The drummer, Andy White, most famous as the man who George Martin brought in to play drums on The Beatles’ ‘Love Me Do’, has passed away in New Jersey. The 85 year old suffered a stroke on Monday.
It was in September 1962 that The Beatles, with their new drummer Ringo Starr, who had replaced Pete Best two weeks earlier arrived at Abbey Road to record their first single. A week later, The Beatles were back in Abbey Road to re-record ‘Love Me Do’, this time George Martin had brought in Andy White, a session drummer: Ringo played tambourine; just under a month later The Beatles’ first single was released. The UK release of ‘Love Me Do’ was the version featuring Ringo on drums, but ironically, the recording with Andy White on drums is the version that topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964 after the Beatles had broken through in America.
White, who was born in Glasgow in 1930, and despite the success of the record White received a simple session fee, totally standard practice then and for most session musicians over the last 60 plus years of rock music. It was not the only hit that Andy White played on. For Decca records he played on Lulu’s 1964 cover of ‘Shout’ and Tom Jones’ 1965 single ‘It’s Not Unusual’.
He toured with Marlene Dietrich and her musical director, Burt Bacharach, and played on other records for Herman’s Hermits, Rod Stewart, Anthony Newley, Bert Weedon and the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra in Glasgow. According to White, “I would get a call from EMI and you never knew what you were going to be asked to do. “
White emigrated to the US, marrying the Canadian actress Thea Ruth and became a drum teacher. The New York Metro Pipe Band, one of the bands he worked with, described him on Facebook as an “all round gentleman”. He taught drums to musician turned actor Steven van Zandt for his role as Silvio Dante in TV hit The Sopranos.