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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Best Of The Beatles

If anyone has read my profile, then they'll know that my all-time favorite band is The Beatles. And they have been since January 1964, when I Wanna Hold Your Hand hit the top of the American Rock and Roll charts. It was that song and that moment, when yours' truly, at the ripe old age of 2, heard this new group called The Beatles and became aware of music. And thanks to The Beatles, I am a professional musician today, playing lead guitar and singing in a rock and roll band of my own. On Saturday night, October 4th, 2008, I got to hear a member of The Beatles live in person! How cool is that!? You might have already realized that it wasn't John Lennon or George Harrison. But, it wasn't Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr, either. No, the Beatle I'm talking about was their drummer from 1960 to 1962, their formative years when they learned to rock and roll hard, loud and fast. Pete Best was their drummer during this period and it was when they became known for their loud and energetic stage performances. If anyone has heard bootlegs from this period, they know what I'm talking about.
Pete Best was dropped from The Beatles and they got Ringo to replace him. Pete carried on in rock and roll for about 6 more years before settling in to a regular job as that of a civil servant. But once Rock and Roll gets in your blood, you can't really ever get rid of it, and he got back into the music scene in 1988. He has been back in it now for 20 years. With his group, The Pete Best Band, he travels all over the world and rocks just like he did back when he was in The Beatles. When I saw him, it was practically in my own back yard, but what a show him and his band delivered!

They were touring in release of a new album, if you can believe that, and they played three songs from it during the show. They were awesome songs, enough so that I had to buy his new cd, Hayman's Green, after the show! But what really got the packed house off their feet and rocking were the songs they did from The Beatles' early days, when they stormed up and down Germany and England and started setting the world on fire, one crowd at a time. They played such early Beatle staples as Three Cool Cats, Roll Over Beethoven, Dizzie Miss Lizzie, I Saw Her Standing There, Some Other Guy, Twist And Shout, Till There Was You, My Bonnie, Rock And Roll Music and many more. But what really knocked me out was their note for note rendition of a song The Beatles, with Pete Best on drums, performed at their Decca audition on New Year's Day of 1962. Namely, Besame Mucho. Only their guitars didn't get buried in the mix like John and George's did all those years ago - this version rocked! Here is the Pete Best Band on stage:

Here's their lead guitarist:

Their bass and rhythm guitarist:

And second drummer Roag, Pete's younger brother:

And here is the man himself, drumming with so much intensity:

After leading the crowd through rousing renditions of Twist And Shout, My Bonnie and I Saw Her Standing There, they came back for an encore of Johnny B. Goode. The show lasted about 90 minutes, but I still felt it was over way too soon! After it was over, they came out and graciously signed autographs, all five of them. I got them all to autograph their new cd, which I purchased from their table and Pete signed two albums, (yes those 33 1/3 rpm black things!) from my collection. I didn't see anybody else with rare albums like mine, in fact, there weren't any others at all! Several people asked to see my albums, which I proudly showed them. I had 3 with me and they all featured pictures of The Beatles on the cover, when Pete was a member of the group. One of the albums which Pete autographed was the one at the top of this post. He signed his name in the bass drum area. How cool is that!? Here's Pete autographing my cd:

And, finally, here is the whole band at the autograph table. Some younger fans were getting their picture taken standing behind them, but I got my picture any way! They were all pretty nice about signing autographs and I can confirm that they rocked the house! Here they are, freshly cleaned up just after the show:

All in all, I can highly recommend The Pete Best Band and their new cd, Hayman's Green. I've not stopped listening to it since Saturday night after the show. It's almost Wednesday morning as I write these words and the songs on this album still blow me away every time I hear them. Such feeling and poignancy! It's contemporary sounding and it's classic sounding at the same time. But, most of all, The Pete Best Band have their own sound and it rocks! Buy this cd if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed!

Oh, but please don't buy it at Wal-Mart. Buy it from Pete's website and help him out more. He would appreciate it and you will too, after you listen to it!

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