In December 1960, Charles ‘Chas’ Newby was temporarily the bassist for The Beatles. The members of The Beatles had returned from their first trip to Germany in early December, except for bassist Stuart Sutcliffe who stayed behind in Hamburg with a cold. Sutcliffe didn’t return back to Liverpool until January 20, 1961, with airfare money borrowed from his girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr. In the meantime Newby, a friend and former band mate of Pete Best (in The Blackjacks and skiffle group The Barmen), filled in on bass for three gigs with the Beatles.
In the book Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles, Newby said this about his start in music – “I started playing acoustic guitar and then progressed to the bass guitar. I never wanted to be a professional musician – I had always longed to be a scientist.” In fact, during his brief stint with the Beatles, Chas was on vacation from a university he was attending. John Lennon asked him to go with the Beatles to Germany when they were to make their second trip there, but he chose to return to the university instead. Newby would later become a Mathematics teacher at Droitwich Spa High School in Worcestershire, England.
When Stuart Sutcliffe left the band in August 1961, Paul McCartney switched from guitar to bass to permanently fill that vacancy. It’s interesting to note that like Paul, Chas is also a left-handed bass player. And not only that, they share the same birthday (June 18) with Chas being one year, to the day, older than Paul.
Ringo Starr was the drummer for Rory Storm and The Hurricanes before joining The Beatles in August 1962. Starr’s first concert with The Hurricanes was in March 1959. It was during his tenure with the band that he changed his name to Ringo. Up until then he had been known as Ritchie. With the Hurricanes, Ringo had a solo spot called “Starr-time” and he was the vocalist on songs such as “Boys” by The Shirelles.
In October 1960, while Rory Storm and The Hurricanes were performing in Hamburg, Ringo met The Beatles who were playing there also. Promoter Allan Williams had arranged a recording session for Lu Walters (of The Hurricanes) for October 18, 1960, at the Akoustik Studio. He had asked John, Paul, and George from The Beatles to play and sing harmonies on the session. Beatles drummer Pete Best wasn’t available, so Ringo was asked to fill in. This was the first time that the future famous line-up of The Beatles played and recorded together.
Back in the UK, Starr sat in for Best as The Beatles’ drummer on several occasions. The first time he played with them live on stage was February 5, 1962, when Best fell ill and The Beatles had two performances scheduled for that date. Ringo would permanently replace Pete when he was fired from The Beatles on August 16, 1962.
During their existence, The Hurricanes were one of the most popular music acts on the Liverpool and Hamburg club scenes, but their attempt at a recording career never took off.
The Beatles are nicknamed “The Fab Four”, but they were in fact once a 5-piece band. This line up consisted of guitarists John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, and drummer Pete Best.
Sutcliffe was a Beatle from January 1960, until he left the group in June 1961. With his departure, McCartney switched from guitar to bass to fill that vacancy.
Best was a Beatle from August 12, 1960, until he was dismissed from the band on August 16, 1962, when he was replaced by drummer Ringo Starr.
Two years later, on August 16, 1962, he was dismissed from the group but was never given a satisfactory explanation why. The only reason manager Brian Epstein gave was, “The lads don’t want you in the group anymore”. Although there were probably a few reasons why the lads were wanting to replace him, Pete’s fate was sealed when producer George Martin indicated that he wanted to use a session drummer instead of Best for their studio recordings. The other three Beatles asked Epstein to fire him and replace him with Ringo Starr, who had occasionally sat in with the band when Pete was unavailable.
— Here’s a few quotes from the Beatles about Best’s firing:
“We were always going to dump him when we found a decent drummer.” – John Lennon
“We were cowards when we sacked him.” - John Lennon
“I was quite responsible for stirring things up. I conspired to get Ringo in for good; I talked to Paul and John until they came round to the idea.” – George Harrison
“We weren’t very good at telling Pete (Best) he had to go.” – George Harrison
“I never felt sorry for Pete Best. I was not involved.” – Ringo Starr
“I felt I was a much better drummer than he was.” – Ringo Starr
“It was a strictly professional decision. If he wasn’t up to the mark… then there was no other choice.” – Paul McCartney
“I do feel sorry for him, because of what he could have been on to.”- Paul McCartney