Former Beatles Bassist Dies at Age 81 - Tributes Pour In
A man who was once briefly a member of a fledgling rock ’n’ roll group called the Beatles has died.
Chas Newby filled in as a bass player for the group for a few shows in 1960, before the band rocketed to unprecedented stardom, The Guardian reported.
At the time, the Beatles consisted of five members: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Pete Best on drums and Stuart Sutcliffe on bass.
RIP Chas Newby, fill-in Beatle and fair chap. He deputised for Stuart on a few dates when the Beatles returned from Hamburg the first time, end-1960, including the momentous Litherland date. Latterly he’s been one of the Quarry Men too. A charming man, always a pleasure to meet. pic.twitter.com/f3EqtlIL3I
— Mark Lewisohn (@marklewisohn) May 23, 2023
The group had just returned from a tour in Hamburg, Germany, where their popularity was growing. But Sutcliffe had decided to stay behind in Germany to pursue a career in art, according to TMZ.
Newby, who had previously played with Lennon and McCartney in their earlier band, the Quarrymen, agreed to fill in and played a few gigs.
Then he left the group to go to college, where he studied chemistry.
“For Beatles aficionados who are wondering why they needed a bass player when Paul played bass, at the time Paul played rhythm guitar and piano,” TMZ explained. “After some cajoling when Chas left, he grudgingly played it, and played it brilliantly.”
That left the Beatles as a four-man band, with Ringo Starr replacing Pete Best as drummer.
Not long after, the group landed a recording contract and shot to fame. Newby became a high school math teacher.
Despite missing out on the band’s success, Newby insisted he was happy with his decision to step away.
“Music was never going to be a living for me,” Newby said in 2012, according to the Guardian. “I wanted to do chemistry. John, Paul and George — they just wanted to be musicians.”
“People sometimes don’t believe me when I say I’ve no regrets,” he said. “But I really haven’t. I have enjoyed my life immensely.”
Sad to hear of the passing of Chas Newby, a Beatle for two weeks in 1960.
‘People sometimes don’t believe me when I say I’ve no regrets, but I really haven’t. I have enjoyed my life immensely. pic.twitter.com/oszVxK2cEg
— Beatles Books Podcast (@BooksBeatles) May 23, 2023
Newby was 81 when he died. No cause of death was given, according to the Guardian.
The Cavern Club, the venue where the Beatles began their career, noted Newby’s death in a Tuesday Facebook post.
A former student commented on the post, describing Newby as a “much loved and appreciated maths teacher. … He helped me greatly in improving my maths and I have never forgotten that.
“Always exciting to have a maths teacher who could say he played with the Beatles! One of the first school legends you were told.”
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