The British musician, who performed with the Beatles for several gigs in 1960, went on to become a high school mathematics teacher
Chas Newby, the British musician who played bass guitar for the Beatles during their early days, has died at the age of 81. A cause of death has not been revealed.
Tributes to the Beatles’ first left-handed bassist, who also played with John Lennon in his first band, The Quarrymen, began spreading on social media on Tuesday morning.
A brother of the former Beatles drummer Pete Best confirmed the news on Tuesday on Facebook. “Both Pete and I and the whole Best family absolutely devastated to hear the very sad news with regards to one of the families closest friends Chas Newby passing last night,” said Roag Best. “Many of you will know him for playing bass guitar for both The Beatles and The Quarrymen, but to us he was laid back Chas with the big smile. We’ll truly miss him. Forever in our thoughts. God bless you Chas.”
The Cavern Club Liverpool, where the Beatles began their career, wrote on Facebook: “It’s with great sadness to hear about the passing of Chas Newby.”
“Interestingly, he was also the first left-handed bass guitarist in The Beatles. RIP Chas Newby thoughts and well wishes from everybody at The Cavern Club.”
“RIP Chas Newby, fill-in Beatle and fair chap,” wrote the Beatles historian Mark Lewishon on Twitter. “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.”
Born in Liverpool in 1941, Newby was famous for his brief stint with the Beatles in 1960, playing on stage with Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison for a few gigs. While Lennon reportedly wanted Newby to continue on tour with the band in West Germany, the bassist declined and instead returned to university.
“Music was never going to be a living for me,” Newby said to the Sunday Mercury in 2012. “I wanted to do chemistry. John, Paul and George, they just wanted to be musicians.”
He went on to teach high school mathematics and lived in Alcester, where he played in a charity band called the Racketts. In 2016, he began performing again with the reformed Quarrymen.
“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.”