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Pete Best


Pete Best

Courtesy Lightyear Entertainment

Full Name:

Randolph Peter Best


November 24, 1941 in Madras, India

Notable Pete Best Quote:

"I was told they wanted a better drummer, I was anti-social, they didn't like my hair, but it is still very much a grey area and the reasons just don't hold water."

Significant Facts About Pete Best:

  • The Beatles' first drummer, 1960-62
  • Declined invitation to join Rory Storm and the Hurricanes when Ringo Starr left that group to join the Beatles and replace him
  • First played with the Beatles (then known as The Quarrymen) when they performed at his mother's Liverpool night club

Starting in the Basement:

As a boy, Pete Best was blessed with a mother who encouraged his musical pursuits, and who, thanks to winning a longshot bet on a horse, had the money to back it up.

Thus it was that Best's boyhood home in Liverpool had The Casbah Coffee Club in its basement, a place, Mona Best said, for her boys -- Pete and his brother, Rory -- to play their music.

One of the groups booked to play the Casbah was a group called The Quarrymen, featuring John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

Pete Best Goes to Hamburg:

By 1959, Best was also playing the club regularly, and was often invited by the Quarrymen to sit in on drums. In 1960, the group now named the Beatles, invited Best to join them permanently, as they embarked on what became a two-year gig in Hamburg, Germany.

Female fans considered Best to be the handsomest of the group, and he became the group’s unofficial sex symbol, a role he filled well with his natural movie-star good looks.

Pete Best Goes Bust:

It probably wasn't so much his drumming that got Best being booted from the group as it was his personality. The other band members hung out together between gigs. Best kept to himself. The others adopted what became the trademark Beatles “mop top” haircut. Best stuck with his more traditional style.

Dissatisfaction with his drumming ability was the reason he was given for being let go, but the evidence suggests that the real reason was that he just didn't fit in.

Pete Best On His Own:

Best soon joined a band which eventually became Pete Best & the All Stars, Pete Best Four and Pete Best Combo. A 1965 album called Best of the Beatles disappointed fans who were led by the title to believe that it was a Beatles compilation. Best's group disbanded not long after the album was released.

He left music altogether until the late 70s when he worked as an advisor on a movie about the Beatles, then formed The Pete Best Band and resumed touring and recording.

A 2005 PBS documentary, Pete Best: Best of the Beatles tells the story of Best's role in the Beatles' early formative years. Best's autobiography, Beatle!: The Pete Best Story was published in 2001.

Essential CD:

The Beatles Anthology
Although he left the band prior to its first record deal, Best did record several demos with group, which appear on the Beatles 1995 anthology album. These represent some of the few recorded performances of the Beatles with Best.
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