One day in 1987 (I cannot pin down the day)… My friend Paul and I heard on the radio that Pete Best was going to show up at a used record shop…The Great Escape near Vanderbilt… for a book signing. I was a bigger fan than Paul. I was nervous when I walked in because there was the guy I’ve read about in all of those books in person. The man that really got left at the altar. After reading as much as I did about the Beatles…I was twenty and they were more like characters out of a book… not real people.
We were flat broke and could not buy the book but I was told by the staff that was ok…he would still sign. What did I do? I walked over to a magazine rack with free newsletters and it just so happened that there was a newsletter (Cavern City Tours) about the Beatles. I didn’t think a thing about it but there on the front was John, Paul, George and……..Ringo. I was too busy thinking about what I was going to say to him. I didn’t want to say what the other people were saying…don’t you hate the Beatles now? That was terrible of them! On and on…
I thought of something quick and I went to the table…laid the newsletter in front of him with Ringo’s smiling face and Pete was gracious enough to sign it with no dirty looks or a comment and I asked him…Have you talked to Astrid Kirchherr lately? He said yes, in fact, he just talked to her in the last month. I also asked him if he talked with Klaus Voorman and he told me no he didn’t keep up with him…Why I asked those questions I don’t know. I just wanted to think of something different than what he was being asked.
He took the time and talked with me for a couple of minutes which was really nice. I can’t remember anything that was said after the questions…probably just pleasantries. Just knowing this guy was in Hamburg in the early 60s at the beginning of the Beatles as we know them was incredible.
After I walked away…did I think wow this poor guy went through hell? Nope…All I could think was I met a Beatle! I still feel bad about that.
Since The Beatles Anthology Pete is not a poor guy at all…money wise… He got millions off of that release because they used some of the tracks he played drums on. I read where Paul McCartney himself called Pete and told him wrongs needed to be righted and some money would be there for Pete and that he could take it or leave it…Of course, Pete took it and that was the right thing to do.
The Beatles made the right choice in Ringo but I’m glad they included Pete on that release so he could share in some of the glory and money… Listening to the tracks Pete played drums on there is no question that Ringo fit the Beatles best…no pun intended.
John, Paul, and George have said they regretted how it was handled… but not the outcome.