My Beatle Days

By Pete Best  

Mersey Beat: August 15 1963

A few years ago I used to sit in with various groups at the Casbah, Hayman's Green, and also had a trio called the Black Jacks. The Beatles used to play at the club and I got to know them there.

They were auditioning for a drummer at the Wyvern Club, Seel Street (now the Blue Angel) and asked me to come along. They desperately needed a drummer at the time as they had to go to Germany within a few days time. They asked me to join the group and two days later I was in Hamburg with them.

We appeared at a club called the Kaiser Keller and remained there for 5 1/2 months. When the contract for the Kaiser Keller expired we were offered a job at the Top Ten Club, which was the top rock club in Hamburg at the time. On our first night there, Paul was taken to the police station and later I was taken too. We were accused of trying to burn down a cinema, and as we couldn't prove anything, the German police deported us. It was a 'frame-up' more or less - as we'd taken the Kaiser Keller's business to the Top Ten. When we got home, Paul and I cleared the charge we had against us by informing the Aliens Police in Hamburg. We told them what had happened and they replied saying that everything had been cleared up and we could return to Germany in the future.

We then started playing locally as the Beatles at the Casbah, Litherland Town Hall, Aintree Institute, the Cavern and other places, going from strength to strength. We were a little bewildered by the screams we were getting and the way people reacted to the group.

During the next three months we built up a huge following on Merseyside and then left for another season at the Top Ten Club. During our three month stay we signed a Polydor recording contract for 12 months. we were to make four singles and an E.P. We backed Tony Sheridan on 'My Bonnie' and made a couple of E.P's with him. We heard that 'My Bonnie' went to the top of the German charts - I'm not too sure whether it did, but I know it went to a very high position. We were paid a lump sum for the sessions and therefore didn't receive any royalties.

After three months we came back to Liverpool and after 'My Bonnie' had been released here, Brian Epstein approached the group and asked if he could be our manager.

After he'd taken us over we started playing more and more out of town and went on the BBC. On our third trip to Hamburg we became the first group to play at a new venue, the Star Club. Whilst over there, we received a telegram saying we'd got a Parlophone contract.

Just before the first release I was told that I would have to leave the group. The news came as a big surprise to me as I had had no hint that it would happen and didn't even have the opportunity of discussing it with the rest of the group.

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