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Who Was the Original Drummer for The Beatles? – The History of The Beatles Drummers

The Beatles are undoubtedly the most famous band to ever exist. They took the world by storm in the 60s, and it’s always mind-blowing to think about how popular the band is, even though they only toured for a few years

While most of the band was always very established, there were a few drummers who played with the group before and after Ringo Starr. Ringo was always the main drummer, but there were times when other drummers recorded in the studio, and there were tours where Ringo couldn’t play. 

This guide will show you every drummer who played with The Beatles.

Before The Beatles

Before The Beatles were an established band, the group involved John Lennon performing where he could, and he was later joined by Paul McCartney when the two became friends. The following drummers played with them before the band officially became The Beatles

Colin Hanton

Colin Hanton was the very first drummer to play with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison in an official band. The Beatles hadn’t formed at that stage, and the band’s name when Hanton was playing was The Quarrymen

He played drums with the group from 1956 until 1959. He eventually left after having an argument with the band members after a show

One of the most interesting things about Hanton’s time with the band members is that a lot of their early rehearsals took place at his parents’ house. He had a drum kit, so everyone else brought their gear there to practice.

Tommy Moore

Tommy Moore only played drums with Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison when the band was known as The Silver Beetles. He went on tour with them to Scotland when they performed as the backing band for Johnny Gentle. 

Tommy Moore injured himself on that tour, but he also decided that he didn’t want to be part of the band due to his dislike for John Lennon

He left the band and went back to working at the bottle works. He was only with the band from May to June of 1960

Norman Chapman

Norman Chapman replaced Tommy Moore, but he only played a few shows with the band before being conscripted into the military at the time. He was replaced by Pete Best.

During The Beatles

The following drummers all played with the band before and after Beatlemania. Ringo was the most prominent drummer during that time, but these other drummers came and went for various reasons. 

Pete Best

Pete Best was the most well-known drummer of the band, apart from Ringo Starr. He’s most commonly known as the original drummer for The Beatles, as he was the drummer when the band changed their name and got signed to a record label. 

The story regarding Pete Best is quite sad, as he was asked to leave the band by Brian Epstein, who was the band’s manager. The members didn’t think Pete Best’s drumming abilities were good enough, so they fired him just before recording their breakout album.

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr became the backbone of The Beatles. He was invited by John Lennon to join The Beatles when they were recording their first few studio singles. 

Things were a bit wonky when he joined, as many of the original fans of the band weren’t happy with Pete Best being replaced. The producers also weren’t happy with Ringo’s drumming in the first few songs, hiring Andy White to play the drum parts instead

Ringo played percussion parts but then later became an integral part of the band.

Over the next decade, Ringo Starr played a huge role in writing drum parts, songs, and recording vocals with the band. 

Andy White

Andy White was a highly sought-after session drummer at the time of Pete Best being replaced by Ringo Starr. He was hired to play the drum parts on the band’s first singles while Ringo Starr tracked percussion parts. 

That was Andy White’s only contribution to the band, but it’s still what he is best known for. He played with plenty of other famous artists, though, including Chuck Berry and Tom Jones.

Jimmie Nicol

When The Beatles were touring in 1964, Ringo Starr fell ill and couldn’t perform for several shows. The band hired Jimmie Nicol to cover for him, skyrocketing his fame during the Beatlemania era. 

He played eight shows with the band before Ringo returned to playing drums on the tour. Unfortunately, Jimmie Nicol lost the fame as quickly as he gained it, and he left the music industry shortly after his time with The Beatles.

After The Beatles

The following drummers had something to do with The Beatles after the band split up. John Lennon and Paul McCartney pursued their own solo careers, but many of The Beatles’ songs were still being performed by them. 

Jim Keltner

Jim Keltner was never an official member of The Beatles, but he played drums with every member of the band apart from Paul McCartney after the band split up

His main contribution was tracking all the drum parts for John Lennon’s most popular solo album. Because of his work with the band members, Keltner is often referred to as a fifth member of the band. 

Bernard Purdie

Bernard Purdie is one of the most accomplished session drummers to ever live. He’s played with so many world-famous artists, tracking drums for over a thousand studio albums. 

The reason he’s on this list is that he came out at one stage claiming that he was asked by Brian Epstein, the band’s manager, to re-record drum parts for a few songs where producers weren’t happy with the drums. 

Apparently, Epstein paid him to keep quiet about it. Some people believe this story to be true, while many don’t. It’s a bit controversial!

Final Thoughts on The History of The Beatles Drummers

It’s crazy to think of how much of an impact The Beatles had on the music world. While it’s sad that Pete Best was booted from the band right before they blew up, we don’t think the band would be the same without Ringo

Ringo had such a distinct way of playing and writing drum parts, and the band didn’t sound the same when other drummers joined in. While Ringo wasn’t the flashiest drummer at the time, everything he played suited all the band’s songs perfectly.

All the other drummers have great stories to tell about how they played with the most famous band in the world at a stage, but none of them can compare to Ringo Starr’s work with the band.

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