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.
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.
Stuart Sutcliffe was the original bassist of The Beatles from May 1960 to August 1961. Though Sutcliffe was much more of an artist/painter than a musician, his friend John Lennon convinced him to buy a Höfner bass guitar with money that Stuart earned from an art exhibit.
When the Beatles played in Hamburg, Germany, Stuart met and fell in love with fellow artist and photographer, Astrid Kirchherr. In November 1960, Stuart and Astrid got engaged. Sutcliffe decided to leave The Beatles and concentrate on painting again. He stayed in Hamburg with Kirchherr and enrolled at the Hamburg College of Art. Stuart lent Paul McCartney his bass until he could buy his own and Paul became the permanent bass player for The Beatles.
While he was studying in Hamburg, Sutcliffe started suffering from debilitating headaches. His condition worsened and he died of a brain hemorrhage on the way to the hospital on April 10, 1962. He was only 21 years old.
Related post: Who was the original drummer of The Beatles?
In birth order (as seen in the photo, L-R); Ringo Starr was born on July 7, 1940, John Lennon on October 9, 1940, Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942, and George Harrison on February 25, 1943. All four were born in Liverpool, England.
Incidentally, former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe was born on June 23, 1940, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Pete Best on November 24, 1941, in Madras, British India.