Former Beatles bassist Chas Newby dies at 81

Newby played bass with the Beatles for several shows in 1960, taking the place of then-bassist Stuart Sutcliffe.

Chas Newby

Image: Beatlesource

Chas Newby, a bass player for the Beatles during their early days, has died at the age of 81. A cause of death has not been revealed.

The news was confirmed by Roag Best, a brother of the former Beatles drummer Pete Best 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,” he said.

“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 rose to fame, also wrote: “It’s with great sadness to hear about the passing of Chas Newby. 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.”

Born in Liverpool in 1941, Newby performed bass with the Beatles for several shows in late 1960, taking the place of then-bassist Stuart Sutcliffe who was unavailable. He later returned to university to continue his studies, declining Lennon’s invitation to continue touring with the band in West Germany.

“Music was never going to be a living for me,“ the musician told Sunday Mercury in 2012. “I wanted to do chemistry. John, Paul and George, they just wanted to be musicians. But I did the four gigs and went back to my college course the week afterwards.”

Newby had also been performing as a member of the reformed Quarrymen since 2016.

Tributes have poured in from around the world following the news of Newsby’s passing.

Beatles 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.”

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