“Modern Drummer” Magazine Reviews “Finding the Fourth Beatle”

Finding the Fourth Beatle
Finding the Fourth Beatle

Finding the Fourth Beatle has received many fantastic reviews from fans and magazines too. Below is the review from Modern Drummer magazine, who liked our book and also the great book, Ringo’s White Album, by Alex Cain and Terry McCusker (experts in our book too).

“For those who must consume every morsel of Beatles history, Finding the Fourth Beatle by David Bedford and Garry Popper will sate even the thirstiest fanatics.”

“It’s maddening minutiae for some, nirvana for others”

Get your copy now. And don’t forget the Double CD too.

David Bedford

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The Beatles Decca Audition Part 2

The Beatles Decca tapes
The Beatles Decca Audition on vinyl

If you missed it, Decca Audition Part 1

The Audition

The Beatles knew it was one of the most important dates of their lives; they still thought they could clown around as if they were in The Cavern. According to George Harrison, they even “put on heavy, thicker-than-usual Liverpool accents to try and fool the Londoners. It was a bit of a defence mechanism.” (True Story of The Beatles) 

John Lennon would later say that “somehow this helped get our spirits up again.” Still, despite their best efforts, they were unable to recreate the energy and atmosphere of their Liverpool and Hamburg shows. Johnrecalled: “Remember that we had at the back of our minds that Brian Eppie had spent a lot of time already trying to get record companies interested in us, but without having any luck. I guess that was weighing on our minds.” (True Story of The Beatles)   

As if all these pressures were not bad enough, tensions soon rose to the breaking point when Epstein’s sense of self-importance tripped him up once again. Dismissing normal studio protocol, he interrupted he proceedings and immediately got into an open altercation with John Lennon. Oops!

John Lennon and Brian Epstein – A Fair Fight?

The red mist descended over Lennon faster than a rainstorm. Pete Best: “…Brian began to voice some criticism either of John’s singing or his guitar playing. I’m not sure which. Lennon burst into one of his bouts of violent, uncontrollable temper, during which his face would alternate from white to red. ‘You’ve got nothing to do with the music!’ he raged. ‘You go back and count your money, you Jewish git!’” The sudden chill in the studio was far icier than the weather outside. “Brian looked like he had cracked down the middle. Mike Smith, the sound engineers and the rest of us all looked at each other in amazement.” (Beatle!) 

Brian wisely walked away from the confrontation. This was likely the first time he experienced a very public tongue-lashing from the often cruel tongue of John Lennon.  It wouldn’t be the last, and the fact that it happened at a crucial audition at Decca studios of all places shocked everyone watching. Not the best way to sell yourself.

Would You Have Signed The Beatles?

The final order of the songs performed at the session is not known, but by the end they had managed to record 15 numbers, all live, with little or no opportunity to correct mistakes. Time was up.

Now, decades later, we ask you to put yourself in Dick Rowe’s position. After all the feedback on the day’s events, having listened to the session tapes, and knowing the comparisons and options concerning Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Rowe had to make a straightforward commercial business decision whether to sign The Beatles or not. There was no crystal ball where he could gaze into the future; nor did he have the luxury of looking back in hindsight.

With that in mind, and based on the known facts, what would you have decided? Would you have signed The Beatles?

Blame it on the Drummer – A Convenient Scapegoat?

Beatles drummer Pete Best
Beatles drummer Pete Best

These Decca auditions have been cited over the years as proof of Pete Best’s poor drumming and one of the reasons why he had to go. “Worst of all was Pete’s drumming,” and “At Decca, Pete had the full kit at his disposal and did little with it.” (Tune In). But is there any basis in this assessment?

Examining Third Party Opinions: Is Criticism Valid as Evidence?

Writing for Ultimate Classic Rock, Dave Lifton also condemns Best’s drumming. “The tapes prove George Martin’s assertion that Pete Best was the wrong drummer for the group. For years, Best had said he was fired in favour of Ringo Starr because the band were jealous of his success with their female fans. But after one listen, it’s obvious that Best was a limited drummer with a poor sense of timekeeping.”

Savage Opinion

“I thought Pete Best was very average, and didn’t keep good time. You could pick up a better drummer in any pub in London,” recalled Decca session engineer Mike Savage in a 2007 interview. (TuneIn) 

Very average and didn’t keep good time? A better drummer in any pub in London? These emotive words condemn Best as a drummer; Savage’s words are savage. In context, Mike Savage was the 20-year-old junior assistant to producer Mike Smith back in 1962. “If you’ve got a quarter of a group being very average, that isn’t good,” (Tune In) he continued. Granted, this is a fair comment. 

However, an analysis of the songs will demonstrate that the whole audition was average at best. Applying the scholastic tests, theavage quote, the first by him was given 45 years after the original session, goes against the testimony by many ‘60s-era Liverpool musicians who describe Pete as a very good drummer. There is also no independent corroboration of these comments, and nobody else from Decca, including Mike Smith, commented on Pete’s drumming. We will examine Best’s drumming ability track by track to see if Savage’s assessment holds up.

Analysis by Drummers

For our analysis of the Decca session, we invited three drummers to listen to the audition songs, each for the first time ever. The analysts, which include a father-and-son team, are:

Mike Rice, drummer with ‘60s Merseybeat band The Senators who was an active drummer until recently, and saw both Pete and Ringo play with The Beatles.

Mike Rice (second from left)
Mike Rice (second from left) from ’60s group The Senators

Derek Hinton, 50, a guitarist and bassist in bands for over 30 years and an accomplished drummer as well.  

Derek Hinton
Drummer Derek Hinton

Derek’s son Andrew Hinton, 19, an excellent drummer, bass guitarist and lead guitarist who is currently pursuing a music degree at Liverpool University.

Drummer Andrew Hinton
Drummer Andrew Hinton, one of our experts

Each participant was played the song only once, and was then asked for his immediate feedback on Pete’s drumming as if they were at the session.

Here is a selection from the book, Finding the Fourth Beatle, where we examined all 15 songs. You can also find every track in the Decca audition on our Finding the Fourth Beatles double-CD.

1. Money (That’s What I Want)

John launched into a rocking version of “Money (That’s What I Want)”, a 1960 hit for Barrett Strong on the Tamla label. Written by Tamla founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford, it became the first hit record for Gordy’s Motown label, whose roster included all the great American pop-soul artists The Beatles worshipped. John seems to be almost croaking, or trying too hard to sound like a rock ‘n’ roller, and overdoes the vocals. Though John’s voice is too raspy, Pete’s atom beat is strong and Paul’s solid bass-playing augments the strong drum rhythm.

This song was later recorded for EMI and issued on their second LP, With The Beatles.

Pete’s drumming? 

Mike: “Couldn’t hear Pete enough because the balance isn’t too good between the instruments. Pete’s timing is good and he is playing the correct rhythm for the song, using his bass and floor tom well. Nothing wrong with his drumming.”  

Derek and Andrew: “Very good use of the full kit. Very tight and a good tempo all the way through. Drumming is fast and at a good pace with good syncopation.”

3. “To Know Her Is to Love Her

“To Know Him Is to Love Him” was written by Phil Spector, inspired by words on his father’s tombstone, “To Know Him Was To Love Him”. It was first recorded by Spector’s group, the Teddy Bears, and it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1958. The Beatles’ version was not officially released until 1994, when it appeared on their Live at the BBC compilation album. The song is in 12/8 time. John’s lead vocal is good, though lacking in the quality we would expect, while the backing harmonies from Paul and George are perfect. Guitars, bass and drums all work together. This is possibly one of the best tracks of the day.

Never recorded by The Beatles with EMI, the song was performed for the BBC and a version was released on Live At The BBC.

Pete’s drumming?

Mike: “I would have added something slightly different, personally, when they go in to ‘Why can’t she see…….’, but that is still good, and the beat is good and regular, and he makes a good transition back into ‘To know, know, know her…’, so I’ve no real criticisms.”  

Derek and Andrew: “The timing on the hi-hat is like a metronome, it is that good and regular. He is playing almost freestyle, playing to the song – not just sticking to a set rhythm. He emphasises the melody and song, and doesn’t have a set part to play which is very creative. Maybe needs a little variation with his use of the snare and the ride cymbal.”

4. “Take Good Care of My Baby

One of the best songs in the day’s repertoire, “Take Good Care of My Baby” came from the famous songwriting team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Bobby Vee’s hit version was released in America July 1961 and by September, it had reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In The Beatles’ version, George’s vocal is superb, with John and Paul harmonising with him brilliantly; the group sounds tight.

Not recorded by The Beatles for EMI, the song was performed for the BBC and appeared on Live At The BBC.

Pete’s drumming?

Mike: “Clean and clear sound, Pete’s rhythm is the right one and nicely in time. Good performance.”

Derek and Andrew: “The drumming is very tight, and has a good, consistent tempo. He uses a simpler pattern and rhythm, appropriate for the song. He stops perfectly in time with the rest of the group; the whole group performs this song perfectly. The drumming is holding the group together, and leading from the back. He is very inventive, using a different rhythm for each song, whereas most drummers would just do the same for each song.”

7. “Crying, Waiting, Hoping

There had to be a Buddy Holly composition included, and they chose “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” a song released in 1959 as the B-side to “Peggy Sue Got Married”. There are actually three versions of Holly’s song: the 1959 release, the 1964 reissue with different orchestration, and Holly’s original home recording.

The Beatles’ Decca version featured George Harrison on lead vocal whilst replicating studio guitarist Donald Arnone’s instrumental bridge note for note. Everything about the song is great. George’s vocal is once again the pick of the session, and the balance of the group’s rhythm is very good.

The number was never an official EMI release by The Beatles, until it appeared on Live At The BBC.

Pete’s drumming?

Mike: “Nice rhythm, good drum rolls at the right place, and variation in the chorus, too. A good performance and sounded great.”

Derek and Andrew: “Again, Pete’s drum rolls are excellent. More variety in his choice of rhythm, with good variation on the snare drum. He is playing a standard 4/4 time signature but with a samba variation. This is where he is listening to the group and playing the song well. It is inventive and precise, with perfect patterns. Stunning performance by Pete, and this is probably the best the whole group has sounded together. They all know what they are doing.”

14. “Three Cool Cats 

“Three Cool Cats” was a 1958 song written by Leiber and Stoller. It was originally recorded by The Coasters and released as the B-side of their hit single, “Charlie Brown”. The Beatles performed this song several times during the infamous Get Back/ Let It Be sessions in January 1969.

Another fine vocal performance from George with supporting harmonies from John and Paul, whose interludes are characterized by very dodgy foreign accents. These odd dialects, though well-suited for a live Cavern show, spoil an otherwise impressive group performance with tight vocals, guitars and drums.

First released on Anthology 1, this is The Beatles’ only recording of a great song.

Pete’s drumming?

Mike: “He varied the beat at the right time – better variation – and kept a good tempo. No problem with his drumming there.”

Derek and Andrew: “Again, Pete adds his signature drum roll to perfection, and sounds really good. He uses great variety in the chorus with his use of the snare. Good variety in the lead guitar solo to back up what George is doing. Again, drumming is very tight with the group.”

And In The End? Conclusions from The Decca Audition

The Studio:

Steve Levine has been a successful record producer for many years, and was a good friend of George Martin. He has a unique insight into the recording environment and technology The Beatles would have used in 1962. For him, the whole process of stepping into a recording studio for the first time was a significant factor. Read Steve’s comments in the book.

The Drummer?

Did our expert drummers agree with Savage’s comments about Pete’s drumming being “very average, and didn’t keep good time. You could pick up a better drummer in any pub in London”?   

“I don’t know who these people are who criticise Pete’s drumming because he was a great drummer,” said Mike Rice. “He was fantastic to see live with The Beatles and his sound drove the group forward.” (DB interview 2015)

As Derek observed: “Pete’s timekeeping was like a metronome, and at times, it came across as if it was the drummer who was the leader of the group, like a Buddy Rich. In fact, Pete’s drumming reminds me of ‘Wipeout’ by the Ventures, with that great use of the floor tom and that pounding rhythm that drives the song.” It’s noteworthy that both The Ventures’ and Safaris’ versions of “Wipeout” didn’t come out until 1963, a year later.

Andrew notes: “Considering Pete had no training, he is very creative and he was creating sounds and rhythms for the first time. He knows what he is doing, is confident in his ability, and isn’t simply copying the records or original version.”

Derek concluded that Pete “is doing something different on virtually every song, and almost playing like the “Prog Rock” drummers were doing in the 1970s.”

“We Wouldn’t Have Used Pete Best” Really?

Junior Engineer Mike Savage commented further on Pete’s drumming: “If Decca was going to sign The Beatles, we wouldn’t have used Pete Best on the records.” (Tune In) 

Interestingly, the only comments we have from Savage pertain only to Pete’s drumming. But what did he think about John, Paul and George? Why do we not have those comments? Neither session producer Mike Smith nor Dick Rowe singled out Pete for particular criticism – the recordings reveal that, at various times, they were all culpable. However, as we will see in a later chapter on the use of session drummers, it wouldn’t have mattered how well Pete Best did that day, because you could virtually guarantee that Decca or Parlophone were going to use a session drummer. That was no insult to Pete, or later, to Ringo.

Mike Smith at Decca

When asked about the Decca audition in the February 2002 issue of The Beatles Monthly, Smith said: “Maybe I should have trusted my instincts and signed them on the strength of their stage show. In the studio they were not good and their personalities didn’t come across. Maybe they were in awe of the situation. Of course I kicked a lot of furniture in the year or two afterwards when The Beatles started to happen for George Martin over at EMI. I would like to have auditioned the group when they had a better range of songs to offer, but NOT after they fired Pete Best. In my humble opinion he was a better drummer than Ringo.”

Smith added that “the one that played the most bum notes was McCartney. I was very unimpressed with what was happening with the bassline.” But he also wanted to qualify that observation, reminding us that “we are talking about four young men in a very strange environment, probably a very overpowering environment.” (Best of the Beatles) This is a fair comment to make about four young men entering a professional recording studio for the first time. It should come as no surprise that they were all affected by nerves. It is only natural.

Decca Sign Pete Best

Mike Savage: “If Decca was going to sign The Beatles, we wouldn’t have used Pete Best on the records.” How ironic that, just over a year later, Decca signed the second-most popular group in Liverpool, Lee Curtis and the All-Stars, whose drummer was, of course, Pete Best. Did they use a session drummer? No. It is also clear from what Smith has said that he was happy with Pete Best, and so he would not support the comments by Savage.

Pete Best in New York with his own band
Pete Best in New York, now with his own band

Decca released two singles, “Little Girl” and “Let’s Stomp” but, unfortunately, neither made the charts. In mid-1963, the rest of the band decided to split from Curtis to form The Original All-Stars. That group became The Pete Best Four, who were also signed by Decca and produced by none other than Mike Smith. And again, no session drummer was used. The Pete Best Four and Pete Best Combo released several singles and albums. But despite Pete’s profile and the songwriting talents of Wayne Bickerton and Tony Wadsworth, success eluded them.

As a former member of Pete’s group, Bickerton was asked about his drumming. “Pete was a good drummer,” Bickerton said. “All the stories of him not being able to play properly are grossly exaggerated. The problem he fought against was being an ex-Beatle, which worked against us. The talent was in the band, but it was secondary to the Beatle-obsessed media and public.” (Spencer Leigh Let’s Go Down To The Cavern) 

In The End?

The Beatles failed the Decca audition as a group, with no single member to blame, be it Pete Best, John Lennon, Paul McCartney or George Harrison. This failed audition could have been the end of the road for The Beatles, not just for Pete.

Brian, however, was not prepared to give up just yet. He took the boys out for a meal and tried to cheer them up. “The boys performed like real troopers when I stressed that this was only the beginning, not the end,” Brian said. “I knew how disappointed and fed up they were.” He felt he had let his boys down, but it was a learning experience for them all.

Thankfully, Decca turned The Beatles down, which meant they got the chance to work with George Martin; a perfect partnership. That Parlophone audition went ok, even if it wasn’t a perfect performance.

David Bedford

Finding the Fourth Beatle CD
Finding the Fourth Beatle CD

GET YOUR COPY OF FINDING THE FOURTH BEATLE NOW WITH THE WHOLE DECCA AUDITION ANALYSED.

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Liddypool – A Decade Ago!

When I look back 10 years, most of my friends on Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t have known me. This last 10 years has been a whirlwind as my life took another turn.

Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles by David Bedford
Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles by David Bedford

Having had to give up work through ill health in 2000, I wasn’t sure what would happen from there. I started to write for the London Beatles Fan Club magazine – which later became the British Beatles Fan Club – and found that I enjoyed writing about The Beatles that I started on a project that would take 9 years to complete; “Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles“. Little did I know where that would take me.

Liddypool was published at the end of 2009 and, much to my amazement, became a worldwide hit. I had never written a book before, and couldn’t have done it without my publisher, Glyn Morris, and Marshall Terrill, my editor. The book sold out in 18 months and the second edition came out in 2011 and a third edition in 2017. It has taken me to America numerous times and around Europe to Beatles conventions and festivals. I never expected any of it. I have met and interviewed so many people connected to The Beatles; what a privilege and honour.

The Fab One Hundred and Four

Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles
Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles

In 2013, my follow-up to “Liddypool” was “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles“, which has also sold well and has had some incredible reviews too.

From that book, film producer Garry Popper contacted me and asked me to be the historian for a documentary about John Lennon. “Looking for Lennon” came out in 2018; what a privilege to work on that with Garry and director Roger Appleton.

John Lennon: The Boy Who Became A Legend

Michael Hill - John Lennon: The Boy Who Became A Legend
Michael Hill – John Lennon: The Boy Who Became A Legend

Through a good friend of mine, Mark Naboshek – who also edited The Fab one Hundred and Four and Finding the Fourth Beatle – introduced me to Michael Hill, John Lennon’s school friend from the age of 5. It was a privilege for me to edit and help Michael publish his book, “John Lennon: The Boy Who Became A Legend“. A fascinating book.

The Beatles Book

The Beatles Book
The Beatles Book

I was then contacted by Hunter Davies, the only ever official Beatles biographer, to collaborate with him, Keith Badman and Spencer Leigh, on a book called The Beatles Book. What an honour!

Finding the Fourth Beatle

Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles
Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles

Garry then suggested that he and I should write the follow-up to The Fab one hundred and Four, based upon the number of drummers I had identified in that book; 12! So we started with 12 Drummers Drumming, but then I started finding more and more drummers who had played with The Beatles, eventually ending up with 23 drummers, while also solving the mystery of what happened to Pete Best in 1962; he wasn’t sacked! Finding the Fourth Beatle was published in 2018.

Inspector Rocke

Inspector Rocke
Inspector Rocke

While working on all those other projects, I wanted to also indulge my love of crime fiction, so I combined my Beatles research with crime fiction and published my first detective book, “Inspector Rocke: That’ll Be The Day That I Die” in 2017. More books are planned there too!

I am so grateful for everyone who has purchased one of my books. I never expected anything and I still get the biggest thrill whenever I am asked to autograph a book.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. 2020 promised to be an exciting year, with several books planned.

Keep in touch with the latest news by signing up at this website. And don’t forget that you can listen to me and my friend Paul Beesley on our Podcast, “Liddypod“.

A final thank you to my wonderful family and friends for their unending support, which means so much.

What a decade! I am so thankful for everything.

David Bedford

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David Bedford on “Glass Onion”. Part 1 of my Interview

David's Social Media
David’s Social Media

If you missed the first podcast interview I did with Antony, then he has re-edited it into 2 parts. Part one below. We had a great time talking about “Looking for Lennon”, Liddypool, Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles and Finding the Fourth Beatle. We could have talked for hours! Oh yes, we did!

David

“Part 1 of a delightful talk with renowned Beatles author David Bedford, recorded at the famous Jacaranda club in Liverpool and covering various topics featured in his most recent book ‘Finding The Fourth Beatle’.

Also some thoughts on my recent trip to India and Jude Kessler’s 800-page John Lennon book called ‘Should Have Known Better’, which I’ve recently devoured!”

EPISODE 19: DAVID BEDFORD INTERVIEW IN LIVERPOOL. PART 1

The file is available as a direct download mp3

you tube version
www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq4RwO3sKW8

Enjoy!

Antony Rotunno

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Finding the Fourth Beatle at International Beatleweek 2019

John Lennon's Art College friend Helen Anderson being interviewed for a Beatles documentary
John Lennon’s Art College friend Helen Anderson being interviewed for a Beatles documentary

Liverpool’s Beatleweek 2019

Another great International Beatleweek has been and gone, and a splendid time was had by all! It was a fun weekend, and the Adelphi was booming all day! Thank you to everyone who purchased Liddypool, Fab one hundred and Four and Finding the Fourth Beatle.

they found the fourth beatle!

Beatles fans packed out the Adelphi again
Beatles fans packed out the Adelphi again
Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles
Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles

It was a busy day and I am pleased to say that every copy of “Finding the Fourth Beatle” sold out on the day. That means that all of our Limited Edition copies have sold out for this print run. However, we now have options for every pocket. We now have a standard Hardback copy, Softback, and even an ebook, all of which have been selling well.

We also have the exclusive “Finding the Fourth Beatle” Double CD. Get your copies here.

cavern city tours

A massive thank you once again to Cavern City Tours for another fantastic International Beatleweek. Looking forward to next year already!

David Bedford

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John, Paul and George Find the Fourth Beatle: Ringo debuts with The Beatles

The Beatles John Paul George and Ringo - The Fab Four
The Beatles: John, Paul, George and Ringo – The Fab Four

“it don’t come easy”: how ringo’s debut with The beatles happened

August 1962 was a turbulent month for The Beatles. In trying to find a replacement for Pete Best, Brian had approached Bobby Graham, Ritchie Galvin and Johnny Hutchinson. Ringo, the drummer from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes with whom they had played before, agreed to join The Beatles. His debut was at Hulme Hall in the Victorian Model Village of Port Sunlight, Wirral, on 18th August 1962. The Fab Four was born.

Hulme Hall, where Ringo made his debut with The Beatles
Hulme Hall, where Ringo made his debut with The Beatles

how the beatles got to Hulme hall

Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles
Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles

In an interview for The Fab one hundred and Four, Ian Hackett had suggested The Beatles for a previous dance. His father, Harry, booked the group for that legendary debut appearance of the first Fab Four line-up in August 1962. “Our home overlooked the Dell, a particularly lovely landscaped part of the village,” recalled Ian. “It was just a few yards from Hulme Hall, the Bridge Inn and the Men’s Club. While selling the Liverpool Echo outside Lever’s, Monty Lister, one of my customers, approached me. He was the editor of the Port Sunlight News, with an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Ticket for Ringo's debut with The Beatles at Hulme Hall
Ticket for Ringo’s debut with The Beatles at Hulme Hall

“Back in the spring of 1962, Harry, as Captain of the Golf Club, organised the Club’s annual dance. He chose Hulme Hall as the venue, July 7th as the date and The Modernaires, as the main band. Then he asked me if I could think of a band to fill in during the Modernaires’ break. I suggested The Beatles.

“On 7 July 1962, the Golf Club Dance came,” recalled Hackett, the first of four appearances by The Beatles.

“They went down really well with my friends, although dad got some complaints about The Beatles.” In spite of those complaints, they booked The Beatles to appear again on 18th August 1962. Little did they know how significant this day would be.

“we want pete”

Poster for Ringo's debut at Hulme Hall with The Beatles
Poster for Ringo’s debut at Hulme Hall with The Beatles

“By having The Beatles headliners at Hulme Hall on August 18th, this showed that not all the adults were hostile. But there was a mass female chanting of ‘We want Pete!’ when they introduced their new drummer.

“The make-up of the audience was different for this show,” recalled Ian, “as there were more young people than locals. The problem was that the local people were angry as the young interlopers wanted to show support for Pete Best. The Beatles never stood a chance. I was glad for this one that my dad took the flak, and not me!”

In spite of the audience reaction, Ian was impressed with The Beatles that night. “I loved their treatments of ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Besame Mucho’” he said. “John’s harmonica in general was great, but especially on Bruce Chanel’s ‘Hey Baby’. At that stage, they weren’t playing that many original songs.”

No photos are known to exist of The Beatles at Hulme Hall. However, I discovered a photo of Gerry and the Pacemakers performing there later in 1962.

Gerry and the Pacemakers on stage at Hulme Hall
Gerry and the Pacemakers on stage at Hulme Hall

ringo in the toilet!

Ringo, because of the animosity in the crowd, was not enjoying the night of his debut. “I ran into a miserable-looking Ringo in the gent’s toilet during the break,” recalled Ian. “I tried to cheer him up with a smile and an optimistic comment: ‘Don’t worry about tonight. Things can only get better.’ And it was not long before they did.” (David Bedford interview in The Fab one hundred and Four)

Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles
Finding the Fourth Beatle the story of the 23 drummers who put the beat into The Beatles

You can still visit the hall, though the stage is no longer there.

Discover more about Ringo joining The Beatles in Finding the Fourth Beatle, available in hardback, softback and ebook.

David Bedford

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Ringo Starr: The Young Drummer’s Journey to Beatles Glory

Ringo playing drums with Tony Sheridan in Hamburg
Ringo playing drums with Tony Sheridan in Hamburg

August 1962 – Ringo Starr Nearly Becomes a Pacemaker


While Ringo Starr was with Rory Storm and The Hurricanes, EMI granted The Beatles the audition which lead to their contract offer. While the band was heading for the toppermost at EMI on 6th June 1962, Ringo felt he was going nowhere. But then, three offers arrived at once. First, Gerry Marsden asked Ringo to join The Pacemakers, but not as a drummer. “Gerry wanted me to be his bass player!”

Ringo on bass?

Ringo Starr playing drums with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes
Ringo Starr playing drums with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes

“I hadn’t played bass back then or to this day,” said Ringo, “but the idea of being up front was appealing. That you’d never played a particular instrument before wasn’t important back then!” After that, Ted “Kingsize”Taylor offered Ringo the drummer’s job in his group; Kingsize Taylor and The Dominoes.  


August 1962 – A King-sized Offer for Ringo

Ringo’s second offer was from Kingsize Taylor, who promised him £20 per week to drum for his group, The Dominoes. “Ringo was a rare commodity on Merseyside,” said Taylor, “as drummers at this time were very hard to come by. I only asked him to join The Dominoes out of desperation, as Dave Lovelady could not go back to Hamburg .”  

Some irony, with this being the reason The Beatles hastily offered Pete the position in August 1960. “Yes,” Taylor continued, “I did, off the top of my head, offer him 20 quid (£20) a week. He accepted it, even though ever liked Hamburg when he was last there.

Along came The Beatles, and the rest is history. Ringo was not a better drummer than Pete; too much of a swing in his rhythm and liked himself more than his music.” (David Bedford interview)

no offer from The Beatles yet

Why did Ringo initially accept Taylor’s offer? Because he had no offer to join The Beatles, and there were no guarantees it would happen. He knew he wanted to leave the Hurricanes, and joining Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes was a step up.

They’re thinking of getting rid of you

But just when it looked as though his future was clear and that he would join Taylor in September, along came the offer to join The Beatles. But first, The Beatles told Brian to get rid of Pete. Although there had been hints as far back as June, when somebody said to Pete; “they’re thinking of getting rid of you, you know.”

Pete laughed it off, and Brian appeased him. And then, in early August, Pete had his heart set on buying a new Ford Capri car. He mentioned it to Paul, who responded; “If you take my advice, don’t buy it. You’d be better saving your money.” 

one more drummer

Ringo would soon be joining The Beatles
Ringo would soon be joining The Beatles

The Beatles asked one more drummer to replace Pete, on the same day that Pete received the bad news, and the day after Ringo had been offered the job. 

Taken from Finding the Fourth Beatle

David Bedford

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Beatles History: A Second Drummer is asked to replace Original Beatles Drummer Pete Best

Ringo Starr was certainly not first on the list to replace Best

Beatles drummer Pete Best
Beatles drummer Pete Best

After the Beatles took the decision to replace Pete Best as their drummer, Brian Epstein approached Bobby Graham first of all to offer him the job. As unbelievable as it would seem in retrospect, Graham turned The Beatles down.

Ritchie Galvin is asked to join The Beatles

Ritchie Galvin on drums was asked by Brian Epstein to replace Pete Best in The Beatles
Ritchie Galvin on drums was asked by Brian Epstein to replace Pete Best in The Beatles

The second drummer that Epstein approached was Ritchie Galvin, drummer with Earl Preston and the TTs, as featured in the book Finding the Fourth Beatle. As with all stories connected to The Beatles, can this be corroborated? Let’s explore.

Ritchie didn’t like john lennon’s sarcasm

Ritchie Galvin was born Ritchie Hughes, but chose to adopt the name Galvin from the group he was fronting, The Galvinisers. Spencer Leigh spoke to Galvin’s girlfriend, and later his wife, Ann Upton. “Brian Epstein asked Ritch about joining The Beatles and he went to see Ritch’s dad as he was still under age,” Upton said. “Bob Wooler was with him, too. Ritch said that he didn’t agree with Pete being replaced and he didn’t like John Lennon’s sarcasm as he thought that they would fall out. Also, to my credit, he didn’t want to be leaving me as they would be working away from Liverpool quite a lot. He never regretted it and he said, ‘No, I wouldn’t have you and I wouldn’t have my kids and I wouldn’t have this life.'”

Ritchie Galvin on drums, who was asked to join The Beatles. Bass player Mike Kinney confirms the story
Ritchie Galvin on drums, who was asked to join The Beatles. Bass player Mike Kinney confirms the story

Brian Epstein and bob wooler

Galvin told many fellow musicians – like Earl Preston (Joey Spruce), Phil Brady, and Mike Kinney – the exact same story, how Brian Epstein and Bob Wooler, DJ at the Cavern, approached Ritchie and offered him the job with The Beatles, but he turned it down, especially because he didn’t like John Lennon – a common theme!

Galvin decided to settle down with his girlfriend, and stick with Earl Preston, as well as later playing with many Liverpool bands. He was a highly respected musician on the circuit.

Would Galvin have been good for the beatles?

“Ritchie produced a powerhouse of sound on the drums, and was nicknamed ‘thunder foot’,” said Kinney. “He was a great friend with a fabulous sense of humour, and an incredible drummer. When he set the tempo, he never moved either way. As a bass player it’s exactly what you need from your drummer. He was one of the most respected drummers on Merseyside right up until he died. I shed many a tear when he passed.”

Finding the Fourth Beatle
Finding the Fourth Beatle

You can read the full story in “Finding the Fourth Beatle“. Galvin was the second drummer to turn The Beatles down, but he wouldn’t be the last, before Ringo Starr agreed to join them.

How different things could have been!

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David Bedford

Purchase your copy of Finding the Fourth Beatle and David’s other books

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David’s Shop

Welcome to our shop, where you can purchase copies of David Bedford’s books: “Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles” (2009, 2011, 2017) now in its third edition; “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles“, “Finding the Fourth Beatle” and “Inspector Rocke: That’ll Be The Day That I Die“.

These books are available on Amazon, but if you want a signed copy, then if you order from my shop, then you will get a signed copy from David.

“Liddypool” is available as a paperback or hardback; “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” is only in hardback; “Finding the Fourth Beatle” is available in hardback, paperback and ebook too.

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27th July 1962 in Beatles History: Bobby Graham is asked to replace Pete Best

Bobby Graham
Bobby Graham

On Friday 27th July 1962, The Beatles were playing on the same bill as Joe Brown and the Bruvvers at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, a show promoted by Bob Wooler. As featured in Finding the Fourth Beatle, Bobby Graham was the first drummer to be approached to replace Pete and, in the estimation of John, Paul and George, ideally suited for The Beatles and more than adequate for George Martin’s needs. After all, the producer’s problem with Pete had nothing to do with his live performances, but rather his drumming in the studio. Graham had extensive studio experience and, as would be proved, was one of the top session drummers in the ‘60s. Unfortunately for Brian, Graham turned him down.  

As Graham recalled: “He said that they needed a change. I said, ‘No thanks’ as The Beatles hadn’t had any hits and anyway, I had a wife and family in London. I don’t think he had even discussed it with The Beatles, as surely they would have wanted someone from Liverpool.”

“I turned him down”

In a further interview with Spencer Leigh, Graham elaborated further on the discussion. “Brian Epstein invited us back to the Blue Angel after the show. He called me to one side and said he was having trouble with Pete Best’s mum and he wanted him out of The Beatles. He asked me if I would take his place. Although I liked The Beatles, I turned him down because I didn’t want to come to Liverpool. Besides, I liked Joe Brown, who was having hit records.”

It has been suggested that Bobby Graham wasn’t offered the permanent job. According to Mark Lewisohn in TuneIn: “He (Brian) can’t have been offering the position permanently – John, Paul and George were clear they wanted Ringo – but Ringo was at Butlin’s until early September…. Brian wondered if Graham could bridge the gap between Pete’s departure and Ringo’s return.” However, there is no evidence to support this.

Four Drummers were Asked

Finding the Fourth Beatle
Finding the Fourth Beatle

Bobby Graham was one of four drummers asked to replace Pete Best: Ringo was the one who accepted the job, and became The Fourth Beatle.

The full story is in Finding the Fourth Beatle. To purchase this, and David’s other books, go to www.beatlesshop.co.uk

David Bedford

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