MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Before The Beatles were known in every corner of the globe, this was The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best.
"December 19th, 1960 and that was the start of Beatle Mania in Liverpool."
At his hotel in downtown Memphis, Pete Best waits for his Tuesday evening show at the Levitt Shell, where he and his band will blur geographic lines between Liverpool and Memphis.
"We're looking forward to it, this is like the inauguration - we've been picked to represent Liverpool for the tour, we're very proud of that."
Best became the original drummer for The Beatles in 1960 after growing to become good friends with John and Paul through his mother's social club, Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool.
Best still remembers the "pre-Beatles" first show. "I stood there and watched their first performance, which was absolutely incredible, and from that performance on I got to know them."
Months later without a permanent drummer, John, Paul, and George asked Best to join the group. The next day, Best and The Beatles went on to tour Hamburg, Germany. "Of course a band from Liverpool actually playing live music with the savageness that we played it with in those days was something that was incredible for the German audiences."
Thousands of miles away, Best says he and the group were all influenced both musically and culturally by Elvis. "My biggest recollection was Heartbreak Hotel, it was like the first time I heard that - I was like, what the hell is that, you know I want a piece of that."
But it was 2 years after he became a Beatle the group and their manager Brian Epstein released Best from The Beatles. "I stopped worrying about it many years ago to be quite honest, I suddenly realized that there's more to life than reflecting on what should have happened or what could have happened."
Best says he holds no ill feeling about the dismissal, but after the release he lost touch with John, Paul, and George. "It was a privilege to be part of them, knowing them socially for 3 years, playing with them for 2 years, achieving the success that we achieved; in these 2 years we broke boundaries."
In fact, Best extends an invitation to Paul McCartney to sit down and talk. "Let get together and if it is going to happen, we're not going to open up old wounds again… What's more important is like you having a bevy, discuss it all over a couple of scotches like we used to."
Now more than 50 years after the beginning of The Beatles, Best and his band are here in Memphis and will perform Tuesday evening at the Levitt Shell. Best says it's an honor to perform where Elvis Presley made his first public performance.
Pete Best & The Pete Best Band
The Levitt Shell
Tuesday, August 9 @ 8 PM
Rain or Shine
Doors Open @ 7 PM
$15 Advance/ $20 At the Door
Kids 12 and Under are FREE!
All Ages Welcome