The Beatles all came from Liverpool and performed under various names and with different line-ups. The original drummer was Pete Best, however, was replaced by Sir Ringo Starr before the band got really big. Sometimes he has been called “the Fifth Beatle,” but who got him kicked out of the band?
Pete Best joined the newly-named band The Beatles in August 1960, after he did an audition with the group and their unofficial manager Allan Williams.
Best joined them in Hamburg for the first short residency in the city, though Beatles historians have described how their first few months there were disastrous.
First off, noise complaints in their first venue, the Indra Club, forced them to be moved to the Kaiserkeller in October 1960.
However, the club owner discovered they had been performing at a rival club as well, and terminated their contract, as well as reporting George Harrison to authorities for being underage.
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He was deported in November, after which the club owner also accused Sir Paul and Best of arson, after which they were arrested and deported.
Lennon followed in December before their fifth band member Stuart Sutcliffe left in February with his German fiancée.
The band returned to Hamburg in April 1961, playing at the Top Ten Club, where they were signed by Polydor as a backing band before Brian Epstein, who became their manager in November 1961, had them record at Decca Records, a huge label in the UK.
The band, who had by now become a four-piece, was rejected but made further recordings in 1962 for EMI.
After signing with EMI the band started recording in June 1962, during which time concerns were raised about Best’s drumming.
George Martin, the band’s producer, replaced Best with a session drummer for Love Me Do as he was concerned about Best’s timing.
Martin said of this decision in The Beatles: Anthology: “I decided that the drums, which are really the backbone of a good rock group, didn’t give the boys enough support.
“They needed a good solid beat, and I said to Brian, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter what you do with the boys, but on record, nobody need know. I’m gonna use a hot drummer.’
“Brian [Epstein] said, ‘Okay, fine.’ I felt guilty because I felt maybe I was the catalyst that had changed his [Best’s] life…”
When Lennon, Sir Paul and Harrison realised the engineers wanted them to replace Best with a session drummer for their upcoming recording session in September, they decided to permanently remove him from the group.
According to Cynthia Lennon, the star’s then-wife, The Beatles asked Epstein to sack Best from the band and he dutifully obliged.
According to Epstein, however, he was unsure of this decision, and said in his autobiography he “was not anxious to change the membership of The Beatles at a time when they were developing as personalities … I asked The Beatles to leave the group as it was.”
Best was also very popular with fans, so the decision was difficult for Epstein, however, as he wrote years later: “If the group was to remain happy, Pete Best must go.”
Epstein fired Best from the group in his office on August 16, 1962 and Sir Ringo started in the band two days later.
Best played two final performances with the Beatles, however, did not turn up to his final show on August 16.
After Sir Ringo started in the band, the line-up remained the same until the band broke up in 1970.
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