Early Beatles Drummer Andy White Dead

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andy whiteAndy White, the studio session musician responsible for playing drums on early Beatles tracks like “Love Me Do” died of a stroke on Monday in his adopted home of New Jersey. He was 85. Though his time playing for the Fab Four was brief, the Scottish drummer quickly made a name for himself playing with prominent swing, jazz and traditional rock outfits from the late ’50s to the mid-’70s, including the likes of Chuck Berry, Rod Stewart, Billy Fury, Herman’s Hermits and Tom Jones.

The son of a baker, White first started playing drums when he was 12, and he became a professional session musician at just 17. He received a call in 1962 to attend a three-hour Beatles recording session at the EMI Studios at Abbey Road in London, an act he had heard about, but was not very familiar with personally. The Beatles had already recorded “Love Me Do” twice, once with Pete Best on drums and again a few months later with Ringo Starr replacing him. Unhappy with both versions, producer George Martin insisted on recording the tune again, with White replacing Starr on drums. (Starr was relegated to playing tambourine.)

The version of “Love Me Do” featuring Starr’s drums was used on early British pressings of the single in 1962, and the version with White playing drums was used on the first American pressings in 1964 and all later releases of the single, including the Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me. White never played for the Beatles again, but he did later participate in the recording of several Beatles tribute albums. He continued to live a life filled with music, spending many years teaching and professionally judging Scottish pipe band drumming.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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