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Ringo Starr

Richard Starkey Jr, MBE (born 7 July 1940 in Liverpool, England), known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor, best known as the drummer of The Beatles. He was the oldest member of the band, and the last to join the now familiar ‘Fab Four’ line up.

While he was sometimes the least visible member of the band, Ringo’s drumming style played a pivotal role in the music played and recorded by The Beatles. He filled the role he was hired for in 1962, then went on to establish a new approach to rhythm in popular music that some cl ...read more

Richard Starkey Jr, MBE (born 7 July 1940 in Liverpool, England), known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor, best known as the drummer of The Beatles. He was the oldest member of the band, and the last to join the now familiar ‘Fab Four’ line up.

While he was sometimes the least visible member of the band, Ringo’s drumming style played a pivotal role in the music played and recorded by The Beatles. He filled the role he was hired for in 1962, then went on to establish a new approach to rhythm in popular music that some claim continues to grow in its significance and influence with every decade since The Beatles recorded their music. Ringo is left-handed yet plays a right-handed kit; his tendency to lead with his left hand contributes to his distinctive drumming style.

Lennon said of Starr. “ Ringo was a star in his own right in Liverpool before we even met. He was a professional drummer who sang and performed and had Ringo Starr-time and he was in one of the top groups in Britain but especially in Liverpool before we even had a drummer … Ringo’s a damn good drummer..

Drummer Steve Smith said. “ Before Ringo, drum stars were measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity. Ringo’s popularity brought forth a new paradigm in how the public saw drummers. We started to see the drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect. One of Ringo’s great qualities was that he composed unique, stylistic drum parts for the Beatles songs. His parts are so signature to the songs that you can listen to a Ringo drum part without the rest of the music, and still identify the song..

Many drummers list Starr as an influence, including Max Weinberg of the E Street Band, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters/Nirvana, Danny Carey of Tool, Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel’s band, Phil Collins, Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater and others. According to Collins, “Starr is vastly underrated. The drum fills on the song “A Day in the Life” are very complex things. You could take a great drummer today and say, ‘I want it like that.’ They wouldn’t know what to do..

Lennon, McCartney and Harrison have all said that Starr was the best rock drummer in the world. McCartney took over the drums on “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “Dear Prudence”, the first two tracks on the White Album (1968) after Starr had walked out, disgusted with the band’s tensions and bored with waiting around to contribute. He did not return for two weeks until the other three Beatles urged him to come back. He spent the fortnight with actor Peter Sellers on his yacht in Piraeus, where he wrote “Octopus’ Garden”. Lennon sent telegrams to Starr, and Harrison set up flowers all over the studio for Starr’s return saying “Welcome home”. McCartney sent Starr a postcard on 31 January 1969 (the day after the band’s performance on the roof of Apple Studios) stating: ‘You are the greatest drummer in the world. Really.’

Starr generally sang at least one song on each studio album, as part of establishing the vocal personality of all four members. In some cases, Lennon or McCartney would write the lyrics and melody especially for him, as Lennon did with “Good Night” from the White Album, and as he and McCartney did for “Yellow Submarine” from Revolver (1966). Often these melodies would be tailored to Starr’s baritone vocal range. Although some have criticised Starr’s vocal range when comparing him to his band mates, he turned in strong performances on par with other baritone pop stars, making an invaluable vocal and marketing contribution to the group. Starr’s backing vocals can be heard on songs such as “All Together Now”, “Carry That Weight”, and “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill”.

After the breakup of The Beatles on 10 April 1970, Starr released two albums before the end of that year. Sentimental Journey featured Starr’s renditions of many pre-rock standards and included the production talents of Quincy Jones, George Martin and McCartney, among others. His next album, Beaucoups of Blues, put Starr in a country context, and included renowned Nashville session musician Pete Drake. He scored hit singles with “It Don’t Come Easy” (1971) and “Back Off Boogaloo” (1972), the latter of which was his biggest UK hit, peaking at #2. He achieved two #1 hits in the US, with “Photograph” (co-written with Harrison) and “You’re Sixteen”, both in 1973.

He also participated in The Concert For Bangladesh organised by Harrison in 1971, as well as drumming on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and Living in the Material World, Lennon’s John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, and Yoko Ono’s early solo work. Indeed, his song “Early 1970” (the B-side of “It Don’t Come Easy”) voiced a hope that he could remain friendly and play music with all three of his former Beatles band mates.

Starr remains the only Beatle to have failed to top the UK singles charts as a solo artist, although he did chart two number one singles in the US. He is also the only Beatle to have failed to top the UK album listings, his highest position being #7, achieved in the UK with both Sentimental Journey and Ringo; the latter reached #2 in the US charts, giving Starr his highest album position there.

Ringo, now age 70, continues to perform and release music, his most recent album being 2010's Y Not. « hide

Similar Bands: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Harry Nilsson

LPs
Ringo 2012
01/31/2012

2.5
14 Votes
Y Not
2010

2.6
19 Votes
Liverpool 8
2008

2.9
10 Votes
Choose Love
2005

3.1
10 Votes
Ringo Rama
2003

3.4
8 Votes
I Wanna Be Santa Claus
1999

3.5
6 Votes
Vertical Man
1998

3.2
6 Votes
Time Takes Time
1992

3.6
10 Votes
Old Wave
1983

1.7
7 Votes
Stop and Smell the Roses
1981

3.3
5 Votes
Bad Boy
1978

2
5 Votes
Ringo the 4th
1977

2.1
7 Votes
Ringo's Rotogravure
1976

2.9
7 Votes
Goodnight Vienna
1974

3.6
14 Votes
Ringo
1973

4
30 Votes
Beaucoups of Blues
1970

4
10 Votes
Sentimental Journey
1970

3.3
8 Votes
Live Albums
Live At The Greek Theatre 2008
2010

2.5
1 Votes
Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band Live 2006
2008

3
1 Votes
Live at Soundstage
2007

3
1 Votes
Ringo Starr and Friends
2006

3
1 Votes
Tour 2003
2004

2.3
2 Votes
Ringo & His New All-Starr Band
2002

3
1 Votes
VH1 Storytellers
1998

3.3
2 Votes
Ringo Starr and His Third All-Starr Band
1997

4
1 Votes
Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band Volume 2
1993

3
1 Votes
Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band
1990

3
1 Votes
Compilations
Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr
2007

3.8
4 Votes
The Anthology... So Far
2001

3.3
2 Votes
Starr Struck: Best of Ringo Starr, Vol. 2
1989

2.8
2 Votes
Blast From Your Past
1975

4.2
3 Votes

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