Drummer who put ‘beat' in early Beatles coming to Chester

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:51

    CHESTER-He may be the unluckiest rock musician alive. Pete Best was the Beatles' original drummer, joining the band in 1960. But he was dismissed two years later in favor of Ringo Star just before the Beatles soared to stratospheric fame and fortune. The Beatles were playing without a permanent drummer when their manager, Allan Williams, secured a tour of Hamburg. They decided the drummer vacancy had to be filled. The solution was Pete Best. The band knew Pete from The Casbah, a club in Liverpool, England, they had often played. Pete's own group, The Blackjacks, were resident there. Pete's mom, Mona, owned the club. Paul McCartney phoned Pete in August 1960 asking him if he were interested in joining the band. Pete discussed the situation with his fellow Blackjacks, who agreed that Pete should take up his place with The Beatles. Pete formally auditioned, became a Beatle on August 12, 1960, and left for Germany with John, Paul, and George. Pete is proud of what John Lennon said about this period: "We were at our best when we were playing in the dance halls of Liverpool and Hamburg. The world never saw that." Many theories have been advanced about why Pete was fired — that he didn't have the right mop top haircut, for example, or that he didn't engage in all the Beatles' crazy stunts. In an interview with Gary Howman, Best said he just doesn't know. "At the end of the day two people still alive know the reason," he told Howman. "We may all read about it in the newspapers next year or we may never know." Following Pete's dismissal from The Beatles on August 16, 1962, he was immediately approached by Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. They wanted him to take the place of Ringo Starr, who had replaced Pete in the Beatles. Pete declined. A month after Pete's exit from the Beatles, he settled into his new role with Lee Curtis and The All Stars. In 1963 the band was awarded second place in the Merseybeat Poll, being beaten into second place by a narrow margin from the winners — The Beatles. In 1968, after playing professionally for a decade, Pete decided that family life was more important than playing. It would be 20 years before Pete was to pick up his sticks again. The Pete Best Band, which is coming to Bodles Opera House in Chester on Monday, August 1, promises to deliver the raw, thumping intensity of the Beatles' savage sound during the early 1960s. They will focus on what Pete thinks of as ‘the best years' of the Beatles: 1960-62 Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information or reservations, call 469-4595.