Pete Best - His Weaknesses as a Drummer?

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTMlZxHk938&t=442s

Let a metronome run to it and you will hear how messed up the timing is. Nuff said.
If you let a metronome run to Zeppelin you'll find time waivers in Bonham's playing too. Same goes for Charlie Watts and I dare say, a number of players from that generation.

It's far more than just timing where Best is concerned, I reckon. I hear a general lack of authority and drive. I think conviction is far more desirable in a player. And Pete Best just doesn't seem to have it to the level that Ringo did.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Sure, other drummers also had problems with timing, but Best was REALLY bad. His timing is literally all over the place, he could not play 120bpm for more than five seconds. Bonham and Watts were way better. And Ringo played like a clockwork, did not arrive late, had feel and constant dynamics, a solid bassdrum in his repertoire. He was millions of times better than Best in all areas based on what we can read and hear in all the historical documents that we have access to. Best was okay to get them through their seconds stage of their career, but his abilities were not sufficient for the third, final stage of the carreer of the fab four. It is not a drama. It is what it is. Some people are simply more suited for certain jobs than others.
 

ricky

Senior Member
I agree with the basic assessment that Ringo was simply more solid, could bring great energy, was more versatile, and swung. Knew what to do and when to do it.

If you listen to Pete's version of Til There Was You, he plays a straight beat...Ringo plays a little latin thing...Ringo could do things like the What I'd Say beat, or throw the latin rhythm in Chuck Berry's Rock and Roll Music...all around more musical and exciting and fit the Fab Four perfectly, musically and personality-wise.
 
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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Sheesh. They both sucked. Get over it people. Two guys who happened to be in the right place at the right time in the right band that blew up.

Ringo was simply more adequate. When comparing bad pizza to adequate pizza, the latter will win. Had they searched Yelp for actually good pizza we might be having a different discussion.
 

ricky

Senior Member
Sheesh. They both sucked. Get over it people. Two guys who happened to be in the right place at the right time in the right band that blew up.

Ringo was simply more adequate. When comparing bad pizza to adequate pizza, the latter will win. Had they searched Yelp for actually good pizza we might be having a different discussion.
Yeah, George Martin should have replaced all of them...none of em were any good. Ringo was the best one really and he stinks compared to real drummers. John could barely play at all, George sounds like a beginner compared to real lead guitarists, Paul was alright as a bass player, but nothing Jamerson couldn't toss off in a drunken stupor.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
George sounds like a beginner compared to real lead guitarists, Paul was alright as a bass player
Indeed. And William Stewart Halsted was a horrible doctor compared to modern doctors. Henry Ford's Model T sucked compared to today's real cars.

We should keep this going till the young whippersnappers get the point.
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Sheesh. They both sucked. Get over it people. Two guys who happened to be in the right place at the right time in the right band that blew up.

Ringo was simply more adequate. When comparing bad pizza to adequate pizza, the latter will win. Had they searched Yelp for actually good pizza we might be having a different discussion.
Hm.... name a better rock/pop-drummer that was available during the time from 1960 to 1963. I am interested in your answer.

Ringo could play, according to fellow musicians and sound-engineers, take after take with the same bpm without even using a metronome, that was perhaps his biggest strength. And it was one of best things that could happen to a band that had to record lots of songs in an era, where you did not have all the technical options that you have today. Sound engineers apparently loved that ability that Ringo brought to the rink a lot. If you think that what Ringo and his peers did in the 1960's was easy made stuff, just take a look at this bbc-documentary.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-tMEFLgxso
Modern musicians trying to nail it with 1960's studio-technology. Some of the bands ran into massive problems during the recording sessions. ;-)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Hm.... name a better rock/pop-drummer that was available during the time from 1960 to 1963. I am interested in your answer.
Funnily enough I nearly did a dissertation on this at uni.

The best 'pop' drummer from that time in the UK was and still is Brian Bennett. Bobby Elliot from the Hollies is also still a great drummer.

Neither were available or from Liverpool :)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
What on earth made you think I'd worked myself up to the point where I needed to "chill"?

You said it was a bad reference. I disagree and proceeded to say why. And I still hold to it.

No more. No less.

If I was anymore relaxed I'd be in a friggen' coma.
Easy tiger, you're 3-0 up in the Ashes.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
You all are debating the drum playing of a 20-something kid in 1960??? Man, I'd hate to hear a recording of me playing with our Dixieland jazz band in 1973 at Shakey's Pizza in Thousand Oaks. Get a grip, people. He was a frickin' kid. They all were. They were not seasoned pro's. Have you heard the singing on those 3 versions of Love Me Do? Some of it was horrendous. They all got better. He was not given the chance to get better with them, that's all.
 

ricky

Senior Member
You all are debating the drum playing of a 20-something kid in 1960??? Man, I'd hate to hear a recording of me playing with our Dixieland jazz band in 1973 at Shakey's Pizza in Thousand Oaks. Get a grip, people. He was a frickin' kid. They all were. They were not seasoned pro's. Have you heard the singing on those 3 versions of Love Me Do? Some of it was horrendous. They all got better. He was not given the chance to get better with them, that's all.
True in some ways...

but it's all relative...Ringo was a better choice at the time, better drummer, better personality, better fit all the way around. Pete had his style but already was not evolving...he wouldn't even change his hair! All the Beatles said when they first played with Ringo (in Hamburg), the whole band lifted to a new level.

I think the 2 final versions of Love Me Do are good, especially considering how new they were to recording/writing and how quickly they recorded at that time. Their early albums, all done quickly, are great and stand up to anything I think! I'd rather listen to them than anything out now that has been perfected and quantized and tuned in modern state of the art studios using seasoned session pros.
 
It's far more than just timing where Best is concerned, I reckon. I hear a general lack of authority and drive.
This is my sense too. I don't hear a night and day difference between Best and Ringo, but a more subtle difference in "authority and drive," as well as seemingly timing. I suspect there was a difference in creativity too, although that became more of a factor later.

I also agree with those who say there were likely a variety of reasons Best got the boot while Ringo got the gig, only one of which was drumming ability. Odds are that had other things not factored in, Best would have been the Beatle and Ringo been a working man. However, it does seem that drumming ability was a factor.

As someone else said, I see Best as an acceptable pub drummer too, which makes it difficult to critique his playing. He's not so bad (and Ringo isn't so good) to make his replacement by Ringo a slam dunk based upon drumming alone, although there does seem to be a difference in the drumming.

Anyway, I appreciate the thoughtful comments.
 

Bongo B

Junior Member
Two of my favorite things in life are drums and history. DrummersAreMusicians' original post ultimately proved a perfect intersection of the two. I really enjoyed reading the resulting debates and also following up by researching some of the (much) older Beatles music that various people posted about that I had never really explored before. Thanks for the great discourse. Like many historical questions, there is a lot of fodder for debate, and not necessarily any "correct" answer.
 

STAXfan

Junior Member
All of the evidence from the recordings that Best played on show he really wasn't a very good drummer. I think that back at that time, the early sixties, there were three types of drummers.

The first is drummers who were good technically good. Drummers who had lessons, studied, and were skilled professional drummers. Obviously someone like Andy White is in this category.

The second is drummers who didn't study the drums growing up, and were not great technical drummers. But they were naturally talented and played with great time, taste and could swing and groove. I would put Ringo into that category.

The third were drummers who had no technique and not muchl natural skill, but just learned to play in local bands and clubs. They were good enough for that level of playing, but not good enough to take the next step with a band. Pete Best was definitely in this category. I think he was as good as he was going to get in 1962, when Ringo replaced him. Best was good enough for local clubs, but limited.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
All of the evidence from the recordings that Best played on show he really wasn't a very good drummer. I think that back at that time, the early sixties, there were three types of drummers.

The first is drummers who were good technically good. Drummers who had lessons, studied, and were skilled professional drummers. Obviously someone like Andy White is in this category.

The second is drummers who didn't study the drums growing up, and were not great technical drummers. But they were naturally talented and played with great time, taste and could swing and groove. I would put Ringo into that category.

The third were drummers who had no technique and not muchl natural skill, but just learned to play in local bands and clubs. They were good enough for that level of playing, but not good enough to take the next step with a band. Pete Best was definitely in this category. I think he was as good as he was going to get in 1962, when Ringo replaced him. Best was good enough for local clubs, but limited.
Think that's a very fair analysis of early 60s drumming....hell even for a lot of eras its pretty accurate.
 

Swalbr

New member
Probably a bit late posting to this thread, as I only recently joined. I suppose due to lockdown I've had more time to spend fluting around on utube, but a recent interview with Pete Best on a TV show here in Ireland sparked an interest.
I think something a lot of people forget is that the Beatles were only on the cusp of fame when he was asked to leave, and no one could have predicted just how famous they would become. I'd guess even George Martin at the time probably expected an album or two, and a few hit singles.
It would have been a completely different scenario if he's been kicked out a year later.... I doubt he would have recovered from that experience.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Jimmie Nicol, and how playing (or not playing) with the Beatles affected his life.
I'm in my 60's and have been playing since my teens, my first 'real' band was a heavy metal group who I played with for a few years, and was eventually thrown out of because.... simply I was not as good as the other guys on a technical level. So I went away and practised and practised and got better... I was actually thrown out of my second band as well because I couldn't twirl my sticks or 'showboat'.... It was then I decided to concentrate on what I was good at, and 40 odd years later I'm still playing, recording and still having fun. I never fell out with any of the guys I played with and most are still friends.
I cannot imagine what Pete had to go through..... but on listening to the few recordings of him with the Beatles, and the odd clip on uTube down through the years his playing didn't really seem to improve, and his personality is somewhat 'restrained'. Ringo, on the other hand, always seemed to be a natural 'entertainer'.... Plus he had the foresight to call himself Ringo.... and there will only ever be one Ringo.
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
I think if you asked Ringo,he would not look for pete best's weaknesses as a drummer.

He would most likely say ,John , Paul,& george asked him to join the band because he was a better fit, and they were right..
 
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