In 1962, drummer Pete Best (right) was on the receiving end of one of history’s cruelest firings. His bandmates had just won a recording contract but decided he wasn’t quite talented enough to stay in the band. They intended to replace him with a friend from a rival group: Richard Starkey (left), also known as Ringo Starr.
Best, beloved by the Beatles’ earliest fans, had to watch from the sidelines as his former bandmates and Starr became the biggest group on the planet. Now, thanks to a Facebook campaign, he is getting a little compensation from the city where it all started.
A group on the social network calling itself “Name a Street After Pete” aimed to persuade Liverpool City Council to honor Best; it gained more than 10,000 supporters. The council was persuaded and announced Wednesday that Best would get not one but two street names in a new housing development — one for himself and one for the Casbah, a club started by his late mother Mona, where the Beatles played some of their earliest gigs.
“We only name a street after a living person if it is an exceptional case,” councilor Malcolm Kennedy told the website Click Liverpool. “Pete Best is certainly one of those exceptional individuals — he has made a significant contribution to the musical heritage of our city, and he is a worthy recipient.”
The BBC spoke to a proud and humbled Best; you can see that interview here. A decade ago, Best received a quiet payout of up to £4 million for his part in the Beatles Anthology project, which features several tracks with his drumming. Getting a street named after you is a pretty big deal in a historic city like Liverpool, however, and we think the 69-year-old Best much prefers the recognition to the cash. Money, as his former bandmates once observed, can’t buy you love.