Ousted Beatles drummer Pete Best says having songs he drummed on included on 1995’s Anthology 1 collection gave him the validation he had sought for decades. Best, who’s now 76, will be portraying himself in an upcoming Beatles-related play at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre, titled, Lennon’s Banjo. The fictional story, which opens on April 24th, “tells story of the quest to find the missing banjo on which John Lennon was first taught to play music by his mother Julia Lennon.”
Best recalled to ymliverpool.com how being included in the “Fab Four’s” definitive history actually meant the world to him, explaining, “It came completely out of the blue. I knew Anthology was coming out but I didn’t pay too much attention to it because I never figured that they would include me on it. But then I got the offer from Apple and low and behold, I ended up on 10 tracks, which was great. As you say, after all these years it was a bit like ‘I must have been fairly important to get 10 tracks out of 60.’ The bulk of the royalties came through when it was released and it was the icing on the cake after so many years. They keep drib drabbing in but you move onto another project like the play, which is a totally new experience for me.”
Pete Best told us that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison didn’t even look him in the eye when he was let go, leaving his firing to their manager Brian Epstein. And although his next band ended opening up for the Beatles a few times after that — they still gave him the cold shoulder: “John said many, many years afterwards that ‘We were cowards’ or that he was a coward the way that he let the dismissal take place — he should’ve been there, he should’ve done more for me. What happened was that the three of them left it up to Brian, because Brian was the manager at that time. And since then, in reality, I played on the same bill as them about four times.”
Photo Courtesy of Apple Corps Ltd.