It was 53 years ago today on August 18, 1962 that Ringo Starr made his Beatles debut at a concert in Birkenhead, a mere two days after drummer Pete Best was fired.
Starr, who was no stranger to the Beatles, was asked to join the group after years of filling in for Best when he was unable to play. At the time, Starr had been playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes when George Harrison lobbied for him to become a Beatle.
“To me it was apparent,” he said in Anthology. “Pete kept being sick and not showing up for gigs so we would get Ringo to sit in with the band instead, and every time Ringo sat in, it seemed like ‘this is it.’ Eventually we realized, ‘We should get Ringo in the band full time.”
The switch did not come without criticism from fans of Best. After the bands first show with Starr, backlash from fans of Best led to protests and even left Harrison with a black eye. But by time they played their regular gig at the Cavern on August 22, the controversy had died down and Starr was solidified as the fourth Beatle.