Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Sacking of Pete Best: A book Review

When it comes to breaking up with someone, there usually is more than just one reason why the break-up occurred .     This is just as true for letting someone go from a band as it is for ending a romantic relationship.   Spencer Leigh's book Best of the Beatles:  The Sacking of Pete Best digs into the baffling subject of Pete Best's departure from the Beatles.    The version of the book that I read was on the Kindle and was the revised edition, which was published in 2015.

If you have heard Pete Best speak in recent years, you will have surely heard him say something along the lines of how he still does not understand the reason why he was let go.   That he thought everything was going well between himself and the Beatles and when he was called into Brian Epstein's office, he had no clue that he was going to be fired.    He was completely blindsided about the whole thing and to this day has no idea whatsoever why they left him go.

Spencer Leigh, while staying neutral throughout the book, outlines all of the possible reasons why Pete might have been let go.  The reasons he lists are as follows:

1.  Pete Best was a lousy drummer
2.  Pete Best was not a versatile drummer
3.  George Martin did not like Pete Best's drumming
4.  Ringo Starr was a better drummer than Pete Best
5.  The other Beatles were jealous of Pete's good looks
6.  Pete didn't fit in with the Beatles
7.  Pete refused to have a Beatle haircut
8.  Mona Best's Interference
9.  Pete Best rejected Brian Epstein's advances
10.  Pete Best was unreliable
11.  It was just hard luck
12.  Instant Karma
13.  Who Knows?

Some of them were easy to be refuted (such as the one about Pete not being reliable) but others were pretty valid.   Leigh leaves it up to the reader to decide, and I have came to the conclusion that there was not just one thing that caused the Beatles to drop Pete as their drummer.    It had to have been a mix of things on this list.

What I liked the most about this book was the chart that was included that showed which person (John, Paul, George, Ringo, Brian, George M.) had given which of the above reasons for why Pete was fired.    However, I had the book on Kindle and the chart was spread over several pages and was difficult to read.   I may need to get the hard copy version of the book in the near future so that I can really look at this chart.     For this reason, I do not recommend the Kindle version of the book.

I was able to read the book in one day and I found it to be a very easy read.  It isn't full of new information about the Beatles or Pete Best, but it is a book that makes you think a little bit more about this topic.

You can find the book on Amazon.


  1. I think it was two things. 1. After watching him interviewed a few times, he comes across as a bit humorless and even a bit morose. He certainly didn't have the lively personality that the others possessed. 2. He was a capable drummer but not good enough for The Beatles. They knew it and George Martin certainly knew it.


  2. I always find it interesting when people discount Pete as a drummer. If he was really that abysmal, how in the world did the group become so popular in Hamburg and Liverpool? If the drummer is so important, then his supposed lack of ability to keep time, inventiveness, etc. should have sidelined the group long before they played for George Martin. The fact of the matter is he was wildly popular with male and female fans ... no one was complaining about his drumming.

  3. simply can't imagine The Beatles without Ringo