Paul McCartney’s Brother Could Have Split the Beatles
Paul McCartney’s younger brother Mike said it was “fortuitous” that he didn’t become the Beatles’ drummer, noting that it could have led to the kind of sibling relationship that later destroyed fellow northern English band Oasis.
“I’d been practicing on drums that had fallen off the back of a lorry into our house on Forthlin Road, Liverpool,” he told The Guardian in a new interview. “But when I was 13, I broke my arm at Scout camp, so Pete Best got the job in our kid’s group. That’s when I started taking photos on the family box camera. It was fortuitous, though, because if I had become the Beatles’ drummer, we’d probably have gone the Oasis route.”
While Best retained the drummer position for only two years, he was involved during the period in which the group began to find its feet and before it went on to global fame with Ringo Starr behind the kit. By that time, Mike McCartney had developed an interest in photography, allowing him to document the Beatles’ backstage life as part of their entourage, while also enjoying several hit singles with his own band, the Scaffold.
He remembered that the band members were “totally relaxed in each other’s company and bounced off each other. “All this business about the Beatles’ arguments – we all have arguments, for Christ’s sake," he said. "I would go everywhere with the Beatles. I was part of the act. It’s like if Rembrandt’s kid brother was in the corner with a pad and paper, sketching his older brother. I was lucky – you couldn’t have had a better group to practice on, could you?”
Mike reflected that he didn't think he was shooting “the most important band in history,” because to him the Beatles were simply “four working-class Liverpool lads.” “The idea of global fame, being billionaires … anything like that, it wasn’t just remote, it felt impossible," he explained. "That period in Liverpool could be hard. … Our mum had died, so her wages as a midwife health visitor had gone. Dad was just on his own, bringing up two lads on £10 a week.”