Arts feature

Ringo's no joke. He was a genius and the Beatles were lucky to have him

On the eve of his 75th birthday, it's time to celebrate the musical contribution Ringo Starr made to the Fab Four

4 July 2015

9:00 AM

4 July 2015

9:00 AM

‘He was the most influential Beatle,’ Yoko Ono recently claimed. When Paul and John first spotted him out in Hamburg, in his suit and beard, sitting ‘drinking bourbon and seven’, they were amazed. ‘This was, like, a grown-up musician,’ thought Paul. One night Ringo sat in for their drummer Pete Best. ‘I remember the moment,’ said Paul, ‘standing there and looking at John and then looking at George, and the look on our faces was like …what is this? And that was the moment, that was the beginning, really, of the Beatles.’

I think Ringo Starr was a genius. The world seems to be coming around to the idea. Two months ago, he was finally accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — the last Beatle to be inducted. About time too. On 7 July he turns 75.

Some might now plead, enough. Ringo should surely just be celebrated for being Ringo: daffy, doleful, odd. Ousting for good in mid-1962 the gloweringly sexy, Mersey-fan-adored Best, Ringo chanced upon the biggest ride in showbiz history and so became the luckiest Scouser of all time. He wasn’t spectacular; he set the Beatles’ backbeat and kept time, making up for a lack of upfront technique with his characteristic ‘fills’ — flicks and flashes across the drums between lyrics and musical phrases.

Ringo was also short, with a big nose, traditionally the least appealing Beatle. When the band played live, he shook his mop and thrashed around behind the bass drum. On TV in December 1963 the comedian Eric Morecambe called him Bongo. The idea of a slightly absurd creature with a silly name, bucking the sleeker charisma of his colleagues, somehow stuck.

A specific stab at Starr was once attributed to John Lennon himself. Apparently asked if he thought Ringo was the best drummer around, Lennon is said to have replied that he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. Were the attribution correct, Lennon might slyly have been alluding to McCartney — Paul drummed on some late Beatles. But Lennon didn’t say it. Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn has apparently traced them to the Brummie comic Jasper Carrott, who seems to have made the quip in 1983, three years after Lennon’s murder.

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The joke nonetheless played and plays into a repeated, grave misunderstanding of Starr’s role. True, he wrote only two and a bit Beatles songs (‘Don’t Pass Me By’ and ‘Octopus’s Garden’, with a credit on Rubber Soul for ‘What Goes On’, as well as one for a 1967 instrumental called ‘Flying’). He took lead vocal, with his idiosyncratic nasal glumness, on these and on eight other songs in the tally of 13 UK Beatles LPs. Yet proper focus on his musicianship reveals his indispensability to the other three. His rhythms were tight and infectious, shaping and shaped by guitars and voices: never obtrusive, always consistent. His thuds and whacks behind that bass drum helped create magnificence on nearly every track the Beatles recorded.

It began early. Many might suppose that ‘She Loves You’ (from mid-1963) opens with just those words, sung in chorus. In fact, it kicks off on a fantastically propulsive Starr tom-tom. Through a revolutionary two minutes 20 seconds he frequently plays off the beat. With thrilling use of hi-hat cymbal he opens dynamics and heightens decibels in a manner hitherto not heard on a Beatles record. Such percussive glee was a band war cry as, from 1964 into 1965, the Beatles shook the world.

In his renowned study of the group, Revolution in the Head (1994), Ian MacDonald said of ‘She Loves You’ something absolutely germane to Starr’s real importance: ‘Beyond the basic words and music lay the vital work of arranging, at which juncture the Beatles became not a duo but a quartet.’

It’s one of the astutest points ever made about them. The Lennon–McCartney songwriting machine was well oiled by the supple, moody musicality of George Harrison. But so it was by an unerring Starr. In the past two decades, nerdy concentration on precisely who wrote what, and which Beatle was most important, has often occluded a more basic truth: the Beatles were great only because of the greatness of four men composing and playing together. Without Starr in the mix, they would have sounded quite different, and probably not as wonderful.

Ringo got subtler the further the band left touring behind and the more experimental, from mid-1966, they became in the studio. Without him, there’d be no Beatles track like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, which ends the album Revolver. With its tape-loop screeches and Lennon’s eerie vocal, the whole is held together by Starr’s astonishing, off-the-beat control on slackened tom-toms. His drumming makes this piece of music shamanic and, still, utterly fresh.

Instances of Ringo’s ingenuity abound: the fills in the first minute and a half of ‘A Day in the Life’ on Sgt. Pepper; the relentless ferocity and, again, control on the White Album’s hard-rock ‘Helter Skelter’; the svelte jazz tempos of, and cymbal use in, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ on Abbey Road; and at the end — on side two as it once was — of the same album’s valedictory medley is the only drum solo Starr performed. (He didn’t approve of drum solos.)

Lack of close listening has disallowed Ringo from being considered as complete a musician as John, Paul and George. When the Beatles took him on (manager Brian Epstein had to sack Best), Ringo was in fact a highly experienced performer, and had long been better known in Liverpool than the others put together. Thirteen years after MacDonald, another reliable Beatles chronicler, Jonathan Gould, wrote: ‘There is little question that the invitation to join the Beatles was the single luckiest thing that ever happened to Ringo Starr. But Ringo’s acceptance of that invitation was also one of the luckiest things that ever happened to the Beatles.’

Correct. The Beatles needed a fresher, better and more Beatlesy drummer than Best. As he reaches his three-quarter century, this congenial northerner surely deserves universal respect, and many happy returns, for being an essential part of one of Britain’s most fabled contributions to the 20th century.

James Woodall is the author of ‘The Story of The Beatles’ Last Song’.

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Show comments
  • seilerbird

    Ringos biggest contribution to the world was introducing the like hand grip on the sticks. It works much better than the military grip all kit drummers used to that point. Most drummers today use a like handed grip. He was revolutionary.

    • hangemall123

      Being a left handed drummer playing a right handed kit it would have been almost unthinkable for Ringo to play with a military (traditional) grip. I always wondered if Ringo’s great time keeping had anything to do with the fact that he was playing the back beats on the snare with his dominant hand. Before the use of click tracks you can set a metronome to Beatles songs and they stay right there. When George Martin realized how good Ringo’s time was he said he’d use him on any track. The Beatles live back in the day with no monitor speakers Ringo could barely hear the band but still played perfectly and in the pocket. Tight! He made the band swing.

      • DaveinMadison

        Very interesting! Readers’ comments just as interesting as the article!

        • hangemall123

          Ringo was most proud of his drumming on the song “Rain.”

          • Columba Kos

            To hangemall123: An interesting observation. If I am not mistaken, ‘Rain’ is inverted. That is, the song is played backward. I don’t know if the drums were then added again, in forward time to the reversed playback. Whatever the case, there is something odd and mysterious about the song. Very much a mysterious and compelling record.

          • view2share

            The ending is backward played.

          • Columba Kos

            The drum track is inverted.

          • hangemall123

            I haven’t re-listened to it yet. You thing the drumming is backwards too?: I”ll let you know what I think. It’s been a long time.

          • hangemall123

            I think Flat Ed is right. I think only the vocal track of John Lennon is backwards. I’m going to have to get out the record.

          • hangemall123

            I think only the ending is backwards.

          • Flat Ed

            No the track is a normal recording, the backing track is only slowed down with vocals recorded at normal speed, which gives it a surreal feel. Only Lennon’s voice is reversed at the end.

          • hangemall123

            Thanks for clarifying that.

          • mohdanga

            One of my favourites, played the ‘air drums’ many times to this in the basement!

          • coloradosprings

            Try reading previous comments before commenting?

        • Kermit Thefrog

          This is just a great find.

        • Doug Tarnopol

          I agree!

    • DaveinMadison

      What is like hand grip?

      • hangemall123

        It’s called “Matched Grip.” Military grip was invented solely for the purpose of playing a marching drum hooked to a sling over your shoulder and tilted as a result. By holding the left stick between the thumb and forefinger and resting it on the ring finger the drummer avoided the fatigue of keeping his left elbow up over the drum. Only his left hand was higher. Lots of drummers still prefer this grip.

        • DaveinMadison

          Thank you.

        • Doug Tarnopol

          I didn’t realize he invented/popularized (?) matched grip!

          • hangemall123

            I don’t believe he invented it. He did have a big influence on a bunch of young drummers at that time.

  • UncleTits

    Not forgetting his fantastic on-screen presence. The Beatles were, after all, as much about image as they were about music. None of the Beatles were first-rate musicians as such and I’ve never really understood it when Ringo, a highly charismatic and idiosyncratic performer, was almost disregarded because he wasn’t a songwriter. It was their musical personalities, along with the compatibility of George Martin, that combined to be greater than the sum of the parts. Technically they were rubbish compared to ‘proper’ musicians and thank God for that!

    • moderatevoter

      Paul not a first rate bassist? Rubbish? Listen to George play Till there was you at the Royal hall live, absolutely clean. Try to sing All my loving while playing the triplet rhythm guitar part John played. When you can do that then you can talk nonsense, but it will still be nonsense. Speaking for myself, a guitarist and a violinist for 50 years, who can play jazz, classical, and rock Hendrix solos, etc. in other words, technically demanding pieces of “proper” music, you have no clue at all as to how good all of the boys were. They made it seem simple but it wasn’t

      • UncleTits

        If you are a technically adept guitarist in any of those fields then it is likely that Beatles numbers, note for note, are not going to test you technically. I’m also a ‘musician’ of sorts, I’ve been playing acoustic, electric and bass (and more recently ukulele!) for 25 years, although my claims to personal excellence are somewhat more modest than your own (I will provide a link to my YouTube channel if you wish to view a sample). But that is precisely my point: it was the musical personalities, and not technical virtuosity, that combined to make that unique sound. As I said, I’m glad McCartney’s bass playing did not sound like Jaco Pastorius or George Harrson’s guitar like Allan Holdsworth! As great as those players are, their ilk would have been the wrong ingredients and the cake would have fallen!

        • moderatevoter

          You are comparing them to jazz musicians. If I compare Jaco to Yo Yo ma then I can claim that Jaco is not a “first rate musician. There are of course levels and levels of technical skill. Technically, the best musicians are classical violinists, pianists, and cellists. We can just call about 20 people in the world who play those instruments classically proper musicians and look down our noses at everyone else, especially if one has a classical music background. That does not work for me. A fair comparison is within the same genre. I have a hard time playing Harrison’s solos and fills like he did, so cleanly. I have a much, much easier time copying Kieth Richards.

          As well, first rate musician in the genres of a type of music that include improvisation, jazz, 60s rock, etc. has a great deal to do with imagination, originality and inventiveness. Harrison may not have been Jimi Hendrix, but how many of his solos do millions of people remember note for note, etched in our consciousness like Beethoven symphony? Again, well, the question is subjective of course, but for my money all of the Beatles were first-rate “proper” musicians adn I say that as someone who has heard all kinds of great musicians live, in every major genre and with knowledge of what I am hearing. The Beatles were great technical musicians within their genre.

          • UncleTits

            I’m not sure if you are agreeing with me or disagreeing with me. On one hand you make claims that the Beatles were technically top of their game and on the other you are saying that, even though there were better players, people remember what the Beatles played and not what those technically better guys did. I agree with that latter. Even Hendrix, a guy who kicked major hind, from the scathing entry to the solo of “Stone Free” to the Curtis Mayfield-inspired delicate ornamentation of “Little Wing”, is only really remembered properly by other guitarists. His attention-grabbing playing would have gotten in the way of the songs in the Beatles. The Beatles had basic technique and knowledge but they each had something far more valuable: compatible musical personalities. And no amount of practising scales will deliver that.

          • moderatevoter

            I agree with the positives in your assessment, but disagree that not playing a gadzillion notes per second al la John McLaughlin or Coltrane made them “rubbish” and “not proper musicians”. They were all highly skilled proper musicians. Its that simple. I wish my skills were nearly so good and I can play Vivaldi’s summer violin concerto and am taking a good swing now at the Mendelssohn violin concerto. I can only envy the technical musical skills of all the Beatles along with their unparalleled genius for creativity within their genre. I was head over heels in love with classical music when I was 4 and then fell in love with the Beatles when I was 6 when my mom bought their first VJ album. It never gets old. Great musicians are eternal. Wish I were one of them, but at least I can play in my 60s band and try to copy them.

          • UncleTits

            I said that they were technically rubbish in comparison to the type of guys you mentioned. Which is entirely true. The Beatles were about the songs and the right accompaniment. Let’s not create an altar to them. They were ordinary guys who gelled very well musically with the technique they had.

            I have an old YouTube video of me playing a McCartney-style acoustic piece if you wish to see an emulation of the acoustic picking technique that he used on “Blackbird”. It’s really easy to do, even easier than the standard Travis-picking used by John Lennon on “Julia” for example, and anyone can do it. Because music comes before technique and how many times I’ve seen musicians ruin the former, with too much of the latter, I cannot count!

            I will make one statement about George Harrison though. By the mid-80’s his slide technique had become quite an art in itself. Very beautiful understated playing on his “Cloud 9” album in particular. But that was a long time after the Beatles and so doesn’t count here!

          • moderatevoter

            I’ll agree with you about the slide playing, also on the Imagine album, Gimme some truth, for example.

            Other than that, we gonna just have to disagree. There is a lot of Chet Atkins in Georges early playing, that is technical stuff, so clean, so crisp. McCartney, who often gets on my nerves as a person, was just a phenomenal bassist, not some ordinary guy at all.

          • UncleTits

            McCartney. My favourite acoustic guitarist and bassist rolled into one, despite (and I realise you disagree) the existence of far more technically challenging musicians on both instruments. Incredibly musical and instantly recognisable. As it should be!

          • Driver 67

            I kind of agree with you both. They weren’t fantastically accomplished musicians (but, compared to what, at the time, other than the highly polished pop of Frank, or the commercially successful jazz of Brubeck?). But together they were out on their own. Paul, though, developed his bass-playing very quickly, and some of his melodic counterpoint bass from Rubber Soul onwards was much copied and very influential.

          • Brian Thomas

            I think a big part of the ‘freshness’ of the Beatles is the fact that they didn’t use – and quite possibly didn’t know anything about – the II – V – I progression that was pretty much ubiquitous in popular songwriting in the decades before them. All the Sinatra stuff, the Jazz Standards (aka the American Songbook) were hugely influenced by this. So it is true to say that they broke the rules because they didn’t know what the rules of songwriting were. Incidentally, George’s intro on ‘I Want To Tell You’: simple,mesmerizing…so many gems to find…

          • thepopeofpop

            No II – V – I progressions in The Beatles’ songs, Brian? I’m afraid you’re wrong about that. What they did do was use the II – V – I turnaround somewhat sparingly and often coming out of another key so that you don’t necessarily hear it that way (for example, the transition from the intro of “If I Fell” into the first verse (Em7 – A – D), or the transition into the middle eight of From Me To You – Gm – C – F (ii – V -I in the new key of F). Of course they knew the “rules” of songwriting, they played hundreds of songs on stage before they cut their first record and could hardly have ignored how those songs were written. They played a number of tin pan alley songs as well as rock’n’roll songs in those days.

          • Brian Thomas

            Finding, as you have, a couple of obscure examples doesn’t invalidate my more general point, although I agree it was wrong for me to make quite such a sweeping claim. Their main early influences of rock and roll/skiffle/blues certainly don’t follow II – V – I in an overt sense, and although the tin pan alley material will be following the rules, the II – V – I commonality may not be immediately obvious if not pointed out. So they may not have noticed. I maintain that, notwithstanding the occasional example that can be ferreted-out, most of their work is largely free of that format and thus sounds so fresh.

          • beninabox

            “I maintain that, notwithstanding the occasional example that can be
            ferreted-out, most of their work is largely free of that format” That’s not because they didn’t know about or understand it as a standard chord progression. Clearly, from my “Tell Me Why” example, they did.

          • Brian Thomas

            Frankly ‘Tell Me Why’ doesn’t even ring a bell for me as a Beatles’ song – it is that obscure, and makes my point that the progression hardly features. We are all enriched by them not having been taught that musicologically the progression is so fundamental. Some musicologist has published weighty tomes arguing that all music is II – V – I. There used to be an American jazz-rock band called Area Code 251. The simple, basic and almost ubiquitous modulation device of changing the dominant seventh into a minor seventh seems mercifully unknown to them. I suppose you’ll now produce something to disprove this, but it will merely be the exception that proves the rule!

          • beninabox

            You might want to listen to it on youtube. It was popular at the time; I know because I heard it a lot. Just because they didn’t beat the progression to death by making it a major go-to for their songs doesn’t mean they didn’t know about it. It’s obvious from the track that they knew exactly what they were doing. But one of the characteristics of the Beatles is that they were easily bored. Why use that progression when it’s been done to death? Nobody who grew up in that time didn’t know it- it was a majorly overused one in the 50s, so much so that the musical, Grease, poked fun at it (the stage musical, not the movie)

          • beninabox

            By the way, “Tell Me Why” doesn’t ‘sound’ obscure. It’s tight, it moves and it’s got a major hook. Really, you’d like it, and you’d understand why I say what I’m saying.

          • beninabox

            “Tell Me Why You Cried” is textbook “Rhythm” changes w/ classic walking bass by McCartney.

          • beninabox

            “and quite possibly didn’t know anything about – the II – V – I
            progression that was pretty much ubiquitous in popular songwriting”

            That’s unlikely, to say the least. One of their genius tunes is “Tell Me Why” which is exactly that progression (technically ‘Rhythm changes” I VI II V I with II V turnaround) though their stark harmonizing can distract attention from that. The verses and chorus sound are distinct from each other yet are exactly the same progression in the same key. (the bridge is different though)

          • Ivan Ewan

            They were lucky. Now we’re stuck with I – V – VI – IV on some kind of endless bubblegum loop.

          • Mike Waddell

            “Technically rubbish” is too harsh a term, IMO. That would imply someone stepping all over himself trying to execute a passage. Technique is gauged by one’s ability to communicate effectively in a particular style of music, nothing more. George, for example, could do technically what he needed to do to excite fans worldwide through successive generations. By contrast, a classical symphonic musician has cultivated a fluidity and elegance of technique as well as refined tonal qualities that are essential in THAT idiom. Yes, there are guitarists today who could execute Harrison’s guitar riffs more smoothly (and he never developed a searing vibrato like Hendrix or Clapton) but it wouldn’t improve, and possibly pale by comparison to the original.

          • def.funkt

            Alan Holdsworth, a jazz musician?

          • Kermit Thefrog

            Actually, I like both of these arguments. Though your’s gets my vote because it is both plausible and runs counter to conventional wisdom. I believe that Beatles, themselves, probably added to the commonly accepted belief that they weren’t great musicians. I am thinking of John’s public statements that touring prevented them from reaching their potential as a live act.

            I’ve read that they were appalled at their sound when playing at the Budokan in Tokyo. Relatively quiet audience that gave them a chance for the first time to actually hear what they were performing. Recordings I’ve heard are not nearly as bad as what I was led to believe. Keep in mind that the Budokan was built as a sports arena, and has notoriously poor acoustics. Just about anything played there sounds like crap.

      • cb55

        Very true!

    • Bill

      The Beatles were about image in the early years for sure, but when they quit touring it was definitely about the music. While none of them could read music (a good thing, since it freed them to do things that were not “correct”), I would disagree that none of them were “first-rate musicians”. In fact, because of their lack of formal training, they simply redefined the term. But I get what you’re saying, we’re on the same page… best band ever, probably never to be seen again. Sorry Monkees – lol.

      • blandings

        “The Beatles were about image in the early years for sure”
        I was a kid at the time. Of course there was image, lots of it, but it was their sound that mattered. It is difficult now to appreciate just how fresh and exciting their music was.
        It has been said many times that in 1963 the world went from grey to technicolour overnight – it did, and it was The Beatles that did it.

        • mohdanga

          Who can compare to them now? Like most generations I believe the music I grew up with is the best (and that encompasses quite a range) but honestly, I cannot be bothered with anything that is out there today. Maybe it is just age because music seemed to matter more before (when things like fulltime jobs and marriage got in the way)!

      • beninabox

        “While none of them could read music (a good thing, since it freed them to do things that were not “correct”),”

        Total rubbish. You might as well say that actors can only be free to not be correct if they can’t read English.

        • Caractacus

          At the time the music industry was incredibly snobbish about what was ‘correct’ in music or not.

        • thepopeofpop

          Yes, completely agree. A number of famous jazz musicians couldn’t read music either, never hurt them. Also, Irving Berlin couldn’t read music, needed a transcriber to write down what he played on piano. Plus Gershwin didn’t “write” Rhapsody in Blue in the classical sense- he just played it on piano and Paul Whiteman’s band created the orchestration that we all know and love based on what Gershwin played on piano! I wonder if the music snobs are aware of THAT?

  • Lurkio

    I do write as a Beatles fan (and a drummer) but this one of the best critiques of a musician’s style and contribution I’ve read in a long time. Fab article, would be the appropriate comment. I’ve always felt that Ringo’s contribution to the Beatles was grossly undervalued by many. He was the right man, with the right feel and style, at the right time for the right band.

    • DaveinMadison

      So true.

    • def.funkt

      I totally agree! No one, but no one, sounds like Ringo. His style is entirely his own and it remains unique.

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    • Andrew Schiff

      How in the wide world of sports is Ringo Starr a genius. Good drummer, great personality…A genius? At what? He wasn’t a songwriter or really that creative. What have we come to when we are calling people with marginal talent geniuses…

      • Miss Mello

        marginal talent? Are you kidding me?

        • Andrew Schiff

          Yes, marginal talent compared to the rest of the band. Compared to Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Art Blakey. I said he was a good drummer, great personality. But he was marginal. He’s been able to craft out a solo career, he eats healthy and seem like a really good person, but he limited a musician. If he was so hot as a drummer, why did Paul sit in for him on a bunch of occasions. The writer calling him a genius obviously doesn’t know what a genius is if he’s calling Ringo one.

          • Miss Mello

            Paul sat in for a very short period of time when Ringo quit the band due to him being sick of having to be in the middle of the fights. They begged him to come back while he took an angry holiday and after a couple of weeks he did. However recordings were already planned and especially in those times it was just not done to delay something like an album release date.

            In fact, Paul only drummed on three tracks: Back In The USSR, Dear Prudence and The Ballad Of John And Yoko: three songs which are very boring percussion wise. Paul was decent enough but he simply wasn’t a drummer.

            Ringo was also a perfect timekeeper, George Martin has compared him to a living metronome. Considering the fact that the Beatles recorded dozens upon dozens of versions which would be cut up and edited after, he had to be. These days they use an electronic metronome but there wasn’t such a thing in existence yet and many of the more experimental tracks couldn’t have been made if they hadn’t been able to count so incredibly much on Ringo.
            In fact. From the moment they started to the moment they quit, the recording only had to be stopped/done over twice because of Ringo. That’s quite a track record.

            Talking about experimenting: the Beatles have explored many genres throughout their run, from rock ‘n roll, to pop, to country, folk, r&b, psychadelic, ballads etc. Can you imagine what kind of drummer it took to adapt so well to so many different genres?

            Ringo always knew where a song was going, what it need from its percussion. When the band split up John asked him to drum on his first solo album saying: “If I get a thing going Ringo knows where to go, just like that..”

            You mention Moon, Baker and Blakey and I will without any hesitance admit that these are all magnificent drummers however they are all flamboyant, kind of aggressive drummers. Ringo knew the value of less is more: no beat was wasted. He had a very subtle and understated style.

            Ringo was the first, or at the very least one of the first, true rock ‘n roll drummer on television. He popularized the matched grips instead of the military style drumming all backing drummers on tv always sported, he forever changed the role of the drummer within the band by, for instance, elevating the stage, he revolutionized the sound of drums by experimenting with microphones on every single drum, tuning them lower, and eliminating the tonal ring with muffling materials, something which is common practice nowadays.

            The case being is people fiercely underestimate the role of Ringo in the Beatles: both socially and musically. Not only was he the buffer, the neutral friend and did the absorb a lot of the heath within the group, but also was he constantly experimenting with percussion. He was not a great song writer or singer, but he was without a doubt one hell of a drummer. Percussion is probably the hardest instrument set to differentiate yourself in and there are only a dozen or so drummers I can thing of where I can mostly tell that it’s them playing. However Ringo was so distinctively Ringo that I can recognize his playing immediately.

            Seriously, listen to other great drummers: most of them will cite Ringo as one of their influences. And even those who don’t.. The fact that their opinion is even asked is because Ringo shuffled open the path of the drummer as an equally respected member of a band unlike they always were before.

  • http://eyejustmadeitup.blogspot.com flailx

    “She Said, She Said” is my favorite song, in large part due to Ringo’s drumming.

    • DaveinMadison

      Spot on!

      • Jeffrey Mitchell

        Paul’s drumming does a great nod to Ringo’s “she Said She Said” when Paul drums in “Dear Prudence” the fills are so…”Ringoesque”

        • steve

          Not everyone knows about the quarreling during the White album and Ringo walking out for weeks. But I think when Paul took the sticks for Dear Prudence about 3 mins. into the song YOU KNOW it’s not Ringo. Paul excels.

          • Gilbert White

            Also probably took the sticks for back in the Eussr, dont know how lucky you are!

          • def.funkt

            It was Paul. He played drums on both Back in the USSR and Dear Prudence. However, I only recently found that out. I thought the drumming on “Prudence” sounded just like what Ringo would play, and here it was Paul this whole time…

          • EdRevealsAll

            Paul is a very good drummer, and it’s obvious his main influence was Ringo.

  • AndrewCell

    I love “Something” mainly because of Ringo’s fills. They are perfect every time

    • Scoats

      His drumming on Here Comes the Sun is perfect as well.

  • mortsnerd

    Ringo has been underestimated because of his supposed lack of flashiness or manic OTT power (Keith Moon), though in the latter case, maybe Ringo was wise to pace himself. People lacking in an overall musical training/culture/affinity may have missed his percussive mastery both in his subtley being able to place himself in the background in order to enhance the ensemble and in his modulation of timbre. In football terms you may see him as a playmaker.

    • view2share

      Mick Fleetwood and John Bonham — pretty darn good & flashy 🙂

    • Garry Firth

      Good point,some of these drummers seem to up themselves ,trying to gra the spotlight

  • BillyShakespeare

    His son is an amazing drummer.

    • def.funkt

      Zak is amazing on his own, and when playing with The Who!

      • BillyShakespeare

        Fist time I heard Zak he was backing Daltrey in 1994. I’m glad I didn’t know ahead of time who the drummer was as I would have probably pre judged thinking it was connections that got him the gig.
        He stood out as great even in the large group of musicians Daltrey had touring with him.

  • Foolishness

    absolutely true. Ringo was the binding force for the beatles music, the perfect supporting drummer, enhancing every song, laying exactly the right foundation.

  • artgenta

    i had the good fortune to interact with Ringo in 1975 in Beverly hills in a private mansion, we played pool together, and his manner was very friendly and unpretentious, i came-away feeling a lot of love for him, i think he is essentially self-effacing and easy to love!
    we’re lucky to have him…

    • foto2021

      No doubt he feels exactly the same way about you.

      What did you say your name was?

  • view2share

    The amazing thing is that all five came together. George Martin being the fifth Beatle. All the Beatles were great. I really like Paul’s NEW album. Amazing how Paul did so many works playing all the instruments. I do believe Paul passed the audition. John’s earlier works were great. On his own, Walls and Bridges is good, the rest — music is all subjective, so I leave it at that. Ringo albums are just fun. George hit the ground running with All Things Must Pass. That’s his best, I’d say. Band on the Run was well done, Sir Paul ! In 1982, we found Paul and George Martin together for Tug of War – pretty good stuff. The vocals on Wanderlust – amazing.

    The nineteen-sixties had so many great singers and writers, it seems when added up, would be a longer list than all decades since. IMHO. Fleetwood Mac, and Led Zeppelin, enter the scene in early 70’s. Ah, Stevie Nicks!

    • http://ajbrenchley.com Callipygian

      Led Zeppelin ‘enters the scene’ in the 1970s? Their best album arguably was their first (1969: a work for as long as free people are alive), with number 4 (1971) a contender for the title.

      • Say it ain’t so

        what you said is true but i think the op was trying to say that led zeppelin’s success was mostly attributed to the 1970s when they were in their prime. much like black sabbath (recorded their first album in 1969 but released it in 1970) or deep purple. no one’s gonna say led zeppelin ruled the 60s cos they didn’t. they were just a fresh new band, albeit climbing rapidly but they were still brand new.

      • moderatevoter

        Totally agree about the best Led Zep album, number 1 it is and then 4. The acoustic guitar playing on 1 is the biggest reason that I love Jimmy Page.

  • Sue Smith

    Yoko Whack-o would know as much about music as my neighbourhood dog does about Bach.

    • Tim Rodriguez

      She studied classical music.

    • http://www.localnlive.co.uk/ heenan73

      And your neighbourhood dog knows MUCH more about Yoko than you. Never read anything since 1969?

    • Faulkner Orkney

      Is your dog’s Bach worse than its bite?

    • UncleTits

      Bill Burr’s assessment of Yoko pretty much nailed it.

      • LiamNewcastle

        Thanks so much for this link, hilarious. Made my evening.

  • Kermit Thefrog

    It is good seeing Ringo get the recognition he deserves. Like all of the Beatles, Paul included, it was not his technical mastery, but his musicality that set him apart.

  • cb55

    I’ve always loved Ringo’Rock Steady’ Starr. A Great drummer!

  • http://ajbrenchley.com Callipygian

    Fabulous. Genius never came so cheaply. I must be, at the very least, brilliant.

    • Miss Mello

      you don’t know what you’re talking about

  • Partner

    His son………

  • ianess

    Great article and a necessary corrective to unthinking criticism of a wonderful drummer who always played to the song, never to overpower it. The recent remasters make it even more clear how superb he was. His playing on Lennon’s ‘God’ is also outstanding.
    Thanks for the Jasper Carrot info also.

  • Kent Johnston

    I’ve always remembered John’s quote “Ringo’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles” taking place in 1968 when being interviewed by a journalist during the week that Ringo quit The Beatles temporarily during the White Album sessions and specifically Back in the U.S.S.R. . I’m surprised Lewisohn places the origin of the quote in 1983 as I was aware of it during the mid 1970’s.

    • apollo c vermouth

      ….I’ve always remembered John’s quote “Ringo’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles” taking place in 1968 while being interviewed….I was aware of it during the mid 1970’s.

      No, You’ve misremember this.

      Lewisohn was right. Never happened.

      Any such interview would have been ‘instantly famous’.

      While it makes for a good story, particularly tied to the USSR sessions,
      this relatively modern and collectively false memory should be cast out of Beatles’ lore.

      • hangemall123

        I think Paul had recorded “Back in the USSR” at his home and brought the finished song to The Beatles.

  • Faulkner Orkney

    Without lessening the rightful respect for Ringo…I did smirk at Eric Morcambe calling him Bongo. One genius describing another.

  • Doug Tarnopol

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! I always liked his drumming, but I
    didn’t really start to understand just how immaculate his taste and
    musicality were till I started playing myself. The better I get, the
    more I respect the Ringo.

    Picture Ginger Baker (a phenomenal drummer) in the band. Picture anyone else in the band. Now you get it. 🙂 They were a *band* and Ringo just had an unerring ear for what should be played when and how. He is a musician who happens to be a drummer, and that’s something a guy steeped in prog rock (I’m 45; grew up in New England — a time and place in which prog was all; and I still enjoy it!) needed learn. Watts and Ringo taught me. 🙂

  • sfin

    Let’s face it.

    That whole group were a one off, who got together at the right place at the right time.

    John and Paul take the plaudits for an extraordinary output of melody and words (truly extraordinary) but it would have been nothing without the fills and musicianship of George and Ringo.

    • ianess

      Pissed? As you appear to have been when you wrote this.

      • sfin

        Speak for yourself you twat!

        • ianess

          Many apologies. This comment should have appeared under ‘jim’ above. Totally agree with your comment.

          • sfin

            Ah! The apologies should be mine. I think I’ve been trolled once too often and I over reacted to an honest mistake, in your case.

  • jim

    Another genius.It seems we’re tripping over them these days. Ringo was a competent drummer ,a nice guy with a dry wit and a pleasing screen persona but mostly he seems to have been pissed.

    • Driver 67

      Pissed as in cross, or as in intoxicated? He was definitely dour and droll, but I’m not sure he was unprofessional enough to play drunk.

      • jim

        As in “intoxicated”.Ringo liked a drink but I don’t hold that against him.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw-oePcwq2M

        • Driver 67

          Ah well, that’s much later on – 69/70? Moonie was always at it – last time I saw him was a couple of weeks before he died, and he was taking those anti-alcohol pills, but still drinking. They were supposed to make you throw up, but he was cheerful as anything. I never took Ringo for a souse, although he did his fair share of pharmaceuticals for sure.

        • EdRevealsAll

          A drunken musician??? Say it isn’t so!

      • Dread Ninja Roberts

        Ringo went to court to block the release of an album he recorded in 1987, In the deposition he said he was drinking 16 bottles of wine a day during the recording and that as a result the record was so bad that it’s release would have damaged his career.

        • Driver 67

          I’m not sure heavy drinking nearly 20 years after the events this article discusses is particularly relevant. For a short period after The Beatles broke up, Ringo was the most successful as a solo act. He didn’t do that, or drum as well as he did, by being pissed. Of course, 20 years later, rich as Croesus and largely ignored, and keeping company with the likes of Harry Nilsson – no wonder he took to the bottle. But isn’t it kind of wonderful that even then, he knew when he’d done bad work?

          • def.funkt

            At least he is clean and sober now, and has been for a very long time.

    • Dogsnob

      Oh go on then, a pissed genius.

  • Burningmoscow

    Speaking of the Beatles in the spiritual and religious dimensions, their genius is a sweet clarification to the biblical promise of everlasting life – not just everlasting life, but everlasting youth – free from illnesses, debility, senility, snobbery and other crap staff of the old age. Can’t you hear the wonderful Ringo’s drums in this idea?

  • Garry65

    I am also a Beatles fan and a drummer and I think Ringo was a brilliant drummer and the perfect man for the Beatles. Just listen to the hi hat “wash” on early songs like “She Loves You”. Ringo invented that. Many drummers, including me, now copy it. Listen to the precise neatness of his work on “The Word”. My favorite Ringo track is “Rain”. Ringo invented psychedelic drumming. All of his work on Sgt Pepper was outstanding and he progressed, as the other Beatles did, with every record. He was the right guy!!! I have met Pete Best. Lovely man!! I saw him play. He would never have been able to do what was necessary for the sounds The Beatles created. Ringo was the MAN!!

    • def.funkt

      The tape was sped up for the recording of “Rain,” then brought back to regular speed for the rest of the instruments and vocals. It became this thunderous sound. He simply tossed off that drum break like it was nobody else’s business. And it was nobody else’s business….

  • Driver 67

    No question Ringo is underrated. Easy as it is to not notice the way he holds everything together in the early days, it’s not so easy to ignore the revolution of his drumming on Rain and Ticket To Ride. That and Tomorrow Never Knows have been massively influential. And then on the Pepper album, we were introduced to the ‘space’ concept – fills that left gaps other drummers would have played through. Lovely Rita and Day In The Life are perfect illustrations of this almost orchestral drumming.

    • hangemall123

      Orchestral. That says it all.

  • thunderclap_monolith

    Fantastic article. And extra kudos for including Ian McDonald. Ringo was one of a kind. I can name 20 better drummers, but none would have worked within what The Beatles were doing. His personality and his quirks, both as a player and as a person, added to the cultural and musical revolution that they sparked.

  • jackie0h

    Great article. I know Ringo is often thought of as the least talented Beatle (seems especially with younger people like me who weren’t here for their original go around), but I agree with this article, they were all needed, and all came together for a reason. I always knew there was something about the drumming on She Loves You, my favorite Beatles song, and this explains it. I agree with Lurkio, Ringo’s involvement with the Beatles has been very underrated and he has always been overshadowed by the other 3. I’m glad this article is giving him the respect he deserves.

  • Heywood Jablowme

    Ringo was a human metronome, and I mean that in the best way possible. Some of those early Beatles recordings were done a dozen or more times until everyone was happy with the end result. They were able to do that because of Ringo. The guy was always spot on. Never too fast, never too slow. I tell young drummers all the time that it’s not about playing 100 drums as fast as you can. It’s about keeping time, and no one did it quite like Ringo.

    • beninabox

      Keeping time is such an underrated skill.

      • def.funkt

        It can be so bloody difficult, believe me. As a drummer, you have to constantly be on your guard not to lose it and start revving up the tempo and that is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of concentration, while also keeping your groove moving with all of the other band members. I don’t know if it comes from both hemispheres of your brain, but you’ve got to learn this trick very early on if you want to be successful. Too many times, I’ve closed my eyes onstage and, yep, the tempo starts getting faster and you have to reign the thing back in before you embarrass yourself and your fellow band members.

  • Trevor

    The Beatles had the perfect combination of personnel from the moment Ringo joined. He was the missing link. From late summer ’62 to late summer ’69, The Beatles took ‘popular’ music so far forward and at a rate that no band or solo artist had done before, or since. Ringo’s part was every bit as important as John’s, Paul’s and George’s .It’s fair to say that after Sgt Pepper, The Beatles handed the baton of influence onto Jimi Hendrix, who played his part in the evolution of rock for a short while. It was during the White Album sessions, that The Beatles started falling apart as a band. The music was still great though.

  • dongee

    As a former 1960’s rock and roll drummer myself, I have always believed that Ringo was the most influential drummer in rock and roll – ever. You can hear his 4-4 back beat as the basis of every popular drummer since.

  • http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/the-real-deal-housing-in-new-zealand.html Andrew Atkin

    He was long undervalued by people who did not understand his impact – including the (other) Beatles members, themselves.

    His natural feel was totally right to bring out the depth of the Beatles music. Without him they would have been castrated. He was the right man for that job. As a drummer myself, I can tell. Know that in music, nothing works unless *everything* works.

    The real replaceable Beatle was actually George Harrison.

    • tmf354

      You were doing alright all the way up to your last line. George Harrison, replaceable? Utter nonsense. Maybe being a drummer you don’t get it, but you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/the-real-deal-housing-in-new-zealand.html Andrew Atkin

        He was not bad – just replaceable.

    • Visel

      WTF? George’s style is irreplaceable. Not only he was able to play memorable guitar riffs but also he could write his own songs and provide beautiful melodies and classic gems such as Here Comes The Sun, Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, I Need You, etc.

  • camnai

    Rain.

  • Jimmy Miller

    Hear hear!

  • Greg Ligertwood

    Ringos rock solid mitre and power made and taste made the band. No doubt about it. Neil pert from rush called him greatest rock drummer ever. Long live ringo!

  • Dogsnob

    Ringo Starr IS a genius, please? We can’t be losing him and Val Doonican in the same week.

  • Caractacus

    Well I’m a longstanding Phil Collins fan, so I’m long used to defending a drummer against nonsensical, nasty and personal hatred. Glad to see Ringo finally getting his dues. I’ve never thought that he deserved the criticism that was so often levelled against him.

    And of course, he is the definitive Thomas the Tank Engine.

    • Ben Riddell

      Watched a documentary about Genesis. Phil Collins, whom I’ve always liked as a drummer as well, and the rest of the band were talking about how hard it was playing “behind” a show-stealing presence like Peter Gabriel. Collins was saying the band members were getting no attention at all, though everyone was performing incredibly well, and that he himself (Collins) was “drumming like Ringo” – I guess the highest compliment for a drummer.

    • sudon’t

      Phil Collins was undeniably a good drummer. He just had the misfortune to be in lousy bands. ; )

  • Frank Marker

    I always thought Bobby Elliott of the Hollies was one of the great underrated drummers.

    • Sten vs Bren
      • Frank Marker

        Thanks Sten Vs Bren.

      • Neil Saunders

        Shock! Horror! You appear to be making an intelligent point, Sten.

    • John Steadman

      Well, Frank, you certainly know your music – listen, everybody who is interested, to ‘He’s My Brother.” Just magnificent.

      • Frank Marker

        Thanks John. King Midas in Reverse is pretty damn good too.
        I think this lauding of Ringo is a bit over the top to be honest. A good drummer, but ‘genius’, come on.

  • johnny trevisani

    Ringo was left-handed, yet played right-handed. Since he was still left-handed, playing a right-handed kit, he was still left-hand dominant. Which means that his fills start with the left-hand rather than the, usual, right-hand. Which gave Ringo a distinct and subtle style. This style is now copied my multitudes of drummers out there who studied his drumming style. Ringo rocks.

    • def.funkt

      Myself, included. Studying, that is.

    • The Shrubber

      Yep, I believe that (The Beatles Tune In), in those days, lefty children were forced to learn to do things right handed…. and so Ringo was…..

  • Richard Eldritch

    His son Zak is excellent as well. His work with The Who is epic.

  • Lash

    Smh

  • Jim in Texas

    I always thought that, being the drummer in the background, overwhelmed by the personalities of John and Paul, it was assumed that Ringo was less of a musician. The same thing happened to George, and it wasn’t until many years later that people started to recognize his guitar and songwriting genius. Ringo looked like a sort of goofy sit in musician, complete down to the stage name, and I think it was easy to assume he was a fifth wheel. Bravo, Ringo!

  • Ronald Hassem

    crap

  • Artie007

    The Beatles remain one of the best examples of synergy. While some became or were arguably better musicians than others, none were really virtuosos on their instruments. Their genius lies in their song writing ability and their overall sound. The sum of the Beatle’s parts were much greater than they were individually in my opinion. I believe Ringo contributed greatly to this synergy. He played tastefully…never over-played and was often underrated.

    • Fran Grady

      I agree 100%.

    • sudon’t

      “…none were really virtuosos on their instruments.”

      I have to disagree. Paul was an incredible, standout, bass player. People always seem to talk about his singing, or composing, but he never gets the props he deserves for bass. Of course, few bass players do.
      George wasn’t too shabby on guitar, either. I think this notion of Ringo as a sub-par drummer comes from people who’ve only ever heard the Beatles on the car radio, and didn’t grow up listening to their albums. I do agree with you that, as a band, they were greater than the sum of their parts.

      • Artie007

        When I think of the term “virtuoso,” I’m talking about someone like a studio bass player or someone along the lines of a Stanley Clark or Kim Stone (Spyro Gyra, The Rippingtons) on bass, as an example. I could NEVER take anything away from Paul though as he was indeed an inventive and very talented bass player…. and, of course played both the piano and guitar reasonably well, too. George, was very inventive, tasteful and an excellent guitar player in his own right. However, as far as a guitar virtuoso, I’m thinking differently…maybe someone like Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, Mark Knopfler, Steve Morse. I’m not talking about a popularity contest. And, of course you have many different styles of playing, you have excellent Jazz players and folks like Andre Segovia on classical guitar. I think you get where I’m going.

        • sudon’t

          I think that’s the same flash vs. musicality argument we get about Ringo’s drumming. I don’t think you can find a more inventive and musical bassist than Paul McCartney. To me, that’s virtuosity.

  • northernwriter

    What got me about Ringo was that many times he would play the “ride” cymbal through the verse and then go to the hi hat for the chorus….. the exact opposite of how all the other drummers were playing. But it was so effective and helped to make The Beatles sound that was so different. Nice to see him get his dues.

  • Mike Dancy

    Ringo was simply the fourth part of the same person. Without him the soul of that person would not have been complete.

  • Scradje

    Ringo is rightly very proud of his work on Rain, which happens to be one of my favourite Beatles numbers, along with She Said She Said, which also has a magnificent drum part. The remastered versions are well worth a listen. Personally I would like to remix them too; this time with greater emphasis on the bass and drums tracks.

  • John Smith

    His son Zak is a better drummer, ask the Who

  • Zack Lee Wright

    Listen to a Beatles song played by any other band and Ringo’s crystal technique will be clear. Compare “Come Together” by Aerosmith and The Beatles, you’ll hear.

  • Monty

    The world is full of non-musicians that buy into silliness like this. All 4 Beatles had
    talent unmatched by any. Ringos drumming was always brilliant and perfect for each song.

  • milford

    When the Beatles were asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world, one of them replied ‘He’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles’ All in good humour of course 🙂

    • Snag

      Did you even read the article?

    • coloradosprings

      You need to read the other comments before commenting yourself.

  • Andrew Schiff

    Ringo was a good drummer and great Beatle but he was no genius.

  • jw

    Tony Williams, one of the greatest drummers in jazz history, was a fan of Ringo’s playing.

  • http://ajbrenchley.com Callipygian

    Never mind that ‘Ringo’ was a silly name, even in the Silly Sixties. Richard Starkey: nice to meet you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXAoT_O8Ygg

  • Jolyon Wagg

    About 25 years ago, I worked with a drummer who had worked with Elvis, Andy Williams, the Chi-Lites among others and I casually said some naive, derogatory comment about Ringo for a cheap laugh, and this guy nearly bit my head off! He said ‘they’ all followed Ringo in the sixties, copying his ‘licks and fills’ and how influential he really was.

    I learnt a lesson and definitely agree with the tenure of the article. I liken him now to the really good referee in football – you dont notice them.

    • Jules Wright

      Similarly guilty. Until I learned to play the drums and joined a covers band. Back in the USSR has a brilliant backbeat: fills, variety but solid as a rock – with scope to improvise. Holistic. He was pretty damn good – just look at Zak Starkey. Outstanding. Apple never falls far from the tree and all that …

      • apollo c vermouth

        ….Back in the USSR has a brilliant backbeat..

        That’s Paul.

        Ringo was ahhh…’out for an extended tea’ during this and the Dear Prudence sessions. You can look it up.

        • Jules Wright

          That’s embarrassing.

        • Spanner1960

          Ringos.

          Ring comes back.

  • Stephen Silvia

    well written article but seriously … are we still having this discussion about Ringo ??????

  • Fran Grady

    It was not Paul McCartney and the Beatles, John Lennon and the Beatles – it was the Beatles and each one played an important role. I am so thrilled for Ringo to be receiving the accolades that he well deserves.

  • logdon

    Except he didn’t play on Love Me Do.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_White_(drummer)

    • Sten vs Bren

      He played on the single, another bloke did a version that went on the LP.

      • logdon

        The link tells it all.

        • Sten vs Bren

          The link tells you that he played on the single and another bloke did a version that went on the LP.

  • dj

    Maybe in his next life George Martin will actually let him play on the records !

  • Simon

    Danny Baker said it best when he said Ringo was the only Beatle who was head-hunted.

  • Stanlycam

    This guy on You Tube covers Ringo’s drumming here is Rain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxVcyvJukCU

  • WhiteVanMan

    His drumming on God on the plastic Ono album is awesome

  • Lex Dunn

    Rain. Case closed.

  • Bernie Oliver

    It’s this plain and simple. Ringo Starr invented Rock ‘n’ Roll drumming, period. Before him, it was an adaptation of jazz, rhythm & blues and rockabilly/country swing that made for what was being touted by those who played the drums in ‘rock and roll combos.’ His use of syncopation, particularly in regard to bass drum patterns, are the forerunner of every rock beat to this day.

  • http://home.earthlink.net/~mcloner Matthew Cloner

    If any of you ever watched the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” Ringo actually came very close to “stealing” the film. He has to be the most undervalued musician in the history of Rock and Roll.

  • Ivan Ewan

    I’ve generally found that it’s only non-drummers who dis Ringo’s drumming abilities.

    • Miss Mello

      yeah I’ve experienced it the same way. Basically noobs who think they know it all

  • http://www.planetpeschel.com Bill Peschel

    Ringo has always had the respect of rock drummers who have the skill to appreciate what he brought to the group. He not only kept a rock-steady beat, he treated the drums like a bass, adding frills and flourishes where appropriate. You only have to listen to the basic beat on “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” a workmanlike job from Paul, and “She Loves You,” to realize how Ringo made the Beatles’ drums talk.

    It’s a measure of his self-effacement that he never went in for drum solos. IIRR, he had to be convinced to do one on Abbey Road side two, and, characteristically, it was a kick-ass beat that connected the two songs perfectly. That’s Ringo, God bless him.

  • rob

    I humbly suggest two courses for knowledge’ sake ; one DVD MoTown Funk Brothers Concert w/guests . Also Max Weinberg’s book (1984?) featuring interviews w/dozen greatest drummers (to him) . Bernard Purdie throws a grenade in the mix with his claim to have played drums on Beatles first few albums , entirely by himself .The fills Ringo used are all Motown style , subtle, behind the beat and announce or conclude any passage through a song . Directives , in a word . He gets credit for all experimentation of later efforts , for sure . Where I’m from , that cat’s a”tasty” drummer . Nuff said . carry on .

  • Hywel Griffith

    Spot on – listening to Strawberry Fields and Day in the Life – it is actually the drums that keep me putting those two tracks on my walk to work playlist!

  • Gilbert White

    Do not believe the Ringo remark as stated by Lennon in the article. Ringo as far as we know was about the only person or thing Lennon never ever turned on, the nearest to criticism being, how dare you, when Ringo got a number one! Probably shows Ringo posed no threat.

  • foto2021

    Ringo wasn’t a genius, but he was good enough. That is all that matters.

  • Bob Cole

    ah yes. a day in the life. ringo makes such good music. I drum myself and I always enjoyed how musical he was , and is.

  • JD Mulvey

    Ringo was particularly important in breaking the band in the early days in America. Following the big splash they made on the Ed Sullivan Show, plenty of their new fans couldn’t have named the other three, but they all knew who Ringo was.

  • eddie willers

    “on side two as it once was”

    Another thing that made vinyl so memorial. A common question back then would be: “Whats better (so and so record) or the second side of Abbey Road?”.

  • eddie willers

    I’d like to play “Tomorrow Never Knows” to a kid and then explain to them…”That is NOT a drum machine”. Maybe they will start to get it then.

  • Eric Neil

    I couldn’t agree more with this article -it was always John. Paul George AND Ringo for me. His character and drumming technique filled that missing piece that was the Beatles.

  • Mary_Carter
  • AYorkshireman

    Agree with just about everything below. A vastly under-rated musician. But it is not just what he did but also about what he didn’t do. Frequently less is more; just listen to the drumming on ‘In My Life’ – absolutely perfect for the song. Anything more would ruin it.

  • Uncle Bob

    I’ve been a Beatle Fan since 1964, and I love Ringo. But John, Paul, George and a Drum-Machine would have been just as Great, maybe even a little better.

  • pbinCA

    Good review. Ringo came on the scene at a time when drummers were considered an interchangeable commodity. He played with personality, and over several years developed a totally unique style. As the oldest Beatle, he took responsibility for the positive vibe and goodwill. “With a little help from my friends” lives on a 60’s anthem.

  • Cranston

    I agree with the article except on the point of Ringo’s drumming in Tomorrow Never Knows, which is actually a drum loop – the first ever I believe. I could be wrong on that last point. Anyone know for sure?

  • Miss Mello

    I can get so frustrated by people who discount Ringo’s talent and contribution. Percussion is probably the hardest to differentiate in but you can almost ALWAYS tell that it’s Ringo playing due to his unique and distinctive style. Probably my favourite drummer and definitely my favourite Beatle.

  • Miss Mello

    Agreed whole heartedly! Ringo knew the value of less is more and knew how to serve song.

    • dramocles

      He knew (knows?) the value of less is more – I’d go with that. When he comes in on Day In The Life it’s quite (appropriately) chilling.

      Also telling that Lennon continued to work with him after The Beatles.

      Zak’s pretty good too.

      • SwimmingTowardsPie

        All three of the others continued to work with Ringo after the breakup, in fact. He appeared on their recordings, and they on his.

  • Patrick

    Being a lifelong musician, I have always felt that Ringo’s drumming was so very tasty. Never overdone. Some of his latter work was really remarkable. His unique sense of timing and emphasis makes him one of the very best.

  • Firewaliker

    Ringo got more mail from American fans than the rest combined. Maybe the fans were right all along.

  • chiefkurtz
  • dj

    Bernard Purdie played drums on all the early Beatles NOT Ringo

    • Mike

      I really hope you’re kidding about this! This nonsense went around 25 years ago and has been so thoroughly debunked that there’s no excuse in this day and age of instant access to information for anyone still believing it.

      • dj

        thoroughly debunked by Ringo’s legions of publicists. That being said I still love his solo career !

        • Mike

          OK, dj…let me introduce you to what is I’m sure is a foreign concept to you: evidence. Let’s see your actual evidence for the statement “Bernard Purdie played drums on all the early Beatles NOT Ringo.” Please be very specific.

          While you’re at it, please identify exactly who “Ringo’s legions of publicists” are, and show why they’re not telling the truth.

          Put up or shut up. (I predict there will be deafening silence from you from this point forward.)

          • dj

            Just having a crush on your favorite mop top is not evidence either. George Martin said it in his book and a interview once. It sounds just like Purdie. He was on the original manifest as additional musician in session logs (with the original album version of “Love Me Do” Andy White played drums. Paul McCartney drummed on “Back in the USSR” and “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” among many others. All classic Ringo style). Purdie was credited on the soundtrack album for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Ringo was not a session drummer and still has very little feel when playing even today . All professional musicians over 60 agree. Fab Four? more like the FAD Four.
            Oh, and I have two ears.

            The Beatles Songs That Paul McCartney Played The Drums On
            http://www.feelnumb.com/2009/03/05/beatles-songs-that-paul-mccartney-played-the-drums/

            All You Need Is Ears: The inside personal story of the genius who created The Beatles Paperback – by George Martin

            The Beatles Recording Sessions The Official Abbey Road Sessions 1962-1970 by Mark Lewisohn

          • Duke Amir Often

            “Purdie was credited on the soundtrack album for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

            The soundtrack album for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is not a Beatles LP, but the soundtrack to 1970s film. The clues are in the words.

            Also, earth not flat, George W Bush not controlling 9/11 from a bunker and no puma on Dartmoor.

          • Days of Broken Arrows

            Incorrect. That’s Ringo on “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road” on the finished version. The solo Paul version was unreleased until “Anthology 3.” Also, you left out Paul’s best Beatles drum part — the one on “Dear Prudence.” If you want to make a case for Paul being a brilliant drummer, that’s the song.

          • Mike

            Oh boy, this will be fun! dj, you and I are a match made in heaven. You’re the kind of person who gets gratification (perhaps we should call it self-gratification) out of the notion that you have inside information that the rest of the foolish world doesn’t, so therefore you’re on some kind of cutting edge. I’m the kind of person who enjoys seeing people like you hang themselves with their lack of logic and dearth of any kind of actual evidence to support their foolishness. I look forward to seeing you slowly twist in the wind.

            “George Martin said it in his book and a interview once.”

            Said what? I read Martin’s book many years ago. I recall no mention whatsoever in its pages of Bernard Purdie. I’m quite sure I would remember if there were. Would you please quote the passage in question? Or link us to this alleged interview?

            “It sounds just like Purdie.”

            *What* sounds just like Purdie? If you want to make a case, try to write a little more clearly, OK?

            “He was on the original manifest as additional musician in session logs”

            Please produce a copy of this manifest and these session logs. I can assure you that if they actually existed, they would be all over the internet. Why aren’t they? (This oughtta be rich!)

            “…with the original album version of ‘Love Me Do’ Andy White played drums. Paul McCartney drummed on ‘Back in the USSR’ and ‘Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?’ among many others.”

            I’m sure you’re congratulating yourself on sharing all of this arcane knowledge with the world, as if the world somehow doesn’t already know this. But in fact, you left out Andy White on “P.S. I Love You,” and the “many others” Paul drummed on amount to “Dear Prudence” and “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” So that is “many others”? Now, will you please name the “21 tracks” Bernard Purdie alleges he plays on? Which tracks are they? Please be specific.

            “All classic Ringo style.”

            I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. If you mean that Paul somehow sounded “just like Ringo” on the tracks he drummed on, then it’s clear that you don’t “have two ears” at all…you have zero ears.

            “Purdie was credited on the soundtrack album for ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.”

            Assuming this is true, answer one more simple question: How does this have f***-all to do with your claim that “Bernard Purdie played drums on all the early Beatles NOT Ringo”? The Beatles had nothing to do with the dreadful movie version of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

            The references you cited at the end of your post do absolutely nothing to bolster your claim that Purdie played on “official” Beatles recordings. Zero. (There is a small possibility he might have “sweetened” drum parts for the U.S. release of the recordings The Beatles made in Hamburg in 1961 when they were backing Tony Sheridan. These are not considered a part of the official Beatles canon, and since Ringo was not in the band at the time, the claim that he “replaces Ringo” is ludicrous.)

            Here are two references that have a great deal to do with that claim. You’ll be distressed (or given what you’ve shown us so far about your thinking process, perhaps unmoved) to find that they deal in actual FACTS that relate to this issue (e.g., recording dates, two-track vs. four-track technology, etc.):

            http://www.thebeatlesrarity.com/2014/09/25/asknat-concerning-bernard-purdie-on-beatles-recordings/

            http://www.topix.com/forum/who/the-beatles/TDBAPTS2R7UE8NEUH

            A bit of Googling will reveal many other such pages. If you hope to have any credibility on this issue, you’ll have to refute these facts as presented. Good luck to you!

          • dj

            If god didn’t give me two ears to listen critically, then why did he make me a dj ?

        • Frank Converse

          Debunked by everyone except Purdie. Total nonsense.

    • Days of Broken Arrows

      A funny comment considering those early recordings were done on two-track equipment and there was very little room for overdubbing without major loss in sound quality (they had to copy the tapes to other tapes to perform overdubs). So either George Martin flew Purdie over to England to play live in the studio with them (LOL!) or it didn’t happen. Considering Ringo’s voice is on those early session tapes and not Purdie’s, I’m inclined to say this is a tall tale.

      • Duke Amir Often

        Purdie could do a Liverpool accent, dude!

  • Dennis R. White

    Although Ringo is not my favorite drummer and I don’t put him among the “greats” like Krupa or Moon, but I think there’s no doubt he was the PERFECT drummer for the Beatles, and that’s what counts

  • Johnny Thunders

    Ringo was good, maybe underrated, but he wasn’t a genius – that word gets thrown around too easily.

  • MikeOchenbolls

    No mention of his success as a solo artist. #1, #1 ,#1, #1

    • NYC1977

      Yup, in the first half of the 70’s, even John admitted at the time that Ringo was having more solo success on the charts.

  • jeremy Morfey

    I remember once one of the others saying how they tricked Ringo into doing that drum solo on ‘The End’. I think it was Paul who composed this tune, which the others played along to on their electric guitars, all faithfully reproduced in Ringo’s headphones as he drummed along. Then they muted everything except the drums, and there you had it.

  • Adam Carter

    I remember a comment on another article about Ringo on this site some time ago.
    In essence it said that, whatever outsiders might say, you won’t hear a drummer dissing Ringo.

    • Jacob Campbell

      I get irate. It’s such an overplayed, cheap shot, at one of the most interesting drummers of all time. I will end conversations over it. Leave him alone!

      I wish I could be as boring as Ringo, seriously.

      • Klaatu

        Interesting yes, innovative maybe….but when I see people calling him out as a genius I have to comment.

        • William Shakespeare

          Yes, we know. Incessantly.

  • bhutanbeau

    Yep…….spot on. And then there was George, another over-looked Beatle – who, in the end, became my favourite.

    • colchar

      George was an amazing player.

      • Klaatu

        Also an amazing composer and human being. His gifts to Ringo are well documented.

  • colchar

    Ringo was a human metronome. His son, currently drumming for The Who, is a great drummer as well.

  • mortsnerd

    You mentioned off-handedly ‘a 1967 instrumental called ‘Flying’ on the Magical Mystery Tour album, which is probably one of my favourite Beatles numbers. It should have words by Sullivan deceased and made into a hymn, perhaps for football or the New Commonwealth.

  • CockneyblokefromReading

    He wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles!

    • William Rombola

      Congratulations on not reading past the headline.

  • AdrianM

    I’d say he was every bit as good as Dave Clark.

  • Paul Linden

    I’ve been saying much the same for years to anyone (the lucky few!) who would listen. If you do the “close listening” the author alludes to, pay attention to Ringo’s fills, any part where he breaks from the basic rhythmic pattern to embellish regardless of how slight it may be. Almost no drummer in the post beatles, “rock era” ever chooses to start or end on such oddly chosen moments, the fills themselves seem by themselves to be sometimes awkward to the point of unmusicality. But- much to the author’s point- they are the thread that stitches these masterpiece performances together, the gilded perfect utterance to make the supreme musicality of the group stand forth in awesome relief. There is far too little made of his very unique, very economical mastery of his craft as it is the perfect thing, no more or no less would do … in the perfect spot.

    • Klaatu

      LEFT HANDED PLAYER….RIGHT HANDED DRUM SET

      • dmurdo1

        yeah but he played on those records and no-one else could’ve played it like Ringo. Ringos malpropisms also had a hugh influence on songs such as “hard days night”, “8 days a week” “tomorrow never knows” all titles that Ringo came up with. Face it Ringo was lucky but so were the Beatles.

      • William Shakespeare

        So, any left handed drummer on a right handed set would sound just like Ringo? Oh, wait, that would mean every musician sounds just like every other musician when they use the same equipment.

        What was I thinking?

  • modernredeye

    He was at his best on Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby.

    • Ridcully

      Ouch!

    • mikehalloran

      Ringo contributed part of the verses of Eleanor Rigby—unlike John Lennon whose only contribution to the song was to recognize that George Harrison’s improvised “Ahh, look at all the lonely people” was the correct chorus.

  • Matthew Vaughan

    “the first minute and a half of “A Day In The Life”” – it’s got to be the last verse for me….wonderful drummer – great ears, always played to the song. If you’re impressed by inappropriate, unnecessary versatility, go elsewhere. Happy birthday Ringo.

  • Bo Williams

    Ringo. Top man.

  • Days of Broken Arrows

    I agree with the assessment of “She Loves You.” But Ringo’s drumming on the earlier “Please Please Me” should get praised more. It’s an absolute tour-de-force of varying rhythms and frantic drum rolls that gives the song its propulsive thrust. No other drummer at the time sounded like this. He perfectly underscored the composition and made what they wrote even better. This is something he’d do a lot of, but “Please Please Me” was the first indication on record of Ringo’s true brilliance.

    • http://www.workinprogress.com Nicetime

      I actually heard a blistering version of ‘Please, Please Me’ by a pub band the other day. They used lead guitar to play the harmonica riff. It’s never been a particular favourite but it absolutely rocked. Made me wonder what the Beatles must have been like live.

      • polidorisghost

        You wouldn’t have heard them! Beatlemania

      • Fraser Bailey

        There’s a fantastic, almost hard rock/blues version by a Manchester band performed in 1966 out there on YouTube somewhere.

    • Klaatu

      Sorry, I love the Beatles but there is nothing Ringo plays that a 10 year old with some lessons couldn’t play.
      Neil Peart throws the heat to the skins……no comparo.

      • dmurdo1

        please stop with the immature technical aspects of music, Neil Peart is a fine drummer but grooves like a robot, Picasso put it best “it took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”

        • Klaatu

          Immature? Please stop with the internet tough guy antics.
          In the context offered you should have no problem with it. I was making a comparison based upon the authors opinion that Ringo Starr was some sort of drum playing genius (not to mention others here) which is just ridiculous and even Ringo has admitted the same. If one wants to look at “genius” level drumming I would have to look to Peart regardless ones affection for his style. Neil Peart actually composes his drum music, has authored many books, and is the main lyricist for Rush. You are offering an opinion which is fine. I am offering a comparison of musical ability wherein I thing Ringo was great but nothing close to genius level….that is just crazy. You affection for Ringo is shared by me….I am just being objective and adding substance to my post in order to substantiate my opinion.
          By the by….I think Moon, Bonham, Bruford,Copeland,VanHalen and a few others were better drummers as well.

          • dmurdo1

            Ringo technical abilities ( this drummers better than this drummer how childish) were never his strong point his genius was always his feel and his fills . Wasn’t Rock n Roll a movement away from chromatisim to a simpler visceral approach on simple 145 progression. 99% of people couldn’t care less about technical prowess. Wasn’t the 70’s punk movement a return to this approach after the bloated elitist indulgence of the prog rock and fusion rock genres. Todays Hip-hop, EDM and pop are further removed from virtuosity why do you think this is?

          • Klaatu

            Let’s remember the context of the article which says Ringo was a “genius”.
            I think that is a bit of a stretch and I offered some “genius” type drumming (whether it appeals to you or not) as a comparison of genius.
            People seem to take any rational conversation regarding Ringo as a personal affront…..it is just conversation…..debate, and opinion.
            I think he was an integral part of the Beatles, I think he had great artistic intuition, I think he was very influential…..I just stop very short of genius.

  • Richard Harrold

    The Beatles were staggeringly overrated. A mediocre band with a rubbish drummer which wrote largely utterly forgettable ditties and the odd catchy but fundamentally inane karaoke singalong. When you compare it to what followed – the Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin – they were a bunch of second-rate no-hopers. Paul McCartney did some interesting stuff with Wings though.

    • http://www.workinprogress.com Nicetime

      lol, go to bed you twerp

      • Richard Harrold

        What a tremendously well-reasoned counter-argument! Come on – “She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah” is hardly worthy of comparison with “No Quarter”, “War Pigs”, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” or any such.

        • http://www.workinprogress.com Nicetime

          you have to compare it to what went before. What kind of music was being made in 1961? They introduced a complexity to song writing that revolutionised popular music.’She Loves You’ is a musical cliche now, but much of their stuff still stands up.

          • anonuk

            What kind of music was being written in 1961?

            I can name some instrumentals such as Telstar and Apache that came out about that time, but in general, very little of it survives or is listenable (apart from “Stand by Me” of course). Music from 1964-65, while extremely dated of course, has some energy that hadn’t existed during the doldrums of a couple of years earlier.

            All musical eras come and go in waves, 1958-62 and 1985-88 being especially notable period of low creativity in mainstream music.

            Feel free to tell me of any masterpieces during those years. I would be genuinely interested.

          • http://www.workinprogress.com Nicetime

            That was pretty much my point

          • Jack

            Kind of Blue, Giant Steps, I Left My Heart in San Francisco and Somethin’ Else were all ’58-’62. I know we’re not talking about jazz here, but albums weren’t a thing yet in rock and roll, and besides jazz was still very popular at the time so as pop it kind of counts. Kind of Blue for sure.

            You can probably throw a seminal Frank Sinatra album in there too. He was one of the first to recognize albums as an artistic statement.

            However, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Master of Puppets, Rain Dogs and Graceland were ’85-88. Tastes may vary but those were monumental albums nonetheless.

          • Richard Malcolm

            Getz/Gilberto arrived at the same time as the Beatles did, and I sometimes wonder if its long-term impact on music won’t be greater.

        • Randy

          She Loves You -a radically innovative display of songwriting: No other song in the history of recorded music broke the rules to start with the Chorus. At the time, it was shocking, unheard of, as was much of their innovative “never repeat ourselves” commitment. They changed the world and the world of music so much, now people aren’t even aware of it, after the fact.

        • mikehalloran

          You are correct. Musically, “She Loves You” is far more innovative and precedes the others by four–eight years. The lyrics are short, to the point. The Beatles said what they wanted and then shut up. They were never boring, something that can’t be said for Zep, Floyd or Sabbath. Don’t get me wrong, I like all three but each could drag it out sometimes over silly, pretentious lyrics.

        • SwimmingTowardsPie

          It’s like you don’t grasp the musical or cultural context in which the Beatles broke, even remotely.

          You like Dave Grohl? I know I do. Go ask him what he thinks of the Beatles and Ringo in particular.

          • Richard Harrold

            I like Grohl immensely, but I’ve listened to the Beatles over and over trying to get what inspired him about them, and it’s left me cold every time. I’m just left struck by the childishly simplistic nature of the songs, and the fact that they could barely play their instruments in the early years and, later on, were too drugged-up to play well.

          • dmurdo1
        • Klaatu

          Yer Blues, Tomorrow never knows, Don’t bring me down, Helter Skelter, While my guitar gently weeps, and many more.
          I agree however in that I liked Lennon’s heavier compositions and throw a lot of the McCartney tripe out the window.
          It might be more reasonable as well to compare the Beatles to their contemporaries as the Beatles were really done by the late 60’s if not by 1970.
          I love War pigs, and Physical Graffiti might be my favorite album of all time…..but they were just a tad behind the Beatles time.

          • Adam Carter

            Lennon, when with The Beatles, inflicted ‘All You Need Is Love’ on us.
            Later he tortured us with ‘Imagine’.
            These two songs are among the very worst ever published.
            Pretentious dirges.

            Being cynical and rude to journalists does not make anyone an edgy artist.

          • Klaatu

            Hey…..even Lennon would say those were crap. He stated unequivocally “Paul wrote some garbage, but so did I”….so at least he owned up to his garbage. He also contributed some of the best parts to Abbey Road side II and some really great tunes. McCartney just hashed out one “Maxwell” after another and I agree…..a lot of that just sucks.

        • Adam Carter

          She Loves You is a wonderful, exuberant song.

        • 1YesterdaysWine1

          And what were your fav groups doing in 1963? Imitating the Beatles no doubt. Helter Skelter invented Heavy Metal. Black Sabbath couldn’t shine McCartney’s shoes. http://rocktrain.net/song/helter-skelter-paul-mccartney-launches-heavy-metal-music

          • Richard Harrold

            Helter Skelter wasn’t remotely metal. The inventors of metal were bands like Sabbath, Budgie, Zeppelin and to some extent Deep Purple. There was far more original stuff going on in 1963 than the Beatles anyway.

        • PaD

          And war pigs got to No1 on the day of its release?

        • dmurdo1
    • https://www.mixcloud.com/reticuli/ Reticuli

      I personally think some Beatles stuff sounds totally modern and undated, but they were before my time. Are you saying Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin would have existed without the Beatles?

      • polidorisghost

        Most 60’s rock bands were imitating earlier blues players – with varying degrees of success.

        • mikehalloran

          …until The Beatles who broke the mold and did it before anyone else. The Moody Blues were right behind them… but still behind.

      • anonuk

        The Beatles did more than anyone else had before to combine blues with British and Irish music. Yes, Elvis had sung songs which merged hillbilly/ country with blues, but he hadn’t written any of these. The Beatles, after the first album, wrote most of the stuff themselves (although there were too many covers on Beatles for Sale and some poorly chosen ones at that).

        • PaD

          British and IRISH? music..whatever do you mean?

      • Richard Harrold

        Of course they would. The Yardbirds got going in ’63, same time as the Beatles, for a start.

    • Ed Freeman

      Wow. That is the most bizarre, negative opinion of the Beatles I’ve ever heard. Lots of young, musically uninformed people don’t appreciate them, but “mediocre?” “forgettable?” “inane karaoke?” Really? Why do you think they were so “staggeringly overrated?” Was it worldwide, mass psychosis and you’re the only person perceptive enough to see it?

      • Klaatu

        Agree.

      • Richard Harrold

        They were the One Direction of the Sixties… catchy but ultimately devoid of substance. They were a triumph of cultivated image over musicianship.

    • Andy McAwesome

      Honestly, the quality of the Beatles is less important than their influence. There’s a reason we call it “pop music,” and it’s not because it’s the most fantastically stellar music that’s ever been written. It’s because it’s popular – and spoke, inherently, to the tone of the era in which it was conceived. The Beatles were especially curious as sound engineers, exploring techniques like stereo panning and the like that meant that their music had flavours that surpassed their talents with instruments alone.

      I like the Beatles a lot, but I’m not going to say they were stellar musicians. I mean, they weren’t awful, obviously. And “catchy and inane” takes a genuine skill to pull off without sounding outright manufactured. But I think their place in musical history is less about their ability to play, and more their ability to play to their audiences. Their overlooked, more subtle qualities that saw that they were a cultural zeitgeist, and not a flash-in-the-pan – seemingly without having to really do anything. Their impact was as much in their brand as it was their musicianship, which sort of changed how music was PRESENTED, as much as how it was written or played. And besides. They got really fascinatingly creative once the drugs got into ’em…

      • Richard Harrold

        Outright manufactured is exactly what they were. The Beatles were a triumph of marketing and cultivated image over substance and musicianship. They were the One Direction of their time. They sold largely to a mob of screaming teenage girls. The early stuff is devoid of substance, and their later pseudo-prog waffling is drug-fuelled drivel.

        • truffle19

          Drug-fuelled drivel? You mean like the drug-fuelled drivel of Tchaikovsky, Dickens, Hemingway and Edgar Allen Poe?

          • Richard Harrold

            I don’t know about Dickens or Tchaikovsky or any drug use on their part, but I could never get on with American literature.

      • Richard Malcolm

        Honestly, the quality of the Beatles is less important than their influence.

        A good observation.

        To the extent that they still matter, it’s through subsequent artists that they influenced – perhaps at more than one remove, and often even without the artists’ awareness.

    • Andy McAwesome

      What I should have said is that there a talents the Beatles exuded that surpassed their mere skill with musical instruments and songwriting. Which is kind of why their better songs are so eclectically “better than the sum of their parts,” so to speak. Much in the same way that film blockbusters like Titanic and Star Wars fall apart when you actually inspect them mechanically – the skill is in introducing a feeling to the cultural atmosphere that smashes conceptions and wins over hearts and minds simultaneously, not just in making quality product. It might seem a rubbish skill, sort of disingenuous in its way, but that’s almost the point. Effortlessness is never effortless.

    • Duke Amir Often

      No Beatles, no Sabbath.

      • Richard Harrold

        Rubbish, the former didn’t influence the latter in the slightest.

        • dmurdo1
        • ianess

          Ozzy is completely obsessed by The Beatles. Sabbath, with a couple of exceptions, recorded turgid crap.

          • Richard Harrold

            Most Sabbath was vastly better than anything the Beatles ever came out with. Ozzy was the weak point in the band – replacing him with Dio was a masterstroke.

    • Klaatu

      Your comment only shows that you yourself are not a musician and have no idea the complexities of their compositions. I agree some were tripe, but many of their compositions are quite difficult to play for any person who actually picks up an instrument. One might assume you are speaking only of the AM Hits they love to play for anybody who digs deep can find the jewels like “Don’t let me down” and “Yer Blues” which were in fact really great tunes that never saw air time.

      • Glenn Wheatcroft

        Dont Bring Me Down was The Animals. You’re thinking of Don’t Let Me Down a b-side of Get Back

        • Klaatu

          Thank you for the catch there……was it the Animals or was it ELO?

    • anonuk

      This is popular, even half a century after it was created. Therefore it must be cr*p.

      Anarchy, comrade!

    • Adam Carter

      An interesting observation.
      In other news: Muhammad Ali couldn’t box and George Best had two left feet.

    • Bo Williams

      Utterly forgettable. Yet The Beatles have the best selling album in the world in the 21st century.

      • Richard Harrold

        Justin Bieber is pretty much the best-selling artist of the 21st century. Commercial success is nothing to do with quality.

        • Bo Williams

          True. Except when you say the Beatles songs are “utterly forgettable”. 40-50 years after these songs were released their No.1 album is the biggest selling album of the 21st century. It suggests they are not as forgettable us you think. Let’s see if the songs Justin Beiber is releasing today form the basis of the best selling album of the 2050s. I have my doubts.

          • Richard Harrold

            The big pop names of the 90s are still selling big now too. Even lasting commercial success means nothing in terms of quality.

        • truffle19

          You entirely missed the point of his comment. They’re a band from the 60s that is still selling like crazy 50 years later. Clearly, their music is not composed of “largely utterly forgettable ditties” as you claim.

          • Richard Harrold

            So what? Take That are still massive 25 years on too. I even read recently that the Bay City Rollers were getting back together by popular demand. There always will be a market for lo-cal decaffeinated pop-rock.

    • 1YesterdaysWine1

      Hah… another Beatles hater with a lot of opinion and no substance. I guess Zep is great if you like stolen songs. And all that over-produced claptrap? Wow… you either took too many or too few drugs. Recently, the Beatles’ music began streaming. They are up to a BILLION streams. The average age of the streamer is 30. I wonder how many the Yardbirds are up to? Black Sabbath is trash. High-end noise.

      • Duke Amir Often

        ‘High end noise’ is just about a perfect definition of rock and/or roll.

      • Richard Harrold

        Zeppelin isn’t stolen you idiot. The Beatles were the One Direction of their time – hugely successful but ultimately inane.

        • Mike

          “Zeppelin isn’t stolen you idiot.” Ha-ha-ha, congratulations! You’ve just accompanied klaatu into the pantheon of the top five most ill-informed statements I’ve seen in over two decades of perusing the comments on music boards.

          Was their entire career the result of theft? No…just a far higher percentage of it than any other artist you can possibly name. If you’re unable to see that, then you’ve lost all connection with reality.

          • Richard Harrold

            They were part of blues tradition, of taking the old standards and producing their own arrangements. The vast majority of their songs were original material, though.

    • John Thomson

      Jeezus, just piss off.

    • dmurdo1

      while those bands are all very good, musically and lyrically they don’t come anywhere near the inventiveness of the Beatles canon. If anything they are underrated, they weren’t just a pop/rock band.. Its a common mistake mistaking virtuosity for musicality, you’ll grow out of it.

      • Richard Harrold

        Inventiveness and the Beatles shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. They were just fifth-rate Elvis rip-offs at first, before progressing to embarrassingly awful pseudo-prog.

        • dmurdo1

          Doesn’t matter what YOU think, I mean some people think Shakespeare is nonsense.. The world made up its mind sometime ago, namely the Beatles are the greatest pop group in history and Lennon and McCartney are the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. Let those with ears hear.

          • Richard Harrold

            The voice of the mob is not supreme. Most Beatles fanboys simply don’t realise that there was far better music being made at the time.

          • Richard Harrold

            Plenty of people think the Beatles were overrated nonsense. There is no established consensus.

        • Mike MacCormack

          Ooh, you are awful! Anyway there’s no such thing as pseudo-prog, all prog is pseudo. And 90% of Elvis is fifth-rate.

          • Richard Harrold

            Some prog really was progressive, creative and virtuosic. The Beatles weren’t.

          • Richard Harrold

            Most prog is virtuosic, sophisticated and tasteful. That cannot be said of the Beatles. Elvis was ten times better than the Beatles ever were.

    • Mike MacCormack

      Black Sabbath? Are you serious? King Crimson? Oh, I get it, wind up the old folks?

      • Richard Harrold

        Both are vastly better bands than the Beatles ever were.

  • polidorisghost

    The Beatles were great fun and they provided the pop soundtrack to my youth. I’m happy to just leave it at that.

  • mikehalloran

    The Lennon quote is real. The audio of an interview is easy to find where Lennon describes how made it to a reporter after Paul drummed on “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”. This remark was what caused Ringo to quit for a short time while making the White album. This stuff is out there and easy to find. Do your homework.

    • Duke Amir Often

      If it’s ‘out there’; show us.

      Clue; it ain’t out there.

      • mikehalloran

        Hint: It’s in one John Lennon’s interviews that he did for the Double Fantasy album. He tells the full story behind that remark. It’s a great interview but I’m not going to tell you which one it is. So do some searching, find and enjoy it. It’s well known and the author of any article on The Beatles should know it. Clue: if you do your own research, you are less likely to post your ignorance.

        • saposedgenus

          After an hour of scouring every video I could find with John Lennon being interviewed and referencing Double Fantasy, I have reached the conclusion that you are mistaken. If you have a specific video or something similar you would like to point to that can show what you are talking about I’d like to hear it. Please give us an actual source, rather than hints and clues and insults.

          • Klaatu

            Please….go on with yourself. Just because you played around on youtube for a while means nothing. I have seen it myself and yes John did say it.

          • Bo Williams

            And yet world renowned Beatles historian, Mark Lewisohn, couldn’t find the quote. I guess he just couldn’t be bothered reading and listening to all John’s interviews to promote Double Fantasy.

          • Klaatu

            Not sure if it was after DF or when, but I have seen and heard the comment from Lennon. Yes it was in jest and yes I have heard it.

          • Bo Williams

            I’ll wait for Mark Lewisohn’s confirmation.

          • Duke Amir Often

            “Not sure if it was after DF”

            Clue; after DF, John Lennon murdered. Not much backchat after that.

            Conclusion; you’ve been quoting Jasper Carrot.

          • Klaatu

            Not even sure who Jasper Carrot might be? I will grant you this, I have seen it on film but it may have been someone questioning Paul about the statement. I have been wrong before, and yes it is rare. I agree, if I can’t find it then I will keep my pie hole shut. How’s that?

          • Duke Amir Often

            You don’t want to know who Jasper Carrot is.

          • saposedgenus

            Well I can say I have seen the sun turn completely blue for three hours, and I can say that my feet were approximately a meter long yesterday, and I can say that I dug a hole clear through the Earth and came out the other side in Fresno. But without providing evidence, you should not believe me. So I don’t believe you, since there has been evidence showing you are mistaken in the article, and on my own research I have not seen anything to even vaguely hint that you may be correct. So please give me something that will help me learn something new about John Lennon. And if you won’t give me the evidence, I will gladly continue to disbelieve you (and assume you are being contrary for the sake of it).

          • Klaatu

            Well, you can also mate with farm animals and eat lead paint if you wish. However if you read on just a bit you might find I actually admitted this might be a mis-remembrance on my part. I might be recalling an interview wherein Paul was ASKED about the veracity of the remark. Regardless I freely admit/admitted I am probably incorrect based upon the evidence presented.
            However I would like to give you a big “shout out” for the finely crafted and witty response you authored…I was mesmerized.

          • saposedgenus

            Ah of course! You never responded to me saying as much previously, so it is my fault that your claim of not remembering was missed. I never would have thought of that, thank you for being condescending, getting called out for it, then responding with further condescension because you chose to respond in conversation B instead of the conversation you were actually having. Thank goodness conversations work that way. Why just the other day, I was telling my sister I needed to go out-of-state for work, then when I got ready to leave my wife was inexplicably irritated at me for not mentioning it. “But I told my sister, if you would care to be a part of the conversations you are not part of,” I said. My wife was upset, no idea why.

          • Greg Benson

            John may have said it, but he blurted a lot of things that he might have felt that particular day. I choose to putlace greater weight on his actions (using Ringo’s talents on “Plastic Ono Band” and “Imagine.”

        • Klaatu

          I have either seen it, or heard it myself. Yes it was in jest, but he did say it. As well, I would put McCartney’s drumming skills up with Ringo any day. Ringo himself stated his rolls were peculiar because he was left handed, playing a right handed drum kit.

          • mgkimsal

            Mccartney was left handed, also playing the same right handed kit. His rolls/fills are nowhere as interesting as Ringo’s

          • Klaatu

            Quite possible…….I am merely repeating what Ringo Starr himself has stated as the reasoning for his quirky style.

          • mgkimsal

            he’s way too modest. it’s a lot more than just ‘left/right hand’ switch.

          • Mike MacCormack

            Intriguing point, and as far as I am aware a wholly original one. Being left handed makes Ringo stretch out and McCartney slow down? This will run and run!

        • 1YesterdaysWine1

          What kind of perverse asshat wouldn’t provide the link?

        • Duke Amir Often

          Less talk more show.

          Also Roswell was bollocks.

          • qwerty

            I dont know what the answer is – but the Duke is usually wrong

        • Mike

          Clue: it is up to the individual who makes an allegation that is at odds with the known facts to provide the proof. It is not up to everyone else in the world but him/her to do so. Contrary to what you’ve posted, you’re asking others to “do your own research” for you. That’s the definition of a lazy-ass.

          The fact that you won’t provide the proof yourself only shows that you can’t.

          P.S. May I introduce you to a poster named dj? You guys would get along great!

      • Klaatu

        Yeah….it is.

        • Duke Amir Often

          If it were, you’d be able to show us but you can’t.

          Also no panther on the rec.

  • SimonToo

    It does not really matter how good Ringo was as an individual performer. What matters is how well he, John, Paul and George combined to make the Beatles. The essence of a group is the melding of the individual performers into a whole which is greater than the sum of the individual contributions. Supergroups, bringing together a number of top performers on their own instruments because of their individual excellence, often disappoint because the whole turns out to be no more than the sum of the parts.

    • Mike

      Sorry I missed this earlier. Perhaps the wisest statement of any made in this thread. So many simply cannot get past the notion that technical skill on an instrument equals greatness. It does not. It’s what you *do* with it that matters, and what matters most is what all do in combination to make the whole great. Thank you!

  • Whoever

    Oh yeah sure…..McCartney’s multi-track drumming on Dear Prudence and USSR are just super (sarcassm off)

  • Richard Woodruff

    What I saw in the genius of what were the Beatles, is more than the fact that they were only three guitars and a set of drums that were tighter than a frog’s butt in a power dive…their music created a kind of living personality, and each were an essential part of that living entity. The opened doors for not just artists, but they took rock-n-roll from it’s infancy of 3 and 4 chords songs and matured it to adulthood. I doubt we would have seen the plethora of brilliant musicians, songwriters, and vocalists over the years had it not been for the Beatles…and though younger musicians and artists may not admit it (and in fact, may not even realize it) ALL were influenced by the Beatles, who, even after almost half a century since their breakup, are STILL the greatest rock-n-roll band on earth – bar none.

  • Klaatu

    Ringo a genius…..Sorry but I don’t buy that. Influential?…..Maybe, probably. Ringo was a good drummer with a unique sound which as he himself has attributed to “a left handed drummer playing on a right handed drum kit” which made for some offbeat sounding rolls with similar off timing. He may very well be the one that solidified the Beatles early on and his contributions can’t be ignored (as a musician) but he was not a composer and to state the Beatles would not have been the same without him is Okay. To state they would not have been as good is pure conjecture. RIngo’s career took a nosedive after leaving the Beatles save for a few hits which were either written for him by George Harrison or one of the other Beatles. Yes, I know he had a string of pop hits in the 70’s (Photograph, Can you boogie, No no song) but he composed none of them. His efforts pale in comparison to the other 3 “post Beatles” efforts. Being a decent musician and being an Artist are very different things. I think you could have put Ringo in with any band and he would have been just another drummer. However I think anybody you placed in that position with artist such as Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison were destined to be a star. No disrespect to RIngo, just don’t agree that he is any more than a really good dude with a peculiar drum sound that got a “Ticket to ride” so to speak…pun intended.

    • anonuk

      [Ringo’s] efforts pale in comparison to the other 3 “post Beatles” efforts.

      cough cough *Frog Chorus* cough cough

      • Klaatu

        Super fact filled response. It is more than Okay to like Ringo as he was a cool dude indeed. He was no genius and his post Beatles hits were courtesy of George Harrison and the “other 2” for the most part. When put up with the likes of RAM, Band on the run, Venus and Mars, Extra Texture, All things must Pass,Imagine,
        Double Fantasy….he was just overshadowed. He had some pop hits for sure, but nothing that would even match the average offerings of the other 3 save for “Ringo” if that is your kinda thing. “Photograph, Oh my my, were decent enough…..it don’t come easy was composed by Harrison and gifted to Ringo. I personally loved the No no no no song…..but alas as good as these hits were, the other 3 were pumping out bigger and better with Paul taking the volume lead and George possibly the quality lead. Ringo never found much of a grove after 73 and hit latest offerings are just horrid. These opinions I offer as just that…..my opinion.

        • Mike

          I’m amazed at the number of people in this thread that seem to have a basic comprehension problem.

          Nowhere in this article is the subject of Ringo’s post-Beatles solo hits discussed. The “genius” tag (admittedly a dangerous one) is being applied strictly to his drumming skills in The Beatles. (What part of “Yet proper focus on his musicianship reveals his indispensability to the other three” didn’t you understand?)

          So you’ve completely wasted your breath (or your typing fingers) in your post above. Next time, you might try sticking to the topic.

          • Klaatu

            I am amazed at the number of people who respond like jerks when given the anonymity of the internet.
            Sorry,
            but the article I read stated Ringo was a genius, it also said the
            Beatles were “Lucky to have him” to which I replied. The genius moniker
            is certainly not being applied to his drumming skills I hope for as I
            stated: there is nothing he plays that a 10 year old with lessons
            couldn’t play. His deft approach and quirky runs are as much the Beatles
            as the sound emulating from Harrison’s wonderful rhythm guitar is the
            Beatles, or as much as Paul’s innovative base lines was the Beatles, or
            Johns voice was the Beatles. Together they were genius.
            The article
            states the Beatles would not have been as good without Ringo which is
            why, in context I replied offering his post Beatles work as evidence as
            lacking when compared to the other three. I simply stated that in my
            opinion the Beatles would have been the Beatles with Pete Best at the
            drums and Ringo would have been just another left handed drummer in
            Liverpool. I think Ringo hit the music lottery when he hooked up with
            the Beatles…..which is an opinion Ringo would probably share as he is
            quite humble and understands the role he played very well. None of what I
            am saying is disrespectful or meant as a slight…..I offered opinion
            and backed it with some substantial evidence to support said
            opinion….you can disagree without being so negative.

          • Mike

            “Reply like jerks” = “Disagree with something I wrote.” Next time, put on your big-boy pants before you write something on a public message board. News flash: people may see things differently than you, and may not hesitate to tell you so. In light of what you wrote, saying you have “a basic comprehension problem” was actually a pretty gentle way of characterizing your post.

            This dispute is easily resolved. Simply quote a single sentence in the article that makes any reference whatsoever to Ringo’s solo career. When characterizing his work as “genius,” please quote a single sentence that makes reference to any part of Ringo’s musical efforts other than his drumming. You putting on your pouty face will not change the fact that there are none, and won’t change the fact that your reference to Ringo’s solo career was extraneous and added nothing to this discussion.

            As for this statement: “The genius moniker is certainly not being applied to his drumming skills I hope for as I stated: there is nothing he plays that a 10 year old with lessons couldn’t play.” I know you stated this in another post, and I was prepared to give you a pass on it. But you’ve said it twice, so your pass is revoked.

            Brace yourself for what I’m about to say, in all sincerity: in over two decades of reading online discussions about music, this is in the top five of the most ill-informed statements I’ve ever seen.

            What you’ve failed to realize is that an (exceptionally) talented ten-year-old might be able to DUPLICATE something Ringo has played. But he wouldn’t be able to ORIGINATE it and apply it in the context of a song. That is where Ringo’s talent (if not “genius,” which I’m willing to stipulate is an overused term) lies. And that is what legions of drummers who have followed in his wake have enthusiastically testified to. (Of course, you know more than they do, right?)

            In any case, this is another dispute that is easily resolved. All you have to do is identify a single instance of a rock song recorded prior to 1963 and say “See — that sounds just like Ringo drumming.”

            Of course, you not only won’t be able to fulfill this request — you’ll ignore it, or try to backpedal your way out of it.

            P.S. I almost forgot this howler: “I simply stated that in my opinion the Beatles would have been the Beatles with Pete Best at the drums.”

            You have obviously never listened to Best’s performance of “Love Me Do” on “The Beatles Anthology I.” Do us a favor: listen to that, and then get back to us.

          • Mike MacCormack

            You are pretty much on the money with this, at the same time let’s not forget we are talking about pop music here, not The Holocaust. I’m as nutty as anybody when it comes to Beatles idolatry but if you fillet an earnest fan like this then you are taking criticism to an ugly place. No, that’s too much; you are being less than kind about the bloke’s understanding of something that, while brilliant, is not all that important.

          • Klaatu

            Sorry, but I stand by my response 100% despite your well rehearsed and most likely plagiarized response.
            How one comprehends an article might or might not have anything to do with the conversation that follows. In context my responses were fine. I offered a rebuttal filled with opinion. You basically piled on at the end with a bunch of personally disparaging garbage. This says much more about you as a person that the conversation…….or the competition in your mind you think you won.
            There is no genius to RIngo’s drumming. You do remember…it is just drumming, and it is open to the opinion of the listener. Please tell me how the drumming of RIngo can be considered “genius” when compared to others in the group which have been mentioned earlier.

            Please tell me any song where RIngo played drums that a 10 year old with lessons could not have played.

            Tell me RIngo is a genius and I hold up comparisons like Bruford and Peart….shall we compare?

          • Mike

            “Plagiarized”? Really? Tell me, what brilliant thought process did you use to arrive at that charge? It is a very serious one, and the fact that you’ve decided to pull it out of a certain body orifice tells me that you’re pretty desperate and realize that you’re losing the argument. Please offer some evidence to back this charge up. Be specific…or will you weenie out again?

            “How one comprehends an article might or might not have anything to do with the conversation that follows.” Wow, what meaningless twaddle! I note that you completely ignored my request to you that you point out any passage in the article that discusses anything OTHER than Ringo’s drumming when speaking of his “genius” (which, as I also made clear, is the author’s term, not mine). You sought to criticize the author’s position based on something he never made a single solitary reference to (i.e., Ringo’s solo career). The fact is, you screwed up and presented a flawed argument, and now you want to make that someone else’s fault.

            The fact also is, not only did you not comprehend the article at all, you also didn’t comprehend my response to you. You write “Please tell me any song where RIngo played drums that a 10 year old with lessons could not have played.” I dealt with this matter quite explicitly in the post you’re responding to…and you have again chosen to ignore it, because you have no answer for it.

            I’m not doing your work for you…please go back to my post and reread that passage that begins “What you fail to realize is…”

            When you’ve actually responded to this, then we can talk further. My prediction is, though, that you’ll ignore this passage for a second time and respond with more nonsense.

            Finally, it’s clear now that you’re one of those unfortunate music “fans” who believes that technical skill on an instrument is the be-all and end-all of musicianship. News flash: it is not. As I said in another post, it’s what you DO with those skills in the context of the band you’re in — and the way they contribute to the whole of the band’s music — that matters.

            You’re probably one of those sorry souls who would get off 20 minutes of Neil Peart or Bill Buford playing his drums with no other accompaniment. Knock yourself out. Me, I prefer to listen to the *totality* of the music…the singing, the other instruments, and what to you I’m sure is the most negligible element, the actual SONG.

            You probably also think that The Beatles would have somehow been “better” if Neil Peart had been their drummer. Tell me, do you think this? I predict that when I read your response, I’ll have one of the best laughs I’ve had in a long time.

            (P.S. I’m also waiting for your further justification of your statement “I simply stated that in my opinion the Beatles would have been the Beatles with Pete Best at the drums.” So, did you listen to his drumming on the first Beatles attempt at “Love Me Do”? Hmmm…yet another item you’ve ignored, no doubt to spare yourself even more embarrassment.)

          • Klaatu

            Clarification for those who simply can not grasp 3 dimensional thinking process.

            I am on record saying RIngo was great. I am on record saying he was very influential for the time period. I am on record admitting he had a string of commercial hits post Beatles. I have also acknowledged the role played BY the other 3 Beatles wherein said success could be found….most notably “It don’t come easy” which was entirely composed by George and gifted to RIngo I am on record acknowledging his musical influence and contributions to the Beatles.

            Where you seem to have a problem is with my opinion (on record) that he is no genius. Sorry to have gotten you panties in such a wad dude….I mean really, read your whining drivel.

            There is no embarrassment here for me……actually the one who should be embarrassed is the one who actually thinks he is winning some type of internet super intelligence battle which exist only in his mind. That you can’t allow differing opinions without acting like a jacka$$ is your problem and not mine.

            Insofar as Pete Best is concerned, (Member – All You Need Is Liverpool Music Hall of Fame) why not take a listen to Hayman’s Green, then listen to that terrible tripe RIngo released on Postcards from Paradise. You seem to think one 50 year old recording is sufficient evidence to totally discredit Best when all records indicate he has ample drumming skills (ample is all RIngo ever showed).

            Back to the crux of my opinion. Ringo is no genius, and the author of this article is just revealing his man crush by saying so. As well your obvious display for RIngo far outweighs any realistic option you might have of his drumming skills.

            Insofar as Bruford and Peart are concerned, they actually compose their drum arrangements some of which are so complicated they can’t be reproduced live. Their work is innovative to the point of genius if one could ever call a Rock Drummer genius (still trying to get my hands around that one).

            I do not care for the compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven, but at least I can acknowledge he was a genius……..Ringo was a drummer with very good musical intuitions, a below average composer, and a really bad singer.

            C’Mon Man? I mean really?

    • Sue Smith

      Yeah, I don’t buy the ‘genius’ moniker either.

  • Klaatu

    Has nobody else seen the interview with Ringo on “Later with Jule Holland” (I think it was). Wherein Ringo explained part of his iconic sound was the fact he was a left handed drummer playing on a right handed drum kit. He stated that he would have to actually reach with his left hand during many rolls which gave him a slightly different timing which he used to his advantage. I know I am not making this stuff up……somebody throw me a line here I’m sinking.

    • Brad Byers

      That is how we know Bernard Purdie never “filled” in for him at any time! Nor was Bernard an “A” list session player in the early 1960’s…

    • John Thomson

      It’s well documented. Rest easy…

      • Klaatu

        Thanks I was about to have a myocardial infarction. Actually my post was in response to the many comments here regarding Ringo’s “off timing” which he has clearly explained on several occasions.
        Medical emergency avoided.

  • 1YesterdaysWine1

    “Before going further, it is worth noting that it is Ringo Starr’s short, emphatic drum fill that begins the song that began the ’60s. So there. Rave on about Keith Moon or Charlie Watts but there was Ringo lighting the fuse. ” http://rocktrain.net/song/she-loves-you-song-opened-1960s-big-yes

  • south_coast_boyo

    Ringo is 76 on Thursday (7th July) not 75, he was born in 1940.

    • Duke Amir Often

      Salient.

    • Sue Smith

      He seemed the least “troubled” or pretentious of the Beatles and for that he has my admiration.

    • Bo Williams

      I thought that myself. However, believe it or not, this article was written in 2015!

      • Ivan Ewan

        I thought I was getting deja vu.

  • Duke Amir Often

    Ringo gets it.

    “I was a huge fan when (the EU) started. I’ve lived all over Europe so I thought ‘how great’. But it never really got together, I didn’t think.

    “Maybe in a business way it got together but everyone kept their own flags … it didn’t really turn into a love fest.”

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/ringo-starr-say-brexit-you-11559412

  • Brad Byers

    Yoko – “He was the most influential Beatle”. Really? Every great drum lick of his was devised in the head of Paul McCartney! I love Ringo, but he only did what he was told to do in the studio, and created very little input on his own. Paul McCartney was the MD (Musical Director) of the band and everyone knows it.

    • John Thomson

      Links, please.

    • Mike

      Paul suggested the drum lick for “Ticket to Ride.” Other than this, what is your source for your statement above?

      Furthermore, from your avatar, it appears that you’re a drummer. Tell me, how many bands have you been a member of in which another member, a non-drummer, “told you what to do” at every turn? How long would you have remained a member of such a band? (No doubt you imagine that you’re a better drummer than Ringo, so this question doesn’t apply to you, right? I’m chuckling at this thought already — but go on…do you have the balls to say so?) Your statement is beyond ludicrous.

      It’s amazing the stuff that “everyone knows” that turns out to be in the head of one individual, who confidently projects his warped view of the world on the rest of its populace.

      • Mike

        P.S. There are loads of Beatles outtakes that feature studio chatter by members of the band. So if what you say is true, it ought to be very easy to find some examples of Paul saying “OK, Ringo, here’s the drum part I’ve come up with for this song…play it exactly like this.”

        Would you care to point us to some examples of this?

    • ad1648

      Sounds like another atempt from her to belittle Paul. Ringo is a nice fellow though.

    • Mike MacCormack

      OK young Brad; check out the tracks that McCartney actually drummed on while Ringo was having a wee sulk during the recording of The Beatles – the White Album as we now know it. McCartney is just a dull drummer and that’s all there is to it – Google away!

  • Miss Floribunda Rose

    Ringo’s drumming on ‘She Said She Said’ is truly wondrous–though the best drummer of all is, of course, Budgie from Siouxsie and the Banshees.

  • Jesus sucked gay penis

    I preferred his Thomas The Tank work.

  • IainRMuir

    We’re so lucky to be living in an age packed with geniuses.

    I feel sorry for previous generations.

  • Sue Smith

    Ringo no joke? I’ve never been amused by him, not in the least. In fact, I’ve been seriously concerned about his off-key singing.

    • https://twitter.com/markjschilling freshacconci

      Actually, he’s not a bad singer. He just pales in comparison to the others. There are certainly worse singers out there than Ringo, and singing wasn’t even his main role. He sang lead on three number one hits (one with the Beatles, two solo). Not bad in the end.

      • Sue Smith

        Yes, I’m grumbling about nothing! Ignore.

  • Polly Radical

    You should have concluded with a summary of Ringo’s successes after the Beatles.

    I mean, it wouldn’t take long, would it?

    • Richard Malcolm

      Ringo had a stretch of a few years as a passably popular journeyman solo artist and ad hoc group collaborations, which isn’t such a shabby record.

      But then again, how impressive were the post-Beatles records of Paul, John and George? George managed a single album, his first, that’s received enough “genius” accolades to matter, followed by an erratic stream of occasional mid-level hits mixed with dross. John managed a couple of respected albums before his demons and exhaustion got the better of him. Paul was the only one with serious and lasting popular success, and yet he consistently came in for more critical drubbing than any of the others.

      • https://twitter.com/markjschilling freshacconci

        And yet here, you make some sense.

      • ad1648

        True. As solo artists the former Beatles were not anywhere near the crativity of other contemporary sucsessfull artists of the 1970s. The history of Lennon as a solo artist was rewirutten completely the day ater his death. By 1980 he was more or less a has-been and there was little interest in what this former Beatles was doing. Most of his solo albums were mediocre at best. In short – his solo career was mostly a flop – until his death.

        • Greg Benson

          He had only ten years (five of which were in retirement) to make his solo mark. “Plastic Ono Band” is up there with the best Beatles albums. “Imagine” is chock full of great songs; in fact the title track may be remembered longer than any Beatles song. Booze and coke derailed him a while, but even in ’73-’75 he wrote some (sadly overproduced) gems. He was just getting his mojo back when he died, and I think the ’80s-’90s were going to be very fertile for him. How can we know for sure? But I think “Give Peace a Chance,” “Power to the People,” “Instant Karma,” “Mother,” “Remember,” “I Found Out,” “Love,” “Happy Christmas (War is Over),” “Imagine,” “Gimme Some Truth,” “Mind Games,” “One Day at a Time,” “Steel and Glass,” “Woman,” “Beautiful Boy,” “Watching the Wheels,” “I’m Losing You” and “Grow Old Along with Me” don’t look too bad on a resume that spans only 5-10 years. Who over the past twenty years has produced such a volume of vital songs over such a short period of time?

          • Mike MacCormack

            Plastic Ono band, far from being up with the best Beatles albums is not even down with their weakest; Let It Be. And all Lennon the tracks you mention lack that vital Beatle ingredient; mysterious and inexplicable charm.

          • Mike

            Disagree strongly. Please don’t diss Plastic Ono Band because it is un-Beatle-like. That was the whole point, wasn’t it? It is an entirely different animal, and a very powerful one. So in many ways, this is yet another apples to oranges comparison.

            And really, what is the point of saying one album is “better than” another? Sure, a Beatles album will be better than a Donnie and Marie album. But I’ve never seen a purpose in pitting greatness against greatness and trying to declare a winner (as someone else did in this thread with Who’s Next, an album I love too). It’s a foolish exercise.

          • Greg Benson

            Thanks for the sanity. I often feel as though people make assumptions about the solo albums without having heard them.

        • Athelstane

          The reviews (and sales) for Double Fantasy (A decent pop album, but not in the class of his early work, and weighed down by Yoko’s tracks) sure got a lot better after his death.

      • mgkimsal

        i’ve said for years that the value of the beatles was the combination of their talents – musically, songwriting, etc. They supported each other, even if unconsciously, and their albums were always collections of each person’s best efforts.

        What we always saw in the beatles from each album was 2-4 *great* contributions from each band member. it happened that because each one was already good, and you had a collection, the albums were always *really* good.

        look at the solo albums. each one has… I’d argue, 2-3 *good/solid* tracks, and … arguable filler on each one. It’s *hard* for a single artist to crank out 10-14 really great songs/performances on a regular basis. They never did it in their solo careers, but as the beatles, they didn’t have to. Each had to contribute a handful of really great stuff, and the time they would have spent on ‘filler’ got channeled in to supporting the others’ efforts, which also were their best efforts at the time.

        it’s probably been pointed out already, but that’s my thinking on their solo stuff. Most of their solo album tracks aren’t *bad*, but there’s always a couple of standouts on each one. The dynamic of 3 talented writers consistently combining their best efforts in to single albums was lost, and we’ve rarely seen any other groups come close in the 40+ years since.

        • Athelstane

          look at the solo albums. each one has… I’d argue, 2-3 *good/solid* tracks, and … arguable filler on each one.

          I might even go further than that. McCartney had maybe two, three tops, albums that might deserve the title “great” (Ram, Band on the Run, Flaming Pie), though none really in the class of the Beatles’ best efforts. Lennon had two right of the gate (though again, neither in the class of the best Beatles releases), and then fizzled. Harrison dumped his stored up catalog of songs into All Things Must Pass, which might well be the best post-Beatles record (if you throw out the last third of jams). And Ringo, well…

          Otherwise, that’s a fair characterization of the rest of their catalogs, and sometimes they didn’t even hit that mark.

          The Beatles really were more than the sum of their parts. And yes, Ringo, while not a genius like Lennon or McCartney or even Harrison, was an important and underrated part of making that sum so great. They drove each other to be better.

  • boomslang74

    Note to James Woodall: look up “genius” in a dictionary and read the definition over and over until you understand it. One of the most over-used and abused words in modern journalism.

    • Tom Sykes

      He is an Icon.

  • Joe Horizon

    The word “genius” is subjective. Everyone has an opinion about what that means. There is no objective definition. Ringo was quite important. There it all is for all to hear.

  • Richard Malcolm

    The flavor of a lot of the comments here brings back to mind a recent twitterstorm on whether the Beatles are badly overrated. And it’s obvious most readers here seem more interested in discussing the Beatles’ legacy than Ringo Starr’s (valuable and underrated, but not genius-level) contribution to same – a legacy increasingly in question, if not downright ignored.

    The common refrain you hear from Beatle-defenders is that the Fab Four were revolutionary, indeed, more revolutionary than any other band in popular music history. And that’s a defensible assertion. The problem is that it turns out that the thing they revolutionized turned out to be a lot less important than most Westerners (or at least the ones able to spill ink or electrons) realized, and revolutionizing, even at the Beatles’ magnitude, is a less noteworthy or lasting achievement about a thing that’s so intensely and rapidly protean.

    All of which makes me increasingly confident in the suspicion that, if there’s still a civilization worth speaking of three centuries from now, it will still be playing and listening to Mozart in substantial numbers, but not anything written by Lennon/McCartney or Harrison. Or, yes, Ringo Starr.

    • https://twitter.com/markjschilling freshacconci

      Oh, you do love the sound of your own voice, don’t you? Trouble is, you don’t actually say much: “it turns out that the thing they revolutionized turned out to be a lot
      less important than most Westerners…realized, and revolutionizing…is a less noteworthy or lasting achievement about a
      thing that’s so intensely and rapidly protean.” That’s cute but says nothing in particular. As for their legacy, I choose to be optimistic over something neither you nor I can ever know. We’re still listening to the Beatles 50+ years later when many others have faded. I hope to live another 30 or 40 years so we will have to wait and see where they stand in the 80 or 90 years since their heyday.

      • Richard Malcolm

        I’ll just observe that I’m a lot less ubiquitous (fortunately for everyone) than self-absorbed Baby Boomer scribes. They’re the ones who were and are most invested in building up the legacy of the Beatles. You can take your guesses as to why that is/was. And that’s probably a big part of what younger generations are pushing back against. Or at least, when they think about the Beatles at all.

        I actually like the Beatles. I own their full catalog. They were superbly inventive melodists. They’re just not geniuses on par with Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi or Chopin – which is, unfortunately, what way too many of their press clippings were claiming for them in their heyday.

        • Duke Amir Often

          You also forget that people used to be sniffy about Mozart, for years and years. Many fought against his inclusion in the canon on the grounds of his supposed fleeting appeal.

          • Richard Malcolm

            Well, I think that’s overstated. But enough time has passed that there’s a clearer assessment of Mozart’s legacy.

            In another two centuries, what will be the legacy of the Beatles? Perhaps it will have more staying power than I am crediting. But I strongly doubt that the breathless assessments of ink-stained wretches of the 60’s and 70’s will be validated. There’s already enough dissent today.

          • Duke Amir Often

            Bad pop journalism is inevitable particularly when the records lasted two and a quarter minutes in those days. No point in trying to write about that.

            As the records got longer, the articles got longer and worse.

    • Duke Amir Often

      You are not comparing like with like. The Beatles made records, Mozart didn’t. It’s a musical performance preserved forever and will be enjoyed forever.

      • Richard Malcolm

        That’s true – Mozart never had access to recording equipment.

        But what the Beatles are most praised for is their songwriting ability and (in their later years) their facility with studio effects, not their performance skills per se. The latter becomes less impressive as technology advances and other artists move beyond their studio feats – and the former will have to be measured on its own merits once their cultural context has faded away for good.

        • Duke Amir Often

          Performance wise, it’s mainly about the singing; particularly the rhythm guitarist’s singing but also the ensemble singing. But I’m not sure that that the Beatle’s work can be deconstructed in that way; in to composition, performance, technical recording standards and anything else.

          The records are the output of the Beatles and that’s what will last. The records include all disciplines.

        • http://www.wahwah45s.com/ Wah Wah 45s

          I have to say, as a producer and engineer, as time moves on and technology advances the Beatles achievements in the studio look more impressive, not less. The ingenuity and experimentation is still incredibly noteworthy and techniques created then are still used now, all be it potentially with virtual emulation. On that point, I would have to disagree wholeheartedly.

          And by no means am I a blind Beatles lover.

    • Mike

      And how “substantial” are the total number of sales of recordings of Mozart’s works when compared with the total number of sales of Beatles works (not even counting the numberless covers of their songs by other artists)? For that matter, how substantial are sales of any classical works as compared with pop ones?

      Yeah, I know, commercial success is not equivalent to artistic merit, yada-yada. But there will always be a divide between what critics think and what the public thinks. Yes, the public can be wrong about some things, but what is indisputable is that pop music is more important to vastly larger numbers of people than classical is. Similarly, what the critics think has artistic merit is meaningless to these larger numbers. That counts for something.

      The fact remains that the worldwide audience for classical works will always be a small subset of the audience for music of all kinds. If you believe otherwise, you’re dreaming. I’m just as confident as you are that the prediction made in your last paragraph will prove to be baseless.

    • Q-Pantagruel

      In three centuries time the only music people will still be listening to will be by Pierre Boulez – he knew that truly great music has to be much better than it sounds.

      • polly parrot

        Rubbish. The silly sods will be in a line doing the birdy song and you know it.

    • Mike Neely

      Richard, They wrote more original melodies than Mozart and Beethoven put together. Their music is timeless and will continue to be played through the ages, whereas classical music’s audience is dwindling. Have they left a legacy? Well Richard, contrary to your opinion, yes they have, just as the great popular composers of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s are still listened to and played today, and no doubt into the future, so the Beatles will be played and listened to by future generations.
      They took popular music to new heights, replacing old three and four chord changes with sophisticated sequences and alternative tunings, and adding lyrics that meant something.
      So, revolutionary? Most definitely.

      • Richard Malcolm

        Well: There’s more to music than melodies.

    • miranda_c

      Your skepticism is laudable; I’m saying that genuinely. But they’re the real deal. I’m a European composer with a phd in music history and it’s been as fascinating for me to watch the Beatles enter the canon the way a Beethoven or a Mozart did as it must be for NASA to watch the formation of a galaxy.

      (For the academic explanation, you’re correct that they’re “revolutionary” in a superficial way, but behind that image is the most conservative deployment of the constructive elements of music’s grammar from the common practice period. Their legacy will be the one-two punch of a coherent synthesis of all extant musical styles (a la Bach) and the authoritative witness to decolonization, i.e. “world music” (a la Mozart): it convincingly argues that structural harmony as a mediating level between the local and large-scale architecture doesn’t have to come from a socioeconomic position of privilege. There’s no way the future melomanes will miss the 20-measure-long triple retransition in ‘Day in the Life’ which prepares the final chord in a way that Beethoven would have. The real question is how they did it, since they weren’t musically educated, but I guess that’s the mystery of real talent for you. We can kind of see how they’re pulling apart from normal pop music already: it took so long for them to be streaming, they still outsold almost all living musicians in the first decade of the 21st century or by some measures did outsell all other living musicians, etc.)

      • Klaatu

        Thanks, I have been in the Islands for the last week and a half, back to work today and I needed a good chuckle.

        • miranda_c

          My girlfriend just threw me out of the apartment so I could use a laugh as well. Anyway I write these things as a “warmup” before I get to work. Love the first sentence.

          “Your skepticism is laudable, Mr Bond.” His curt Teutonic laugh rang sharply through the foyer and bounced against the sleek metal walls of the vault. Bond knew this type of wall all too well. High strength-to-weight ratio; serious corrosion resistance. Environmentally friendly. Those guys put the vowels in “serious.” The alloy maximizes performance while minimizing total lifetime costs — pretty much the precise opposite of M’s accusations. He first encountered the things in Lucerne, at a Home Depot. He’d never step foot in one. He’d wandered in with the intention of purchasing one thing only: a triple A battery for Moneypenny’s wireless mouse. But he was overwhelmed by the vastness of the inventory and the cheer of the company culture’s customer service, so different from British secret service.

          But that was last week. This is this week — if that. “It’s laudable, and I’m saying that genuinely.” Goldfinger smiled politely, grabbed a corkscrew from the table, and walked across the loft. He was aiming for the Margaux. On the way, he casually performed Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.” Bond had to admit the bastard’s mastery of the choreography was complete. He made a mental note to tell M.

          “Dear M,” the mental note ran. “The bastard’s mastery of the choreography to Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda is complete. Some might say flawless. Seek other points of vulnerability.”

          “But they’re the real deal,” Goldfinger continued. “I’m a European composer myself. I mean — you know, I dabble, and with a phd in music history it’s been as fascinating for me to watch the Beatles enter the canon the way a Beethoven or a Mozart did as it must be for NASA to watch the formation of a galaxy. Oddjob!”

          The Korean character portrayed by a Japanese Hawaiian who by all accounts was one of the most gracious gentlemen to have walked this sceptred isle reached up to his hat, took it by the rim, and flung it sideways with all his force, which is measured in the SI unit of newtons and may be with you. There was a loud clang, which is related to the first Greek word I ever learned, κλαγγή, which in turn made me fall desperately in love with the language and culture. But this isn’t about me. For an instant the rim of the bowler hat stuck an inch deep in the Home Depot 70% recycable raw materials panel Goldfinger had indicated. Then it fell and clattered — ratataratatachetateta — on the floor.

          “A most ingeniously concealed weapon, I’m sure you’ll agree,” the big man chirped, with a starlingly ringing singsong sigh that startled Bond startlingly, and moved whatever reverie of which he’d been the momentary not entirely unwilling victim out of his mind as deliberately as a lovely graduate student in Indiana somewhere — at that very moment, perhaps — moved Freud to the back of the Plath while silently insisting to herself in that tone she borrowed from Segolene Royale it had nothing to do with the offhand announcement just made by the frankly voluptuous dinner guest she was presently expecting that she was “bi curious curious.” But that’s not our story. It’s another story. Better, yes; ours, no.

          “Yes, indeed.” Bond smiled with equal politeness. “Indeed. Useful chap to have around.”

          “Indeed. Yes,” Goldfinger remarked in response to Bond’s equal politeness with if anything even more equal politeness. “Very useful.”

          This is our story. Ours, yes; good, eh.

    • polly parrot

      Now as a writer I would put you in the mitch mitchell class, a lot of flower with very little point to most of it. But it makes you look very impressive EH.

      • Richard Malcolm

        The point is simple: The Beatles were a fine and even revolutionary pop band. But that’s all they were, and that something they were just wasn’t nearly as important or gifted as most educated Baby Boomers thought.

        Because, at the end of the day, pop music just isn’t that important. It’s a creature of youth – and youth is fleeting.

        • Dylan Smith

          I wouldn’t write them off that quickly. I wasn’t even born when the Beatles broke up, but the Beatles are still one of my favorites. I know people who weren’t even born when I started listening to them who rate them, too. The Beatles have managed to span generations and they aren’t going to die out with the boomers.

    • GStorm

      I would disagree. Firstly, the Beatles were from a recorded era, at the dawn of advanced recording techniques in particular. That alone makes them lasting despite the fact they weren’t virtuosos. Secondly, melody-wise they are elite in that regard and their arrangements and orchestration were brilliant. They caught the moment and made a lasting impression on all music that has followed. Mozart might have had fun playing in a tavern somewhere but we never heard him play and not with a band certainly.

  • MT09

    Who’s Next is far better than any Beatles Album. I would suggest that any references to genius be tempered.

  • John

    Ringo is one of the very few drummers with a trademark sound. There’s no mistaking who’s playing when Ringo is sitting behind the kit. That’s the mark of an artist. Non-drummers typically dismiss him as a lightweight. He’s anything but.

  • colchar

    Is this a reprint form last year? If not, shouldn’t the writer understand that Ringo turns 76 today, not 75?

  • Bob Singleton

    He was born 7/7/1940 I don’t claim to be a mathematician but I think that makes him 76.

  • styants64

    We always rated Ringo back then his drumming was the backbone of the Beatles.

  • polly parrot

    He was the first drummer to use opened hi hat cymbals as a power house ride cymbal. I always rated him as the best rock drummer of hes time. Very under rated was Ringo. He fell victim to a few of the very worst kind of musicians, Drummers that were competing like athletes instead of being part of their own bands……There are a lot of “musicians” like that. They are a pain in the @rse and usually talk better than they play, their live performances being bloody awful and all over the place, most drummers that come into this category were too busy to give the rest of the band any room and unable to hold a beat. in the music word once some nasty little “shining star ” bad mouths your playing it spreads like a disease and even those that have never picked up a pair of sticks in their lives suddenly have an opinion.

  • GStorm

    I read a quote by George Martin that he was willing to take on the group but that their drummer (then Best) had to go. So he accepted when Ringo was added.

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