Former Beatles bassist Chas Newby dies aged 81

Virgin Radio

24 May 2023, 06:55

Credit: Twitter (Mark Ashworth @hinge71) / (Mark Lewisohn @marklewisohn)

Tributes are pouring in for former Beatles bassist Chas Newby, who has died aged 81. 

The musician was part of the iconic group for a short amount of time in 1960, taking over from original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, who took a break while pursuing his art career. 

The sad news was confirmed by The Cavern Club in Liverpool, where the Beatles played at the start of their career. A spokesperson 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, the brother of former Beatles drummer Pete Best led tributes on social media, writing: “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.”

Music historian Mark Lewisohn also shared his own tribute on Twitter, writing: “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.

Liverpool-based Beatles expert Mark Ashworth also uploaded photos of the bassist, and added: “Absolutely gutted to learn from Roag Best that Chas Newby, the Beatles' first left handed bass player, and friend of the Best family for nearly 70 years has passed away.  A lovely man, always generous with his time. God bless you, Chas.”

Chas, who was also a part of John Lennon’s group The Quarrymen, played with The Beatles for live shows in the 1960s, and was reportedly the favourite to carry on with the band, but decided to return to university instead, according to MailOnline.

Speaking to Sunday Mercury in 2012, Chas explained: “Music was never going to be a living for me. I wanted to do chemistry. John, Paul [McCartney] and George [Harrison], they just wanted to be musicians.”

The thoughts of everyone at Virgin Radio go out to Chas’ friends and family.