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The Beatles, Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

5 guys who've been called the 'fifth Beatle'

Antje Binder / kbm
September 16, 2016

The Beatles were a foursome, but these five people have been labeled the "fifth Beatle" at some point. They were producers, friends of the band - and one even has a very tragic story.


In the history of The Beatles, a number of people have been dubbed the "fifth Beatle." But only one of them has gone down in music history books as the unluckiest musician of all time. Pete Best played drums for the ensemble in its early days, but was kicked out just before they had their big break.

The band members met in Liverpool and met in Pete Best's mother's house. In her cellar, they opened the legendary Casbah music club, where John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison hung out.

Pete Best played with The Beatles during their time in Hamburg in the early 1960s. The group spent about a year and a half performing in small clubs in the northern German city.

They returned to Liverpool as a well-established band and, in the summer of 1962, experienced their big breakthrough. They had a record contract in the bag, were scheduled for a television appearance, and their first single was in the works.

Out with Pete Best, in with Ringo Starr

But on August 16, 1962, Pete Best's time with The Beatles came to an end. Two years after it had begun, manager Brian Epstein fired him, saying the band didn't want him around anymore. Soon after, their first megahit, "Love Me Do," was released with Ringo Starr at the drum set.

Pete Best still doesn't know exactly why he was kicked out. Some said he was too quiet and too moody. Another rumor was that the others were jealous of his good looks. But the official reason was that Pete Best wasn't the best drummer for the job.

Best led a quiet post-Beatles life

After he was fired, Pete Best didn't have contact with anyone from the band. He observed his ex-friends' skyrocketing success from a distance. In 1965 - the year in which The Beatles played the biggest live show of their career in New York and met their idol Elvis Presley - Best tried to take his own life. However, his mother and brother managed to hinder his suicide attempt.

Best gave up music and became a public servant at Liverpool's employment bureau. For many years, he didn't even tell his own daughters that he'd once been a Beatle.

It wasn't until 1988 that Best started making music again with a small band of his own. When "The Beatles Anthology" album was released in 1995, which included the band's early recordings, Best got lots of attention and praise for his role - 35 years after his break with the group.

Click through the gallery above for a look at five individuals, including Pete Best, who have been dubbed the "fifth Beatle" at some point over the course of pop music history.

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