According to several sources, including the Facebook page of the New York Metro Pipe Band, Andy White — who played drums for The Beatles on their first single, “Love Me Do,” in 1962 — died on Monday, at the age of 85. A native of Glasgow, White had lived for many years in Caldwell.
White also played on The Beatles’ “P.S. I Love You” and the Tom Jones hit “It’s Not Unusual,” and worked with a broad range of other artists, including Chuck Berry, Rod Stewart, Herman’s Hermits, Marlene Dietrich, Burt Bacharach and the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra. In 2008, he made a guest appearance on the Smithereens album, B-Sides the Beatles, and he worked as a consultant on the 2012 movie “Not Fade Away,” which is about a fictional ’60s rock band.
White was asked to play on “Love Me Do” because producer George Martin wasn’t sure that Ringo Starr, who had been with the band for less than a month at that point, could handle it. White was a well established studio drummer at the time, and he was called in for the second “Love Me Do” session, after the first one didn’t go well. (Starr played tambourine.)
“It was a really enjoyable experience,” White told the British newspaper The Daily Record in 2012, “and what impressed me was they were doing some really good stuff, but it was all their own stuff and was really new.
“Everything else at the time was a copy of music from the States, which was very successful, but they were doing something new and you could tell it was something different and very special. But I didn’t know just how special it would become.”
Starr summed up the episode this way in the 2000 book, “The Beatles Anthology: “George didn’t want to take any more chances and I was caught in the middle. I was devastated that George Martin had his doubts about me. I came down ready to roll and heard, ‘We’ve got a professional drummer.’ He has apologised several times since, has old George, but it was devastating — I hated the bugger for years; I still don’t let him off the hook!”
A version with Starr on drums did come out as a single in the U.K., but the White version was used on the Beatles U.K. debut album, Please Please Me, and as the U.S. single.
According to a 2012 Star-Ledger article, White moved to Caldwell after meeting his wife Thea, who was a New Jersey resident, in 1983. He played in Scottish pipes and drums bands and also worked as a drumming instructor.
Here is a video of White playing “Love Me Do” with The Smithereens in 2011:
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