A Liverpudlian who was drumming up a storm with The Beatles before the mop-tops even needed a haircut was in Ottawa last night.
Pete Best whose place with the group was taken by Ringo Starr, fronted his own group, the Pete Best Combo, at a teen dance, at the Aud.*
Before the Ottawa show the group appeared at Belleville, Cornwall, Kingston and Peterborough.
At Peterborough there was a near riot as teens threw things on stage and mobbed the band. Police had to be called in to subdue the crowd.
Pete Best was with the Beatles for three and a half years. And his departure from the mop-haired foursome set off one of the biggest scandals in Britain's music business.
BEST EXPLAINED that at the time he was the most popular Beatle, and "a certain member of the group" didn't like this.
"It was a matter of me or him leaving the group," he continued. "Because John, Paul and George had been together since high school, I had no choice. So I left."
This happened three years ago, just before the release of their first big hit, "Love Me Do."
Pete was the drummer on eight other Beatle hits, including "Ain't She Sweet," "P.S. I Love You," and "My Bonnie."
After he left, teenagers in Liverpool picketed the now famous Cavern Club for weeks. Their placards read "Pete Forever: Ringo Never."
"Some of them even camped in my backyard for a week, trying to get me to go back with the group," he said.
MILD - MANNERED Pete Best talked happily about the Beatles.
"I've only talked to them about four times since the split, because they've been so busy. But they were very friendly every time."
"When I look at how far they've come, I feel a certain amount of regret, but nobody deserves it more than they do. John and Paul have spent many hours perfecting their great vocal harmony and writing many great songs."
He recalled some of his experiences with the Beatles.
"We were playing in Hamburg, Germany, at a place called Kaiser Keller and got a better offer from a larger dance hall.
We took the offer -- and the crowd from Kaiser.
"The owner of Kaiser was understandably upset, so he had Paul and me arrested and charged with arson. In the morning, the others informed the British consulate and got us out!"
HERE'S WHY their ex-drummer thinks the Beatles soared to stardom.
"Teenagers didn't have any idols after the Presley era because the charts were dominated by Negro rhythm-and-blues artists. The Beatles were the first group to sing this music and get it played on American radio.
"Also, you can't ignore the $2,000,000 advertising campaign that made the Beatles a household word before they even arrived in North America."
-End of article
*Editorial: The "Aud" was a common abreviation most Ottawa residents used for the "Auditorium" where regularly featured entertainment was held. - J.W.
Ottawa Beatles Site