The Beatles recorded their first-ever single, Love Me Do, on September 4, 1962, with the band’s first drummer Pete Best playing the percussion instrument. The band’s manager, Brian Epstein, and their producer, Martin, decided Best wasn’t cut out for the job, so got rid of him. George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney attempted to replace him with Ringo Starr, but Martin and Epstein had other ideas.
On this day, September 11, in 1962, Ringo arrived at EMI studios to record his first single with The Beatles only to find another drummer in his spot.
Martin once recalled: “On 11th September 1962, we finally got together to make their first record. The boys, meanwhile, had brought along a guy [Starr], and they said: ‘We’re going to get Ringo to play with us.'”
Unbeknownst to the band, Martin had hired session drummer Andy White to play drums on Love Me Do.
He went on: “I said: ‘We just spent good money and booked the best drummer in London. I’m not having your bloke in. I’ll find out about him later.'”
Martin added: “Poor Ringo was mortified and I felt sorry for him… so I gave him the maracas.”
Starr later recalled on Anthology: “I went down to play. [Martin] didn’t like me either, so he called a drummer named Andy White, a professional session man, to play.
“I was devastated he had his doubts about me. I came down ready to roll and heard: ‘We’ve got a professional drummer.’
“He has apologised several times since, had old George, but it was devastating – I hated the b****r for years.”
Starr later described the “terrible” moment he found another musician where he ought to have been while talking to The Beatles biographer Hunter Davies.
McCartney also commented about recording the band’s first single without their new drummer.
He said on Anthology: “George [Martin] got his way and Ringo didn’t drum on the first single. He only played tambourine.
“I don’t think Ringo ever got over that. He had to go back up to Liverpool and everyone asked: ‘How did it go in the Smoke [London]?’
“We’d say: ‘B-side’s good,’ but Ringo couldn’t admit to liking the a-side, not being on it.”
Starr was eventually given the credit for drumming on the band’s a-side, Love Me Do.
The track reached number 17 in the UK Singles Charts.
Harrison later described hearing Love Me Do on the radio as “the best buzz of all time”.