he was the best drummer on Merseyside (which he wasn’t).

No, Pete Best was not “the best drummer on Merseyside,” but he was very highly rated-certainly in the top 5.   Mark Lewisohn has a very strong anti-Pete Best bias.  Just look at the solo photo of him in the “extended edition” of Tune In.  It is a very ugly photograph.  Lewisohn had to go to great effort to get that, despite the fact that many much better ones were available.  I recall a quote about how Pete could have “played with the sticks between his toes,”- a very unprofessional thing to write.  Also I recall an Chris Curtis interview quoted, conveniently ignoring the section where Curtis strongly praises Pete. 

 

  

2 June 2021
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Has Pete ever said he has autism? I wonder if he is offended by someone saying he has it if, in fact, he doesn’t.

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2 June 2021
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Upsiditus said  

   Most of the Liverpool musicians who saw him play with the Beatles did in fact think he was a great drummer. 

  

Maybe Pete was good enough just to play gigs where you just play 30-40min. to an audience that probably will be drunk, sweating and dancing and not caring too much if the bass player is playing a G while the others are in A or if the drummer is speeding… I definitely think he was not good enough to play in a recording enviroment where a mic will get every little detail or to evolve his technical skills as an artist. 

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2 June 2021
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Ahhh Girl said
Has Pete ever said he has autism? I wonder if he is offended by someone saying he has it if, in fact, he doesn’t.

  

No, I don’t think Pete has ever spoken publicly about being on the autism spectrum.  He may even be offended by “someone saying he has it” even if he does in fact have it.  It’s very difficult for me to believe that he doesn’t have it.  Another important part of “the story” is how little was known about autism in 1962.  It is very unlikely he knew he had it back then (but it seems clear that he did).  You can’t acquire it as an adult anyway.

3 June 2021
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Upsiditus said

Ahhh Girl said

Has Pete ever said he has autism? I wonder if he is offended by someone saying he has it if, in fact, he doesn’t. 

No, I don’t think Pete has ever spoken publicly about being on the autism spectrum.  He may even be offended by “someone saying he has it” even if he does in fact have it.  It’s very difficult for me to believe that he doesn’t have it.  Another important part of “the story” is how little was known about autism in 1962.  It is very unlikely he knew he had it back then (but it seems clear that he did).  You can’t acquire it as an adult anyway. 

How important is it to you whether he is on the autism spectrum or not? We all behave in ways dependent upon our mental abilities, whether specific labels are given or not; and we all deserve to be treated with appropriate respect and understanding.

Pete has a particular personality but, on the basis of all the information I have gathered as well as direct audio comparisons, Ringo was a much more skilful drummer anyway – and this was the major factor with respect to the decision that John, Paul and George made in 1962.

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The love you take is equal to the love you make

 

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3 June 2021
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Shamrock Womlbs said

Upsiditus said  

   Most of the Liverpool musicians who saw him play with the Beatles did in fact think he was a great drummer. 

  

Maybe Pete was good enough just to play gigs where you just play 30-40min. to an audience that probably will be drunk, sweating and dancing and not caring too much if the bass player is playing a G while the others are in A or if the drummer is speeding… I definitely think he was not good enough to play in a recording enviroment where a mic will get every little detail or to evolve his technical skills as an artist. 

  

I think that is spot on really. Pete was absolutely fine in terms of the live shows they were doing, but his limitations became evident when they hit the studio. Best was actually regarded as one of the better drummers in Liverpool and thats why he ended up playing with them for so long. 

The band panicked at Abbey Road a bit, I mean even Ringo needed a bit of time to adjust but the fact that the others didn’t really like him much made it all easier.

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3 June 2021
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I think that if Pete Best was never dropped, there might not even be a global Beatles sensation. George Martin did tell Epstein that Pete had got to go, and George Martin was pretty much the Beatles last shot at stardom. Just like how if Martin knew that the Beatles was rejected by everybody else, Martin would’ve dropped them if they insisted on Pete. 

Also, I’m fairly certain nobody has ever acknowledged Pete as being remotely above average, let alone better than Ringo.

AppleScruffJunior said
 

I laughed at someone thinking Pete Best was “a great drummer”.

  

I think this is the general consensus.

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3 June 2021
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This may be slightly off topic.  But did Pete ever encounter any of the Beatles some time later after the firing?  I never read of any such meeting or saw any pictures of a reunion.

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3 June 2021
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Ahhh Girl said
Has Pete ever said he has autism? I wonder if he is offended by someone saying he has it if, in fact, he doesn’t.

  

I wonder if Pete is offended at any of the many inaccurate (and probably libelous) claims made about him in the Tune In  book, such as he fell asleep during gigs, (Lewisohn makes up a quote from Paul about this), that he didn’t know Judo (there is a fictional quote from John about this), that he didn’t play more than the snare and cymbals at the Polydor sessions (there is clearly a bass drum and floor tom on “Cry For a Shadow”), that he never went to Astrid Kirrcher’s house, that Decca didn’t like his drumming (he would work with Decca and Mike Smith soon after), that he didn’t speak at the first Parlophone recording session, etc.     Who is this Mike Savage guy?  I had never heard of him before reading Tune In.  Anyway, his quote about Pete is contradictory.  Savage alleges that Pete was “average” but also a better drummer could found in any pub in London.  Wouldn’t only be half the clubs?  Oh, the chapter discussing Pete being fired was called “the unfortunate member.”  I have no doubt that is what Lewisohn thinks of Pete. IIRC Tune In was the first book to claim both that Pete was a terrible drummer (as I recall he using the same John quote at least 4 times) and  Stu was a good bassist.  Indeed the chapter discussing his death is bizarrely titled “he could have been the Beatle.”  I have no idea what that was supposed to mean.  

3 June 2021
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Richard said

Upsiditus said

Ahhh Girl said

Has Pete ever said he has autism? I wonder if he is offended by someone saying he has it if, in fact, he doesn’t. 

No, I don’t think Pete has ever spoken publicly about being on the autism spectrum.  He may even be offended by “someone saying he has it” even if he does in fact have it.  It’s very difficult for me to believe that he doesn’t have it.  Another important part of “the story” is how little was known about autism in 1962.  It is very unlikely he knew he had it back then (but it seems clear that he did).  You can’t acquire it as an adult anyway. 

How important is it to you whether he is on the autism spectrum or not? We all behave in ways dependent upon our mental abilities, whether specific labels are given or not; and we all deserve to be treated with appropriate respect and understanding.

Pete has a particular personality but, on the basis of all the information I have gathered as well as direct audio comparisons, Ringo was a much more skilful drummer anyway – and this was the major factor with respect to the decision that John, Paul and George made in 1962.

  

     I think Pete being on the autism spectrum is an important part of the story.  Clearly, many think things like “he didn’t care about the Beatles” and such but if you understand autism you can see that wasn’t the case.  As far as being “bored” behind the drums, Pete was taking the drumming quite seriously generally, although at times he would hop around with a tom tom under an arm.  There is a common misperception that Pete didn’t have a sense of humor, but Julius Fast pointed out that he was “the comedy man” of the group. 

4 June 2021
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Jolly Jimmy said
This may be slightly off topic.  But did Pete ever encounter any of the Beatles some time later after the firing?  I never read of any such meeting or saw any pictures of a reunion.

  

I don’t recall anything of that sort. You might want to ask someone more experienced than me, maybe RN. He’s a smart lad. I only knew he did his best to stop associating himself with the Beatles (which from the title of this thread is not gonna happen soon). 

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4 June 2021
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Jolly Jimmy said
This may be slightly off topic.  But did Pete ever encounter any of the Beatles some time later after the firing?  I never read of any such meeting or saw any pictures of a reunion. 

If I recall correctly, Pete has said in interviews that he hadn’t met any of them since.

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4 June 2021
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The Beatles and Pete were on the same bill at the Tower Ballroom on the 12th October 1962.

A total of 12 acts performed on this night, and the event lasted for five and a half hours. Among the bands was Lee Curtis and the All-Stars, whose drummer was Pete Best; the former Beatles drummer had an awkward encounter with his old band backstage.

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