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.