Chas Newby, the musician known for his stint with The Beatles during the band’s early days, has passed away. The bassist died earlier this week at the age of 81. The cause of his death has not been announced yet.
Newby was fondly called the ‘fifth Beatle’, and played with the iconic band on several gigs in 1960, while Stuart Sutcliffe was pursuing a career in art. Read on to know more about the musician’s life and career.
Former The Beatles’ Bassist Chas Newby Dies at 81
The news of Newby’s death was announced by Cavern Club Liverpool, the venue where The Beatles had a number of shows before finding global success. “It’s with great sadness to hear about the passing of Chas Newby,” Cavern Club Liverpool wrote in a statement on Facebook.
“Chas stepped in for The Beatles for a few dates when Stuart Sutcliffe stayed in Hamburg and latterly he played for The Quarrymen. 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,” the statement added.
Newby Performed with The Beatles in their Early Days
The bassist started his career with John Lennon’s former band, The Quarrymen. In December 1960, The Beatles were in need of a temporary bass player, and Newby stepped in. He performed four shows with Lennon, George Harrison, and Pete Best.
Lennon was also reportedly interested in keeping Newby with the band for their subsequent tour, however, the bassist declined and chose to pursue a university degree. He then went on to become a teacher and taught mathematics at Droitwich Spa High School in Droitwich Spa.
Newby rejoined The Quarrymen in 2016 and continued with the band till his death. In an interview in 2012, he talked about his decision to let go of his stint with The Beatles and revealed that he had no regrets. “Music was never going to be a living for me. I wanted to do chemistry,” he said at the time.
Tributes Pour In for the Musician
A number of celebrities took to social media to mourn Newby’s demise. Roag Best, brother of former Beatles drummer Pete Best wrote, “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.”
“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,” he added.
Historian Mark Lewisohn tweeted, “RIP Chas Newby, fill-in Beatle and fair chap. 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.”
St Peter’s Church in Woolton also penned, “We were so sad to hear the news that Chas Newby has passed away. Everything at St Peter’s sends our love, thoughts and prayers to Chas’s family and friends. Thanks, Chas for the music, for your kindness and generosity, and for all the joy and happiness you brought to so many people. May you rest in peace.”
Our condolences to Chas Newby’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace!