Charles “Chas” Newby, a bassist for The Beatles in their early days, has died at the age of 81.
The news was first announced via The Cavern Club Liverpool – where The Beatles rose to prominence – on Tuesday, followed by Roag Best, the brother of former Beatles drummer Pete Best.
A cause of death has yet to be announced.
The Cavern Club Liverpool wrote on Facebook: “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.”
Roag Best wrote: “Both Pete and I and the whole Best family absolutely devasted 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”
Newby performed bass with The Beatles for a short span of live shows in late 1960, when then-bassist Stuart Sutcliffe was unable to perform with the band. Sutcliffe later resumed operations with The Beatles until his exit in July the following year. Newby was also the band’s first left-handed bassist, followed by guitarist-turned-bassist Paul McCartney.
Newby also played in The Quarrymen between 2016 and 2022.
Following his spell of shows with The Beatles, Newby returned to college to finish out his education, telling the Sunday Mercury in 2012: “Music was never going to be a living for me. All of us at that time were thinking what we were going to do with our lives, some doing teaching, or science, or whatever. 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.”
Since the news of his passing, Newby has received a handful of tributes including Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, who wrote: “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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/f3EqtlIL3I
— Mark Lewisohn (@marklewisohn) May 23, 2023
This is a developing story.