Beatles drummer sacking letter from Brian Epstein up for sale


A letter written by The Beatles’ manager following the sacking of the band’s original drummer is going under the hammer.

Brian Epstein signed up Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best – the band’s first drummer – on January 24 1962, after hearing them play.

But only months later he fired Best and replaced him with Ringo Starr.

The letter which is up for sale was part of a tranche of communications Epstein sent to “secret Beatle” Joe Flannery, a key figure in the Fab Four’s rise to fame.

Flannery, who died last year aged 87, was the band’s booking manager from 1962-63, during the early history of the Fab Four.

On September 8 1962, Epstein wrote to tell him he had released Best from his contract.

He had told the Liverpool drummer three weeks earlier that he had to leave the band.

The letter has been kept by Flannery’s family and is now being sold by his nephew.

Epstein wrote: “I read from the Mersey Beat (Liverpool music publication) Pete Best has now joined The All Stars.

“I have sent, today, to him a certificate of release from his obligations under contract to myself.”

Former Beatles drummer Pete Best
Former Beatles drummer Pete Best

Epstein added that he sent “our sincere wishes for Pete’s and the group’s continued success”.

Best previously spoke of how Epstein had told him at a meeting that he was being sacked and replaced by another drummer.

“I went in happy as Larry. The last thing on my mind was that I was going to get kicked out of the Beatles,” he told a BBC documentary.

“He (Epstein) said ‘Pete, I don’t know how to tell you this – the boys want you out … It’s already been arranged that Ringo will join the band on Saturday.’

“That was the bombshell. To me, it was like disbelief … I’ll wake up in the morning and this will be all gone.”

The collection, going under the hammer at Omega Auctions, also includes notes, post the Beatles, from Sir Paul to Flannery.

Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said: “From 1959 onwards, Joe was a close friend and associate of The Beatles and played a major part in guiding them to their meteoric rise to success in 1963.

“The letters themselves show a close working relationship between Flannery and Epstein in the group’s early days, and we’re excited to see how Beatles collectors and fans will respond on the day.”

Epstein is believed to have been referring to Best’s ex-bandmates when he sent “our sincere wishes for Pete’s and the groups continued success”.

Fairweather added: “It is on record that they all felt bad when Pete was ousted so I am sure it was pleasing for them to see he had joined a new band.”

After playing in a number of groups, Best left the music industry to work as a civil servant for 20 years, before starting the Pete Best Band.

In 1995, Best received a substantial payout from sales after The Beatles released Anthology 1, which featured early tracks with Best as drummer, including songs from their auditions for the Decca and Parlophone labels.

This summer, Best extended an olive branch to Sir Ringo, wishing him a happy 80th birthday.

“Thought about it and thought why not. Happy Birthday Ringo. It’s a special one. Have a good day,” he wrote on Twitter.

Vinyl records and more memorabilia will also be up for sale at Omega Auctions, in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, on Tuesday October 27, with the items expected to fetch a total of £15,000.