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BEST OF THE BEATLES
LIGHTYEAR

You wouldnít think the world needed a two-hour documentary (plus extras) on Pete Best, the drummer whose claim to fame was getting kicked out of the Beatles. But this turns out to be a fun and thorough look at Bestís two-year tenure ó the Cavern Club and Hamburg years ó and it includes a few nuggets that might be new even to Beatles obsessives. Keeping his legendary sour grapes in check, Best tells some juicy stories about the bandís seamier days, including a priceless one about a drunken attempt to mug a sailor in Hamburg with Lennon. (They got shot at and dropped the wallet they stole.) Thereís almost no music, not even the one Cavern Club clip thatís on a million bootleg videos, but there are new interviews with rarely seen figures like Cynthia Lennon, Tony Sheridan (the singer whom the Beatles briefly backed up), Decca A&R guy Mike Smith (who can finally laugh about turning the Beatles down), and Andy White, the ghost drummer on the "Love Me Do" single. Best of all, the reclusive and still-striking photographer Astrid Kirchherr is seen reminiscing with Best at the Kaiserkeller. One can sense both her artistic influence on the band and the sense of betrayal she felt when the Beatles started wearing suits and ties. Best himself comes off as a likable, rather straitlaced chap who just wasnít born for the rock-and-roll life. But for all thatís said about the quality of his drumming, the DVD winds up selling him short. We never really get to see him play; and his post-Beatles, proto-garage combo (who were admired by Little Steven Van Zandt and covered twice by the Lyres) gets barely a mention.

BY BRETT MILANO


Issue Date: September 16 - 22, 2005
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