Was the Late Johnny Hutch the Beatles' First Choice to Replace Pete Best?

Vistalite Black

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Maybe one of you Beatles fanatics can give us the lowdown on this story claiming the late Johnny Hutch (Rock in Peace) turned down an offer from the Beatles to join the Fabs on the day Pete Best was fired.

From the Daily Telegraph last week:

Johnny Hutch, who has died aged 79, was the drummer and lead singer in Liverpool’s loudest beat group, the Big Three, as the Mersey sound era dawned, but never regretted turning down the chance to join their rivals the Beatles as they became the most successful rock’n’roll band in history.

He was offered the job by the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in August 1962, on the day he fired their original drummer, Pete Best. Although rated the most accomplished drummer in Liverpool (and the only one capable of complicated solos) Hutch flatly declined, mainly because he was a friend of Best but also because he considered the Beatles “posers”.

 

Obiwandrumobe

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A thousand words...

394511



Hutch did fine with The Big Three...
 

tommykat1

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This is a new one on me. I'd heard of him, but never read that he was offered the job.
 

Joe A

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That one photo of Hutch behind the drums always stuck in my mind. I first saw it when I was 9 or 10 in a magazine called Sh-Boom, a fanzine dedicated to oldies, culture of the fifties and sixties and so forth. That floor tom in the Chester position looks like something you'd see in a cartoon; I bet it was a real cannon!
 
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John and Johnny didn't get along.....at all. He subbed with them and there was fisticuffs, as I recall reading?
 

K.O.

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The article seems unclear as to whether Epstein extended the offer at the request of the band or of his own initiative. If the former then that implies that Ringo was the band's second choice as a new drummer. That would go against just about everything that has been stated in the matter for 50+ years. It's always been that Ringo was THE GUY. If Epstein reached out of his own accord without asking the band that's different and if Hutch had accepted there may have been a disagreement on that, given that, as Bun mentioned above, Hutch and Lennon did not like each other at all.

Easy enough to say "Yeah, Epstein offered me the job and I turned it down" years later with Epstein dead. And maybe it did happen but it seems it would have never worked out in the long run if Hutch had taken the job.
 

DrummerJustLikeDad

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In an interesting twist, Hutch and the eventual Beatles drummer would actually cross paths later, but only after the Beatles finally broke up for good, with Ringo taking back his real name. Does anybody remember that project?

I guess I read somewhere they worked in America for a time, not as drummers but as plainclothes cops, busting criminals in their red Ford Torino? Fun stuff.
 

musicman64

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That one photo of Hutch behind the drums always stuck in my mind. I first saw it when I was 9 or 10 in a magazine called Sh-Boom, a fanzine dedicated to oldies, culture of the fifties and sixties and so forth. That floor tom in the Chester position looks like something you'd see in a cartoon; I bet it was a real cannon!
Those floor toms were popular back then. Here's a picture of my last Olympic kit, with one. It was a B&H Ajax..14 x 16...and it was a little cannon. OT...I think I still have some shoes like those, packed away with all the leather stage outfits!!!
 

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piccupstix

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I remember reading about yet another drummer, Tommy Moore, having great difficulties with Lennon. Tommy pre-dated Best.
 

K.O.

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There is no mention of this job offer in Mark Lewisohn's deeply researched 1700 page extended version of his book, "Tune In" . Rather it states that Pete later testified that he was told by Epstein that he was out and the boys were replacing him with Ringo, meaning that was already decided. Pete was asked to play one remaining gig with them that Ringo would not be able to do (because Ringo refused to leave Rory Storm drummer-less on such short notice) and agreed. Later he changed his mind and did not show up for the gig. The Big Three were on the same bill and so Johnny Hutch filled in one more time with the Beatles, but the book makes it clear that Hutch was not happy to do so. If all this is accurate then it doesn't bode well for Hutch's story, although perhaps it's possible that Epstein asked him if he would be interested in taking Pete's place sometime before the actual firing and maybe without checking with the band, although that seems like a bad idea all around, given Hutch's documented animosity towards John. Paul, and George.
 

TheBeachBoy

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In an interesting twist, Hutch and the eventual Beatles drummer would actually cross paths later, but only after the Beatles finally broke up for good, with Ringo taking back his real name. Does anybody remember that project?

I guess I read somewhere they worked in America for a time, not as drummers but as plainclothes cops, busting criminals in their red Ford Torino? Fun stuff.
Didn't they have an informant named Huggy Bear? Good times...

The story seems iffy that Epstein would have offered him the job considering I thought the timing of when they fired Best was that the boys had already convinced Ringo to join the group. I'm sure there aren't any other witnesses to this alleged interaction.

If you added a sax to The Big Three it would sound like the Dave Clark Five. I had never heard of them before, so I'm going to head over to the ol' YouTube and see what else they have.
 

Troyh

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Nicely put, Kevin. I suggest all read 'Tune In'. Lewison takes a historian's approach. Very well researched and referenced.
Their's a Liverpool author that's written a newer book that claims Ringo was the third or fourth choice, but that has been rebuffed pretty thoroughly by Lewison's research.
I'll look up the title..
 

Mcjnic

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If you added a sax to The Big Three it would sound like the Dave Clark Five.
Big Three plus one sax is only the Dave Clark Four.
I think you’d still have to toss in a flute or maybe a clarinet.
 


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