Replacing Ringo? The Story Behind Bernard Purdie and The Beatles

there are four drummers on the Beatles music mango is not one choice Rosanna is probably not what you were expecting to hear right now but listen to the drums and bear with me [Music] drummers like the late Jeff Porcaro know all about the Purdy shuffle and its creator Bernard Purdie I used a half time shuffle groove on the tune Rosanna the total cut the Bernard Purdie thing I like to call it the Bernard Purdie half time shuffle it’s basically this here’s Purdy he’s a likable character yes but this is also the guy who said I over dubbed the drumming on 21 tracks of the first three Beatle albums so this guy played on Beatles songs and according to him not Ringo Starr before Toto rocked the world Bernard Purdie played on songs you know and what the ton of artists you love Miles Davis Aretha Franklin Steely aflac Donny Hathaway James Brown Lord Price Ray Charles pretty is well-respected in the music community and his drumming legacy is solid none of this is in question but again did this guy really play on recordings by the Beatles if you haven’t heard about any of this your inclination is probably that it’s untrue you’re probably thinking this would be free only common knowledge for Beatles fans right it’s kind of a big deal like a lot of things though there’s some truth to the myth and in this video we’re gonna clear things up first things first besides saying he played on 21 Beatles songs what else did Purdy say about all this after all this didn’t become a Beatles urban legend with a one-off comment starting in the 1960s all the way through recent interviews Purdy has discussed the Beatles topic quite a bit his claims are worth reviewing because they’ve grown and changed over time I’m going to summarize some of these here but details all the sources are in the credits if you want to check it out anyway let’s dig in in a 1967 New Yorker piece Purdy for the first time claimed his Beatles connection no details on this he just included the band in a list among others he had done work for but the 1967 date that’s important keep that in mind fast-forward gig magazine 11 years later 1978 Purdy details his Beatles claim for the first time he said he did work for the band in the summer of 1963 and he was hired by Beatles manager Brian Epstein to sweeten the drum sound according to Purdy Epstein was even in the studio he also said in the interview I would listen to what Ringo would played and then overdub on top of it to keep it having him all in all there were 21 tracks that he played on over nine days of sessions he doesn’t give any song titles except to call one yeah yeah yeah which implies she loves you incidentally was written and recorded in the summer of 1963 later on in interviews in the mid 80s Priti added that he knew the names of songs he had played on but said that’s information I don’t disclose because if I need that information to give me some money then I’ll have what’s necessary he also answered when he would have revealed the song titles by saying I’m in the process now of writing the book Ringo Starr was also discussed around this time with pretty claiming that ringo’s playing is not on anything reminder just a few years prior he clearly stated that he had played on top of Ringo’s drumming next up Purdy’s red bull interview from 2004 I began this video with a quote from it there are four drummers on the Beatles music [Music] pretty also had some wild new claims saying that Ringo took the place of somebody else in the band that’s what they wanted and that’s what they could control it was it was all about control he looked the part that they wanted he was the one that he chose and this whole conversation from 2004 this is interesting and since it’s on video we can be sure there’s no editing or mincing of words regarding the issue in 2014 perdy finally released his book titled let the drums speak in it he essentially tells the story I’ve told here but with a different tone allowing for more maybes instead of definite here are two examples first in the book he says quote whether the overdub drummer was Pete best or Ringo Starr is also open to question I didn’t know the individual musicians on the recordings at the time before this book pretty never before acknowledged he could have I speak best the beetles original drummer versus Ringo best name never came up so second on the book he says that he didn’t remember which tracks he had overdubbed a clear change from the days when he teased that he knew the 21 song titles ultimately in the book he belittles the entire Beatles discussion asking rhetorically is it a tempest in a teapot I get his perspective he’s got a great catalog of music but he’s also got this one issue that just won’t go away but he brings it on himself to pretty paints curious Beatles fans as either crazies who send him death threats I’ve had my life we’re nerds who take an academic approach when studying his claim and at this point in my life hopefully this video falls in the latter group but frankly it’s accomplishing something that Bernard Purdie could have done long ago setting the record straight so we now know pretty sod including which parts of his story changed and which didn’t over the course of nearly fifty years so the big question first did Purdy actually play on Beatles recordings it’s complicated but in a way it’s pretty likely that he did just not the Beatles as the world would come to know them John Paul George and Ringo Purdy was a studio drummer who did overdubbing work on other musicians tapes and as I’ll explain in a moment the case was made that some of the Beatles very first recordings needed help other major questions did perdy replace whirring go strumming no were there 21 Beatle songs that he worked on very doubtful was one of them she loves you or any other Beatles hit definitely not we don’t even need to go there did Brian Epstein have anything to do with perdy some cross-checking of dates has been done by others that indicates Brian would not have been in New York for these sessions and by the way Epstein died a few months before Purdy’s first public claim in 1967 so he was unable to ever clarify or set the record straight here’s the ultimate answer if Bernard Purdie worked on any Beatle songs they were recordings that were made when the Beatles drummer was original drummer Pete best not Ringo Starr some backstory tells us what happened on June 22nd 1961 the Beatles with Pete best on drums backed Tony Sheridan near Hamburg Germany a recording session for Polydor records according to Luis ins tune in these were the seven songs cut that day this wasn’t a session primarily for the Beatles so when the recordings were released the Beatles received second billing on the label Tony Sheridan and the beat brothers now while they were called The Beat brothers instead of the Beatles as perhaps a matter for another time feel free to discuss in the comments anyway the Beatles would eventually received top billing on those songs and others recorded around the same time as their fame grew over the years the songs will cheered in’ were repackaged and re-released numerous times with new titles like the Beatles with Tony Sheridan and guests and the Beatles first and when the group’s popularity turned into a frenzy in America a subsidiary of Atlantic Records at Co saw an opportunity although they were not the Beatles US label at Co obtained the rights to some of these recordings from polidore after listening to the released recordings from Hamburg ATCO decided to sweeten the sounds namely drums why probably because at that June 1961 session Pete best playing was not on par with the other musicians confirmed by the session engineer and Polidori producer Burt camford apparently tempos were a problem and helped solve this Pete best was limited to snare hi-hat and a ride cymbal so ADCO versions of these songs sound different when their releases aside from other slightly different sounds the drums are fuller the sound was sweetened on a number of these songs likely for what does this sound like let’s listen to one of the recordings with extremely noticeable differences take out some insurance on me baby first here’s the version with only Pete best on drums [Music] now here’s the version that includes extra drumming on top of bests someone added drums at a later date and until further documentation or proof surfaces this is as close as we’ll get to an answer backing up Purdy’s broad claim is the fact that he had a relationship with Atlantic Records via his work with King Curtis and later Aretha Franklin among others in other words in Purdy’s belief and what the history seems to point to is that this is a Beatles track featuring Bernard Purdy’s drumming now looking at the big picture instead of solely Purdy’s claims it’s possible that in a fault of memory working on a few tracks from a big British band he hadn’t heard of turned into working on 21 tunes I don’t think party’s a bad guy he’s been a straight shooter on so many topics and he gives me the impression that he’s got a big heart a true love for music and a great sense of humor so I think there’s a logical explanation to what went down first let’s acknowledge something big but not widely discussed the virtual train wreck of Beatles drummer facts that await someone who hears hricko’s parts were replaced for example within the Beatles there was not only Ringo in drums but Paul sometimes drummed on studio tracks and of course Pete best preceded Ringo then there was the love me news situation where George Martin put Ringo on tambourine and used studio drummer Andy white at the kit and then Jimmy nickel later on filled in for Ringo and well I don’t think John actually counts that’s five drummers already mix in a trusted studio players like Purdy saying that he played on some masters and all this gets really tangled you can imagine how some of this trivia could have blended and evolved into myths and gossip in a pre-google era at this point it’s worth mentioning that across the decades no one from the Beatles camp has ever acknowledged Purdy’s playing on Beatles tracks now back to getting at the bottom of all this aside from the band there’s apparent choice to never clarify his involvement I don’t think it’s malicious it looks like he got caught in a little lie of omission that over time became a big deal after all we’re talking about huge claims against one of the world’s most famous drummers and at some point may be facing the truth would have been a bigger embarrassment than a few hardcore Beatles fans knowing the real details lastly it was in his favour to keep up the ruse this is any press is good press thinking and it’s something that has kept Purdy’s name coming up as much as the pretty shovel only Bernard Purdie himself knows the full truth and we may never hear it for now the final word from the 76 year old comes from a 2014 interview with Modern Drummer magazine he all but closed the door on the beatles topic saying the issue with that situation was addressed long ago to my satisfaction I’m at peace with everything we may never hear the names of those 21 Beatles songs he said he worked on but there’s no shortage of material that he definitely made his own fortunately for per diem for music lovers there are plenty of classic tracks that indisputably feature his talent [Music] hello hello I hope you enjoyed this video if you did please give it a thumbs up when you do this it helps fans discover this channel and more videos that they will love and if you want to see more from this channel that poor archivist as they are released please subscribe a few final notes while the credits roll one if you like the style of video check out one of my heroes here on YouTube the nerd rider he created a standout video essay on the Steely Dan Trek Deacon blues featuring you guessed it Bernard Purdie there’s only in the description – to add some fuel to the speculation fire there’s also evidence that some of these early Beatles recordings received guitar overdubs by Cornell Dupree and interestingly enough this is alluded to in that 1978 gig article on Purdy 3 there’s a documentary supposedly in the works on the drummer titled a pretty good life the documentary it was successfully funded with over $16,000 on IndieGoGo in 2015 maybe that’s where we’ll hear pretty mention the song titles alright that’s it for this one thanks again for watching see y’all next time

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