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”
When John, Paul and George decided that they needed to replace Pete Best, following the Parlophone audition, they asked Brian Epstein to find a replacement. The first drummer approached was Bobby Graham, who turned Brian down. Brian Epstein then spoke to Ritchie Galvin, who also said no to The Beatles. Johnny Hutchinson became the third drummer to decline the offer.
The Beatles introduced Brian to Ringo Starr at the Blue Angel Club. Epstein then offered Ringo the opportunity to replace Pete. Brian said that he would confirm the appointment on 14th August 1962. However, Brian then offered Johnny “Hutch” Hutchinson the job of Beatles drummer the day that Brian got rid of original Beatles drummer Pete Best. (see Why Pete Best was not sacked)
16th august 1962: brian Epstein asks johnny Hutchinson to be the beatles drummer
On the afternoon of 16th August 1962, Brian told Pete Best the bad news that the other Beatles wanted him out. Pete initially agreed to fulfil the Beatles gigs until Ringo was due to arrive on Saturday. An obvious choice for drummer was Johnny “Hutch” Hutchinson. Hutch had sat in, albeit grudgingly, with The Silver Beatles at the Larry Parnes audition in May 1960. Johnny Hutchinson was the driving force behind The Big Three and the best drummer in the Liverpool. Considering that The Big Three had just signed a management contract with Brian on 1st July 1962, it made sense to approach him to help The Beatles out at short notice.
The Big Three had been playing in Hamburg for most of July before returning to Liverpool in time to appear at the Tower Ballroom on 27th July. Brian asked Hutch to join The Beatles after he returned from Hamburg, and not just for the three upcoming appearances when Pete Best didn’t show up.
I was playing with the beatles
I interviewed Johnny for Finding the Fourth Beatle. “I was playing with The Beatles in Chester. With the Big Three playing on the same bill, Brian asked him to sit in with The Beatles. “I had to set up my drums and get dressed for our set with The Big Three, and then go and get changed and go back on stage with The Beatles.” Brian was there and kept looking at me strange. I got off stage after the gig and had to zoom off. Brian said, ‘I was looking at you to see how you’d fit with The Beatles’. I joked, ‘I don’t really.’” Little did he know what Brian was about to say to him.
“I think John would suit The Beatles down to the ground”
Johnny Hutchinson was honest; “I don’t remember dates, but I remember exactly where we were,” Hutch recalled. “I was in the Grosvenor Hotel in Chester,” after playing at the Riverpark Ballroom in Chester with The Beatles. “We sat down, and Brian Epstein and Bob Wooler were just looking at me. So I said, ‘What the f##k do you two want?’ And they looked at each other, and Brian said to Bob, ‘What do you think?’ Bob said, ‘Well, Brian, I think John would suit The Beatles down to the ground.’ Then Brian said, ‘I do, too. John, I want you to be The Beatles’ drummer.’
“I wouldn’t join The Beatles for a big clock”(Johnny Hutchinson)
“I told him that ‘I wouldn’t join The Beatles for a big clock. The Beatles couldn’t make as good a sound as the Big Three. My group is ten times better than The Beatles!’ And Brian said, ‘I know, but the Big Three are limited. The Beatles? The world is their oyster.’
I Like the beatles
“By that, I think he meant that I was the only one in the group who was grafting, really working hard. I was the drummer, doing the singing too, and with only three of us, there was only so much we could do. That’s what I reckon he meant. Brian also said that he had been ‘everywhere to get a drummer and that he couldn’t get one.’ And I said there must be another drummer out there, but Eppy said, ‘there isn’t anyone to suit The Beatles.’ You see, it is often said that I hated The Beatles, but I didn’t. I liked The Beatles, but hated the music. It wasn’t for me, but it suited lots of people. That’s why I wanted to stay with my band.”
johnny hutch recommended ringo to brian
Hutch recommended Ringo to Brian. “Yes I did. I told him to go and get Ringo. He’s a bum, he’ll join anyone for a few bob.” Johnny Hutch hasn’t for one minute ever regretted his decision to turn down The Beatles.
almost the fourth beatle
Johnny Hutchinson became the third drummer to turn down the opportunity to replace Pete Best in The Beatles. Sadly, Johnny died after a short illness in April 2019. He had become a good friend, and always good company, with some incredible stories. He was never one to make anything up – he always told the truth, which is a rarity.
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?
“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
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.
Ringo Starr was certainly not first on the list to replace 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
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.'”
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.”
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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On Friday 27th July 1962, a conversation was about to set in motion a chain of events that would lead to Pete Best leaving The Beatles and eventually being replaced by Ringo Starr.
Beatles History was about to Change – Dramatically
On Friday 27th July 1962, a conversation was about to set in motion a chain of events that would lead to Pete Best leaving The Beatles and eventually being replaced by Ringo Starr.
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, this is a speculation and there is no evidence to support this theory.
Four Drummers were Asked
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.beatlesbookstore.com
If you want to know the key events in Beatles History, then this is the page for you. This will help you navigate the website, to find the history you need to know. Each link will take you to a different page on the site, where a post, article or interview is located. I will be constantly updating the site, so check back for the latest in Beatles history, discussing Beatles names, Beatles members, Beatles drummers and who the original Beatles were.
On 10th July 1964, The Beatles arrived in Liverpool for a civic reception at Liverpool’s Town Hall, as well as holding the Northern Premiere of A Hard Day’s Night. The image of them standing on the balcony was so iconic, I decided it should grace the cover of my first book “Liddypool: Birthplace of The Beatles“, published in 2009.
The reception was difficult to arrange, but Brian was determined to make it happen. His letter explained it:
“Thank you very much for your charming letter of the 4th instant. As you probably know the boys and I set forth for the United States tomorrow morning. On their return the boys have an intense filming schedule, which will take them up to the end of April. They will then be resting for most of the month of May. So therefore while I look forward very much to accepting your kind invitation, for which the boys and I are most appreciative, I think the actual date may have to be left in abeyance for the present. With many thanks and best wishes. Yours respectfully, Brian Epstein
On the flight home their thoughts were occupied with this visit to Liverpool. One of the travelling journalists who had accompanied the group down under was from the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, named, ironically, George Harrison—no relation whatsoever. Harrison’s observation was astute: “Probably for the first time in their show-biz lives our world-famed troubadours are nervous. They aren’t sure how their fellow citizens will react to this home-coming triumph. The four boys are thrilled to their fringes at the honour Liverpool is bestowing upon them. But in the back of their mind is a niggling doubt”.
Harrison spoke to each of The Beatles about how they were feeling as they came closer to their return to Liverpool. Even though all the preparations had been made, Paul McCartney didn’t know if it would click with Liverpool people. “I can’t somehow see all the kids I used to go to school with from Mather Avenue and their parents, turning out to watch young Paul McCartney drive by in a big car, along the road where we used to play together. I don’t think I’d bother to go and cheer for somebody else”, McCartney said honestly, “and I’ve got a feeling that they won’t do it for us either.
“And who is going to stand outside the Town Hall just to see us arrive? Only a couple of years back hardly anybody in Liverpool had heard of us. Now this! I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that everything comes off all right, but I have butterflies in my tummy over it”.
Harrison (the reporter) observed that the manner of The Beatles was one of humility and that “there still isn’t a big head among the four of them. They just can’t believe they are important”.
John Lennon, never normally short of words, could hardly explain how he felt about the forthcoming event. “The only time I’ve ever been at the Town Hall was when they sent me from art school to draw it. Going back like this, in state, or whatever they call it, is a bit scary”. Ringo, however, was more forthcoming. “It’s a funny feeling. Makes you feel small and yet ten feet tall. I mean, all those other places in Australia and New Zealand where we went to civic receptions, they were only parties of people we didn’t know, like. But this is different”, Ringo enthused. “It’s Liverpool. Think of being in that parade from Speke to the Town Hall with some of our old mates probably looking at us and saying; ‘I knew that lot when they were poor’. And that wasn’t so long ago either, was it?” he said with a smile.
Even the “quiet” Beatle had an opinion. George spoke to his namesake with his own perspective. “It’s great that our own home town should do this for us”, he said seriously, “but deep down I have the feeling that there are a lot of Liverpool folk who deserve this honour far more than we do. After all”, he continued modestly, “what have we done? Sang some songs around the place and made money. It doesn’t seem much compared with some things that have been done by many Liverpool men and women who’ve never been honoured”.
The above is taken from my first book “Liddypool“. Little did I know when Liddypool was published what would happen next. Now in its third edition, it has sold over 5,000 copies worldwide, and led to me publishing two further books, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” and “Finding the Fourth Beatle“, plus co-authoring “The Beatles Book” with Beatles biographer Hunter Davies. Last year, the first documentary I have consulted on was released; “Looking for Lennon”. I have visited the US a dozen times at various Beatles conventions, and been a guest at other events in Europe, and have several other projects on the go which keeps me in mischief!
Everywhere I go in Liverpool, I see so many Beatles tour guides using “Liddypool” to help give tours to their visitors. I am so privileged, and cannot thank everyone enough for your support.
I love what I do; it is a labour of love. I just want to share my amazing city of Liverpool, and why it was crucial in the evolution of The Beatles; they could not have come from any other city.
On Pete Best’s 76th birthday, Pete is probably the most controversial person in Beatles history, who divides opinions. Was he a good drummer? Why did the Beatles get rid of him? When we began work on “Finding the Fourth Beatle”, we realised we had to address these questions and reach an objective conclusion, and it has been one of the most interesting, and controversial investigations we have ever undertaken. There is so much invested in urban myth and opinion that reaching the truth is never easy.
However, what we have been able to prove is that Pete Best was never sacked! We have evidence, and I interviewed Brian Epstein’s lawyer who explained what really happened in that meeting at NEMS, and why Pete was not sacked.
We have also enlisted the help of 9 drummers to analyse Pete and Ringo’s drumming, especially the Decca audition, EMI audition and those first visits to Abbey Road in September 1962.
That way, we will have independent, objective analysis. After all, you can’t take the word of an author who isn’t a drummer, can you?
David Bedford Pre-Order your copy now