On This Day, Aug. 16, 1962 – The Beatles Replace Pete Best with a Rising Starr

Beatles Pete Best

1962 – Ringo Starr was picked to replace Pete Best as the drummer for the Beatles. Best had been with the group for about 2 1/2 years.

Arguably the most ignominious firing in rock history happened on Aug. 16, 1962. Shortly before recording their debut single, the Beatles dismissed drummer Pete Best.

Two months earlier, the group passed an audition for Parlophone Records. But while producer George Martin liked what he heard, he was dissatisfied with Best. He told the Beatles that, while they could use Best onstage, he was going to bring in a session drummer for the recordings. The other Beatles, along with manager Brian Epstein, discussed the situation and decided that it was in their best interests to sack the drummer entirely. On Aug. 16, Epstein called Best into his office and told him the news that he was out.

Known around Liverpool as “mean, moody and magnificent,” Best had joined the Beatles two years earlier when they needed a drummer for their upcoming residency in Hamburg. His audition was, quite literally, the day before they went to Germany. But his sullen personality never fit in well with the wisecracking Beatles, even refusing to adopt the soon-to-be-famous “Beatles haircut.”

Best was the most popular Beatle with their female fan base and long maintained that he was fired because they were jealous of his looks. But when five songs from the Beatles’ Decca audition were officially released on the 1995 ‘Anthology’ set, it proved that Best’s drumming — both in terms of his timekeeping and inventiveness — was inferior to his replacement’s. 

Ringo Starr joined the group soon after.


1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bennington took place. New England’s minutemen routed the British regulars.

1812 – Detroit fell to Indian and British troops in the War of 1812.

1829 – The “Siamese twins,” Chang and Eng Bunker, arrived in Boston, MA. They had come to the Western world to be exhibited. They were 18 years old and joined at the waist.

1858 – A telegraphed message from Britain’s Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.

1861President Abraham Lincoln prohibited the Union states from trading with the states of the Confederacy.

1923 – Carnegie Steel Corporation put into place the eight-hour workday for its employees.

1954Sports Illustrated was published for the first time. It was claimed that 250,000 subscriptions had been sold before the first issue came off of the presses.

1954 – Jack Paar replaced Walter Cronkite as host of “The Morning Show” on CBS-TV.

1960 – Cyprus was granted independence by Britain.

1960 – The free-fall world record was set by Joseph Kittinger. He fell more than 16 miles (about 84,000 feet) before opening his parachute over New Mexico.

1966 – The Monkees’ first single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” was released.

1978 – Xerox was fined for excluding Smith-Corona Mfg. from the copier market. The fine was $25.6 million.

1984 – The Jaycees voted to admit women to full membership in the organization.

1995 – Voters in Bermuda rejected independence from Great Britain.

1999 – In Russia, Vladimir V. Putin was confirmed as prime minister by the lower house of parliament.


Source: On-This-Day.com; ultimateclassicrock.com