May 24, 2023 | 7:12
Early Beatles bassist Chas Newby has died aged 81.
The musician played a key role in the iconic band’s early successes in the 1960s, while the band’s original bassist, Stuart Sutcliffe, continued his artistic career.
A cause of death has yet to be announced.
Newby was a member of John Lennon’s first band, The Quarrymen, and news of his death was announced by the Cavern Club Liverpool – a concert venue where The Beatles performed before becoming world stardom.
“It is with great sadness that I learn of Chas Newby’s passing,” the site wrote in a Facebook post. “Chas filled in for the Beatles for a few dates when Stuart Sutcliffe stayed in Hamburg and lately he’s played for The Quarrymen.”
Interestingly, he was also the Beatles’ first left-handed bassist. RIP Chas Newby thoughts and best wishes from everyone at the Cavern Club,” the post concluded.
Tributes have poured in since the news broke, with Roag Best, the brother of former Beatles drummer Pete Best, taking to Facebook to pay their respects.
“Pete and I and the entire Best family are absolutely devastated to hear the very sad news of one of the family’s closest friends, Chas Newby, passing away last night,” he wrote.
“Many of you know him for playing bass guitar for the Beatles and the Quarrymen, but to us he was laid back Chas with a big smile. We will truly miss him. Forever in our thoughts. God bless you. bless Chas x.
Mark Lewishon, a Beatles historian, described Newby as a “charming man”.
“RIP Chas Newby, Beatle replacement and handsome guy”, he tweeted. “He replaced Stuart on a few dates when the Beatles first returned from Hamburg in late 1960, including the memorable Litherland date.”
“Lately he’s also been one of the Quarry Men. A lovely man, always a pleasure to meet,” he added.
After replacing Sutcliffe in the early 1960s, bandleader Lennon reportedly wanted Newby to continue touring Germany.
But Newby declined the offer and instead pursued a college education.
Speaking to the Sunday Mercury in 2012, Newby said he has never regretted his decision.
“Music was never going to be a life for me. I wanted to do chemistry,” he said at the time. “John, Paul (McCartney) and George (Harrison), they just wanted to be musicians.”
“Sometimes people don’t believe me when I say I have no regrets. But I really didn’t.