Tag Archives: The Beatles

John, Paul, George and Mahapurush

John, Paul, George and Mahapurush? Sound familiar?

Well, it happened, and the full story is in “Finding the Fourth Beatle” – not long now to reserve your limited edition copy of the new book that is rewriting Beatles history. Mahapurush is only 1 of the 22 drummers featured in the book. Can you count 22 drummers? If not, you need this book!

Finding the Fourth Beatle


“There Goes The Knighthood!” said Ringo Starr

When Ringo recorded “Elizabeth Reigns” on his Ringo Rama album (2003), he signed off by saying; “there goes the knighthood”.  Some of his lyrics were not overly complimentary to her majesty, like:

We don’t really need a king.

Six hundred servants

Use her detergent

Scrubbing the palace floor


And all of your sins are

As big as the Windsors

So let’s point our fingers

No more.”

Has that delayed his knighthood? Does he even deserve one?

Many have questioned: “why has he got it?” or “just because he was a Beatle?”. “Is this just further degrading the honour system?”

So what has Ringo done to deserve it? Many people, including Beatles fans, don’t give Ringo the credit for his part in The Beatles’ success. Was he just a lucky guy who jumped on the bandwagon, or something more?

FLAT_Fourth-Beatle_GBF_SkellettIn our new book, “Finding the Fourth Beatle”, we examine how and why Ringo became the drummer in the Fab Four, the only drummer to have lasted the distance with John, Paul and George. From 1956-1970, we detail the 18 drummers who played a part in their success, and ultimately why Ringo became the right drummer at the right time. He wasn’t the first drummer asked to replace Pete Best, but he proved to be a wise choice.

But we aren’t just saying it without backing it up with evidence. We have enlisted the help of several drummers who explain what it was that made Ringo such a unique drummer, by analysing his style and his experience of playing skiffle, country, jazz, and to the audiences in summer camps at Butlins. We have had a number of Beatles songs analysed, and show his contribution, what difference he did make to those songs, and the evolution of The Beatles’ sound. He wasn’t just a spare part sat at the back of the band, but integral to their development as a group, who has gone on to be recognised as one of the most influential drummers of all time. Not bad for a boy from the Dingle!

But that, in itself, isn’t enough to warrant a knighthood. What else has he done? His well-known problems with alcohol led him, and his second wife Barbara Bach, to check in to rehab to battle alcoholism. Ringo emerged as a new man, and together with Barbara, the two established the Lotus Foundation:

“The objectives of the Lotus Foundation are to fund, support, participate in and promote charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare in diverse areas including, but not limited to:

  • Substance abuse
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Brain tumours
  • Cancer
  • Battered women and their children
  • Homelessness
  • Animals in need”

Over the years, he has raised millions of pounds for his charity through books, performances, and most recently by selling off property and memorabilia he no longer needs/ uses. Through his high-profile status as a former Beatle, and successful solo artist, he has made a difference to countless lives around the world, much of which goes on unnoticed.

You don’t get a knighthood for being a Beatle: you do for making a difference and promoting Peace and Love.

Arise, Sir Fourth Beatle Ringo (and don’t mention “Elizabeth Reigns”!)

David Bedford

Pre-order “Finding the Fourth Beatle” now


Happy Birthday Pete Best

On Pete Best’s 76th birthday, Pete is probably the most controversial person in Beatles history, who divides opinions. Was he a good drummer? Why did the Beatles get rid of him? When we began work on “Finding the Fourth Beatle”, we realised we had to address these questions and reach an objective conclusion, and it has been one of the most interesting, and controversial investigations we have ever undertaken. There is so much invested in urban myth and opinion that reaching the truth is never easy.

However, what we have been able to prove is that Pete Best was never sacked! We have evidence, and I interviewed Brian Epstein’s lawyer who explained what really happened in that meeting at NEMS, and why Pete was not sacked.

We have also enlisted the help of 9 drummers to analyse Pete and Ringo’s drumming, especially the Decca audition, EMI audition and those first visits to Abbey Road in September 1962.

That way, we will have independent, objective analysis. After all, you can’t take the word of an author who isn’t a drummer, can you?

David Bedford

Pre-Order your copy now


8 Days A Week (I Ain’t Got Nothing But..)

When we were told a couple of years ago that The Beatles were going to be captured in a new, fresh, exciting film, directed by the legendary director Ron Howard, there was great excitement among Beatles fans.

We were promised new footage, new photos, behind the scenes interviews and the first truly new Beatles film since the 1960s.

I attended the world premiere in Liverpool – we were screening 30 minutes ahead of London – and I walked the “blue jay way” carpet with Allan Williams, The Quarrymen, Julia Baird and many more, which was an honour. In the cinema, when we watched interviews with Allan and Beryl Williams, Joe Flannery, Freda Kelly and other Liverpool people, I was so pleased that the film started with the Beatles in Liverpool.

However, when that finished after 20 minutes, I realised something was not quite as it seemed. This film was only for us in Liverpool. Ron Howard, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared on the screens with a special intro for us, where Ron Howard aditted he hadn’t been to Liverpool but he would like to. Seriously? But then as Liverpool wasn’t to feature in the main film, I suppose it didn’t matter. Where were The Beatles from? Ermmm. Where were The Quarrymen? Stuart Sutcliffe? Pete Best, who probably played more hours live with The Beatles than Ringo, but no mention.

The film was a huge disappointment to me. Some nice footage, and bits of commentary from Paul and Ringo, but this was not a film for serious die-hard Beatles fans, but a nice trip through the Beatles touring years. The one thing it did show well was how fed up with touring the Beatles were by 1966. That was about it. There was nothing particularly new, and plenty I’d seen elsewhere and so much more they could have included, but didn’t.

There was no new insight into touring with The Beatles, and, as a Liverpudlian, this film was definitely made for the American market. Even when a clip was shown of The Beatles on the balcony in Liverpool in July 1964, there was no caption to tell you where it was, even though virtually everywhere else was captioned. When they showed The Beatles in Amsterdam in June 1964, there was Jimmie Nicol standing in for Ringo, but he was not name-checked or identified and just passed over to when Ringo rejoined the tour.

Oh, and I nearly forgot. The people they interviewed. Not ordinary fans, but they rolled out celebrities! Of course, the famous “Fifth Beatles” Richard Curtis, Eddie Izzard, Jon Savage, Whoopi Goldberg, Sigourney Weaver…………………Yes, right.

I could go on, because there were so many disappointments there’s not enough space! This was a huge opportunity missed.

Would I pay to see it again? No.

Would I recommend it to others? No.

Will I buy it on DVD? Probably not.

Was I disappointed? Definitely.

I ain’t got nothing but disappointment, babe, Eight Days A Week.

David Bedford


How John Lennon and Pete Shotton robbed a house for a tea-chest bass!

Bill Smith, Pete Shotton, John Lennon, Don Beattie and Michael Hill

Bill Smith, Pete Shotton, John Lennon, Don Beattie and Michael Hill

In the first look at the Fab 104, we examined the impact and importance of George Smith, Julia Lennon and, of course, harmonica tutor Arthur Pendleton. This time we look at the founding members of The Quarrymen: John Lennon, Pete Shotton and Bill Smith.

In a rare interview, Bill Smith told me where they formed the group and how they came up with the name, The Quarrymen – and who didn’t like the suggestion! They may look innocent, but in the photo we see, from left to right, Bill Smith, Pete Shotton, John Lennon, Don Beattie and Michael Hill (more on the latter two guys later). Bill also told me why his collar is up, and the story behind the hairstyles. Bill was the first tea-chest bass player with the group, but when he left the group, Lennon and Shotton broke into Bill’s house and stole it! But Bill took it back! Read Bill’s story in “The Fab One Hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles” at www.fab104.com

David Bedford


Do you know when George Harrison joined The Quarrymen? Beatles historian says think again

For many years, we have known that George Harrison, at the invitation of his school friend Paul McCartney, auditioned before John Lennon a few times. The place where he was successful, according to all sources, was on the top deck of a bus outside Wilson Hall in Garston. The date? 6th February 1958.

Or was it?

While researching my latest book, “The Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”, I re-examined the available evidence, with help from Quarrymen banjo player/ historian Rod Davis, especially looking at the exit from The Quarrymen of Eric Griffiths. We know that Eric left The Quarrymen because he was replaced by George. Eric put away his guitar and joined the Merchant Navy. I therefore obtained a copy of Eric’s Merchant Navy records (reproduced in the book) which shows that Eric joined his first ship on 11th February 1958! We could then see that Eric qualified as an officer cadet in January 1958, which means he would have signed up for the Merchant Navy in mid December 1957.

Therefore, George must have joined The Quarrymen before the middle of December 1957 for Eric to have left and signed up for the Merchant Navy. When we check the records, The Quarrymen played at Wilson Hall on 7th December 1957, which makes this the likely date for George’s successful audition to join The Quarrymen.

This means that John, Paul and George were together in a band by the end of 1957!

To read the full story, get your copy of my book, “The Fab one hundred and Four” now at www.fab104.com

David Bedford

#arts & entertainment #Beatles #Quarrymen


When The Beatles were only the Silver Beats – with a drummer called Cliff!

Cliff Roberts, who sat in with the Silver Beats

Cliff Roberts, who sat in with the Silver Beats

On 14th May 1960, The Silver Beats – as they called themselves for this one occasion – the boys headed up to the north of Liverpool to appear at Lathom Hall. They arrived there with their current lineup – John, Paul, George, Stuart and Tommy Moore. For some reason, Tommy didn’t bring his drums!! So, he asked a fellow drummer, Cliff Roberts from Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes, if he could use his drums. He declined!

So, drummerless, the lads approached Cliff Roberts and asked him to sit in with them that night, which he duly did. That night, they were:

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Cliff Roberts: The Silver Beats.

Roberts recalled The Silver Beats’ appearance that first night: “They were a scruffy bunch whose drummer hadn’t brought his kit and asked if he could borrow mine. I had a brand new Olympic kit that I hadn’t even used on stage myself, so I naturally refused.” They performed six numbers together, as Roberts recalled, “four rock ‘n’ roll standards that all the
groups played, and two originals that they had to teach me.”

Cliff Roberts is therefore a member of the “Fab one hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”

Find out more at www.fab104.com

David Bedford