What Beatles Fans Really Thought About The Hiring Of Ringo Starr

Multiple legendary rock bands have undergone lineup changes over the past 60 years since the genre hit the mainstream. Van Halen has had more than one lead singer since the 1970s and Fleetwood Mac once existed without Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, to name a couple of examples. Previous lineups of The Beatles might not be so widely known, as the changes occurred before Beatlemania took the world by storm.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon began performing together in 1957 as teenagers. George Harrison was a friend of McCartney's from school who later joined the group. Stuart Sutcliffe joined, but only for a few months. Pete Best rounded out the group as the drummer. The quintet spent time performing in Liverpool and in Hamburg, Germany in the early 1960s. Future manager Brian Epstein discovered them as a four-piece without Sutcliffe in Liverpool and led them toward a record deal with Parlophone, an EMI company led by George Martin. Martin suggested a better drummer. The band chose Richard Starkey, also known as Ringo Starr (per Britannica).

Ringo Starr joined The Beatles at The Cavern Club

Despite the fact that George Martin and the rest of the band believed Ringo Starr to be a step up as a drummer, The Beatles already had a following in Liverpool. The fans had grown fond of the band with Pete Best on drums. When Starr played his first set with The Beatles as an official member of the lineup on August 19, 1962 (per The Beatles Bible), fans did not hide their feelings toward the decision to get rid of Best. It was 217th show that The Beatles had played at the Cavern Club, but loyal supporters of the venue and of Best seemed ready to make it the band's last. Employees and other musicians recalled that fans stated that they were not going to return to the club. Others yelled "Ringo out, Pete in."

Ian Edwards of fellow Liverpool band Ian and the Zodiacs described the night and where the issue with Starr lay. It had to do with his resume of previous bands. "Ritchie was playing in a group that wasn't taken seriously and suddenly he's in the biggest thing on Merseyside," Edwards explained — Merseyside referring to the county in which Liverpool is located.

Beatlemania hit just a couple of years after Ringo Starr joined

Safe to say that the switch from Pete Best to Ringo Starr did not hurt The Beatles in the long run. Perhaps the band lost some early supporters, but it was with Starr that they recorded their first album, "Please Please Me" in 1963, and every album thereafter (also via Beatles Bible). By 1963, The Beatles were performing in front of British royals at the Prince of Wales Theater in London (per The Royal Variety Charity) and scored No. 1 singles on the charts with "From Me to You" and "She Loves You."

Early followers from Liverpool may have disliked Starr at first, but upon his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, referred to Starr as "the most influential Beatle" (via Rolling Stone, in 2015) but acknowledged that people would likely not believe it. His solo career did not see the same chart success as the rest of the band. Nevertheless, he remains beloved all over the world for his messages of "peace and love" and as the drummer for perhaps the most famous band in the world. He and former bandmate Paul McCartney even still occasionally perform and make appearances together as well.