Review

The Beatles: The True Beginnings

Roag Best, with Pete Best and Rory Best



Will any true Beatles fan ever admit that there is no need for any
further information regarding the Fab Four? Absolutely not --- the
strong popularity of THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY is evidence enough that
a voracious audience still exists for Beatles lore in all shapes
and sizes.

THE BEATLES: THE TRUE BEGINNINGS really encompasses two book ideas:
the Merseybeat music scene in Liverpool from which the Beatles
developed, and Pete Best's experiences as an early Beatle. Either
of these ideas, developed fully, would make interesting reading. As
they are, however, two slender ideas are crammed into one unfocused
book with big pictures and sparse text. Even so, I get the
impression that this book was a stretch --- does any fan, no matter
how obsessive, really require a picture of the case in which Pete
Best carried his drums? How about a shot of the spare guitar
strings he found inside?

A prominent outpost of the Merseybeat scene was Mrs. Best's Casbah
Coffee Club, owned and operated by Pete Best's mother, Mona Best.
This book is in large part a tribute to the remarkable Mona Best
from her sons --- Roag, Pete, and Rory. Mrs. Best pawned her
jewelry, placed a bet on a horse, and won the money to buy Number
Eight Haymans Green, a giant house whose cellars were transformed
into the Casbah when the Best boys discovered rock-and-roll and
needed a place to perform and listen to music. The Beatles first
performed at the Casbah as the Quarrymen. They played to a crowd of
1,500 and received three pounds as payment.

You probably know how the story goes. The Beatles were a huge
success and got a gig playing in Hamburg, Germany where they
endured a horrible, grueling performance schedule and living
conditions like something from a Dickens novel (assuming Dickens
might ever have written about a German red-light district). In
short, the Hamburg experience was destined to make or break the
Beatles. It made the Beatles, but Pete Best was not invited to
continue their success.

Is the Best family bitter? Maybe a little; it is their theory that
Pete Best was simply so much better looking that he was a liability
to the other band members. Also, the title THE TRUE BEGINNINGS
seems to imply that they are setting the record straight, but there
isn't very much new information here and it's unlikely to change
anyone's mind about the Beatles as individuals or as a cultural
phenomenon.

Reviewed by Colleen Quinn (CQuinn9368@yahoo.com) on January 21, 2011

The Beatles: The True Beginnings
Roag Best, with Pete Best and Rory Best

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2003
  • Genres: Music, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312319258
  • ISBN-13: 9780312319250