'The Beatles: Get Back' Skipped The Most Important Beatle: Pete
Peter Jackson's The Beatles: Get Back documentary series has been praised for finally allowing us to experience what it felt like to be in the studio with the Fab Four (lots of staring at Paul like you want to kill him, it turns out). But, for all its accolades, there is one massive flaw in the documentary that cannot be forgiven: the exclusion of the best Beatle in every sense, original drummer Pete Best. He's the one whose face was torn off so you could see the rightmost Ringo here:
Get Back's opening montage shamefully neglected to show Pete while bringing Disney+ viewers up to speed on who these "Beatles" are -- even though there would be no Beatles without him, for several reasons ...
He Came Up With The (Final) Name
No, seriously. Originally, the band was called The Quarrymen and later The Silver Beatles, which made them sound like a C-list superhero team that gets killed off-panel in a Justice League comic. Pete was the visionary who got rid of the "Silver." As he explained in a 1965 interview: "I decided more than anything else that we should, you know, drop the Silver altogether and just keep it as The Beatles." Ten seconds later, in his infinite modesty, he adds: "It was a group suggestion more than anything else, you know, but I sponsored it." Just pure humility. Immediately after that, he reveals he was the leader of the Beatles because he took care of all the taxes and stuff.
Here's a dramatization of that important moment, only with "the" instead of "Silver," "Facebook" instead of "Beatles," and the far less handsome Justin Timberlake instead of Pete Best:
His Mom Was Practically The Fifth Beatle
Even before Pete joined the band, his mother Mona booked the young Quarrymen as the first band to play in the club she was opening in the basement of her house, simply out of the kindness of her heart. And also in exchange for them painting the club for her. But mostly kindness.
Despite the Quarrymen quitting their residency at Mona's club due to a little payment disagreement, she continued helping the band for years by lending them her phone, bullying other nightclub owners into giving them gigs, and terrifying their manager Brian Epstein, thus keeping that wildcard in line. Also, she was having an affair (and had a son) with an 18-year-old kid who went on to become the Beatles' road manager, assistant, and trusted confidante, Neil Aspinall. The Beatles would have been completely lost without this lady.
Pete Accounted For Like 90% Of Their Early Female Fandom
Pete's good looks were instrumental to the band's early success, perhaps even more so than the actual instruments. He has (again, humbly) said that he was the only one getting any action from German girls when they were playing in Hamburg, and it's a fact that he had a bigger fan club than the others back in England. When they made the mistake of firing him, almost certainly out of pure jealousy, the words "Pete forever, Ringo never!" echoed all through Liverpool. If you listen closely, they still do.
He's The Funniest Beatle, By Far
Humor was always a big part of the Beatles' charm, but none of the others ever did anything as funny as what Pete pulled off after they fired him. In December 1965, at the height of Beatlemania, an album called Best of the Beatles showed up on record stores and was immediately snatched up by hordes of Christmas shoppers. Thousands of young fans unwrapped their new album on Christmas morning, placed it on their record players, and heard classics like ... "Shimmy Like My Sister Kate"?
Yes, Best of the Beatles meant Pete Best, Formerly of the Beatles. There were no actual Beatles tunes in the album. The New York State Bureau of Consumer Fraud looked into the issue, but there was nothing misleading about the album's name: the dude's name is Best, and he was in the Beatles. And that's how Pete Best saved Christmas by preventing countless young fans from listening to songs with Ringo's inferior drumming in them. Peter Jackson, it's not too late to save your documentary! All you need to do is deepfake Pete's face over Ringo's in every single scene, and all will be forgiven.
Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile and also on Twitter.
Top image: Apple Records