The Day the Beatles Fired Pete Best
Arguably the most ignominious firing in rock history happened on Aug. 16, 1962. Shortly before recording their debut single, the Beatles dismissed drummer Pete Best.
The group had passed an audition for Parlophone Records just two months earlier. Producer George Martin generally liked what he heard, with the exception of Best.
He informed the Beatles that they could use Best onstage, but he was going to bring in a session drummer for the recordings. The other Beatles, along with manager Brian Epstein, discussed the situation and decided to make a clean break with Best. The group left the discussion to Epstein, who called Best into his office and told him the news that he was out.
Known around Liverpool as "mean, moody and magnificent," Best had joined the Beatles almost exactly two years earlier when they needed a drummer for their upcoming residency in Hamburg, Germany. His audition was only a few days before they made the trip.
His sullen personality never fit in well with the wisecracking Beatles, however, as Best even refused to adopt the soon-to-be-famous "Beatles haircut." Still, he was initially the most popular Beatle with their female fan base – and Best long maintained that he was fired because they were jealous of his looks.
Then five songs from the Beatles' Decca audition were officially released on the 1995 Anthology set, proving once and for all that Best's drumming was inferior to his replacement Ringo Starr – both in terms of timekeeping and inventiveness.
Starr, a quick-learning friend of the band's who had been with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, made his debut just two days after Best exited.
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