Andy White, the 85-year-old drummer, died on Monday following a stroke in New Jersey.
He was chosen ahead of Ringo Starr in September 1962 to play drums on the single version of Love Me Do and its B-side, P.S. I Love You. White, born in 1930 had played on the album version of Please Please Me.
He had also played drums on Lulu’s Shout (1964) and Sir Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual (1965). So, he could be legitimately claimed to be one of the so-called “Fifth Beatles”, alongside the likes of Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe and others. White was paid a one-off fee – £5 – for his three hours with the Beatles and received no subsequent royalties.
He went on to tour with Marlene Dietrich, Burt Bacharach and Rod Stewart and performed with the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra.
White emigrated to the US, where he met his wife Thea Ruth and became a drumming instructor. The New York Metro Pipe Band, one of the bands with whom he worked, described him on Facebook as an “all round gentleman”.
He also taught drums to musician turned actor Steven van Zandt for his role as Silvio Dante in TV hit The Sopranos. White’s family paid rich tribute to his “amazing humility and humbleness about his many achievements”.