You Say It's Your Birthday: Pete Best

Today is the 57th birthday of the one-time Beatles drummer Pete Best. Best

played with the legendary rockers during their fabled tenure in Hamburg, Germany

and was at one time considered the group's sex symbol, a tag not usually

associated with rock drummers. Best was born the eldest son of an Anglo-Indian

woman and Liverpool's most successful boxing promoter. He joined the

not-yet-Fab-four in August of 1960, replacing original drummer Tommy Moore. He

was with the Beatles when they were honing down their act covering tunes by

Little Richard and Chuck Berry in the beerhouses of Hamburg. On Feb. 21, 1961,

the mop tops made their U.K. debut at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and then

returned to their stomping grounds in Hamburg.

The Beatles were "discovered" by aspiring music industry manager Brian Epstein

in late '61 and were finally signed in May of 1962 to Parlophone, a subsidiary

of EMI. Just before the group's first recording session, birthday boy Best was

asked to leave the group and was replaced behind the drum kit by Richard "Ringo

Starr" Starkey. In spite of fan cries of "Pete Forever, Ringo Never," the

decision stuck and the rest is musical history. The Beatles went on to become

the most influential group in the history of rock 'n' roll. Best, for his part,

toiled away in obscurity, releasing an occasional album and touring every so

often. He has yet to produce anything that could dislodge his reputation as the

least successful Beatle.

Other birthdays: Donald "Duck" Dunn (Mussel Scholes/The Blues Brothers), 56;

Lee Michaels, 52; Bev Bevan (Move/ELO); 51 and Gary Cooper (Sly Fox), 44.