The Beauty's Dawn of the Climbing Aspiration-Heart
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Ringo Starr

An Appreciation by Sadhak

"Ringo is Ringo. He's every bit as warm, unassuming, funny and kind as he seems.
He was quite simply the heart of the Beatles"
- John Lennon

 

Ringo was the oldest and youngest Beatle.

In terms of earth years, Ringo is the oldest Beatle. He was born, an only child, to parents Richard Starkey and Elsie Gleave on July 7th, 1940. As was the tradition with the working class, the first-born child was given the name of the father and so he was named Richard. He was called Ritchie by his family and friends, just as his father had been. He is three months older than John, who is followed in years by Paul, born in 1942 and then George, born in 1943.

He was called the youngest Beatle as he was the last piece of the puzzle to be fit in place: he was invited to join at the dawn of their recording career in 1962. History records that John and Paul had first met on July 6th' 1957, when young Paul had attended a garden fete to see John's skiffle group the Quarry Men perform. George joined them the following year. They had had a long line of unsuccessful drummers until they met Ringo.

It was said that John was the Smart Beatle, Paul was the Cute Beatle, George was the Quiet Beatle but Ringo was the Loveable Beatle. Ringo gave hope to awkward kids everywhere. Ringo never created problems for anybody: he was everyone's friend. It is said of the Beatles that the total was greater than the sum of the parts. If we take flour, eggs, butter and sugar or honey, mix them together and bake them we can create Cake. In the delicious cake that was the Beatles, Ringo was the honey.


Early Years

He was born at home and grew up in an area of Liverpool called the Dingle. This was in the poor part of town, an area not far from the docks. His parents lived on Madryn St., a dismal row of low two story terrace houses. "We've always been just ordinary poor working class on both sides of the family", says Ringo.

When Ritchie was just 3 years of age, his parents divorced. He saw his father perhaps only 3 times after that.

He began school at St. Silas's, a red brick building built in 1870, just around the comer from where he lived. At 6 years of age he developed appendicitis which progressed to peritonitis. He was taken to hospital and had 2 operations. He went into a coma and didn't come out of it for 10 weeks. During his stay in hospital, he fell out of bed while handing a birthday gift to the boy in the bed next to him and suffered from concussion. He remained in hospital for just over 12 months.

With a whole year in hospital, he was completely behind in his schoolwork and was unable to read or write. It was a kind neighbor, Marie Maguire, who was 4 years older, who took the time to teach young Ritchie. Twice a week she would give him lessons and his mother Elsie would give her pocket money for doing so.

Says Marie "I always liked him. He was just so happy and easy going, just like his mother. He had lovely big blue eyes".

When Ritchie was almost 13 his Mother married a painter and decorator by the name of Harry Graves. Elsie and Harry exchanged wedding vows on April 17th, 1953.
(Which coincidentally, is my birthday). Harry was a very good man and he and Ritchie loved one another very dearly. Says Ringo "I learned gentleness from Harry.
There's never any need for violence"

Soon after this, at age 13, the young boy suffered his second major illness. He caught a cold, which turned to pleurisy, which turned to effusion of the lung. This time he spent 2 years in hospital, coming out at age 15. At this age, he should have officially finished his schooling, but he had missed so much. He was very small, weak looking, undernourished and uneducated.

It was however during this second stay in hospital that the secret to his future began to unfold. The children in the hospital ward would sometimes play music together.
Ringo said, "I would never play unless I had a drum".

"He'd had a difficult childhood says Marie Maguire, the girl who had taught him to read, "with a broken home and two long illnesses. I just hoped he'd be happy. Not successful or anything, just happy"

Ringo himself never remembers being unhappy: he feels that he had a very good childhood.

After several unsuccessful attempts at employment, Harry managed to find Ritchie a job as an apprentice Fitter and Turner. By this time the Skiffle craze was sweeping England. Skiffle was a musical form popularized by Lonnie Donegan. In England, it was the precursor to Beat Music or Rock and Roll. It is a simple music requiting voice, acoustic guitar, perhaps banjo, washboard, tea-chest bass and drums to play it.

In short, with simple and home-made instruments and no deep knowledge of music required, it was easily accessible to teenagers and was a whole lot of fun. In another part of Liverpool, teenagers John Lennon, Paul McCarmey and George Harrison were playing their own skiffle. Here in the Dingle, Richard Starkey Jr. was smitten.
His stepfather Harry bought him his first set of drums - for which he paid 12 pounds in London and then brought them back on the train to Liverpool. At first, Ritchie's mother Elsie was concerned that he was neglecting his studies at Technical College in the evenings. Harry however, was all encouragement saying "It gives the boy an interest". Ritchie joined a group called the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group.

Skiffle soon gave way to Rock and Roll and amplified instruments. He soon wanted a better set of drums and found one he liked for 100 pounds. He borrowed the 50 pounds deposit from his grandfather and paid him back faithfully at 1 pound per week from his wages.

He soon progressed and joined a group called Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, who soon became Liverpool's number 1 group. At sometime in this period he began to wear many tings on his fingers. I was once told that it was his own mother who first called him Ringo, but I have not seen it written to confirm this. In any case, the name stuck. He enjoyed it very much because it also sounded like a cowboy name. Later he adopted the stage name Starr so that his drum solo could be announced as Starr Time.
So Richard Starkey became Ringo Starr.

With only one year of his apprenticeship to complete, Rory Storm's group was offered a 13 week engagement to play at Butlin "s Holiday Camps. His Job only paid 6 pounds per week and he was earning a further 8 pounds playing at nights. Butlins offered 20 pounds per week and so, against the advice of his family, Ringo became a full-time professional drummer.

 

The Beatles and Ringo Meet


In August 1960, the Beatles left Liverpool for Hamburg in Germany, where they were booked to play at a club called the Indra. Here they would play from 7pm until 2 or 3 in the morning, 7 days per week.

The group at this time consisted of John, Paul, George, Stuart Sutcliffe on bass guitar and a drummer named Pete Best. Already they had been through many changes. It all began in March 1957, with John's group called the Quarry Men, named in honor of his high school: Quarry Bank High. In July of that year, John met Paul and invited him to join. It was Paul who recommended George. At first, John thought he was too young, but he was able to impress John with his guitar playing. What cemented the relationship was the fact that John's guardian, his Aunt Mimi, didn't like George's pink shirt, pointy toed shoes or his hair. Stuart Sutcliffe was John's best friend from art school. He was a very talented artist, who had sold one of his paintings to a Liverpool art collector for an unprecedented 65 pounds. John convinced him to spend the money on a bass guitar. The only problem was that Stuart was not at all a very good musician. Pete Best's mother ran a small basement club for teenagers, called the Casbah. Pete had bought a new set of drums and Paul invited him to join. Until meeting Pete, they had not been able to find a permanent drummer.

After an incarnation as the Quarry Men, for a while they called themselves Johnny and the Moondogs. Still unsatisfied with their name, Stuart suggested the Beetles, as they were all fans of American singer Buddy Holly, whose group was called the Crickets. John, always fond of a pun, suggested it should be spelled with an "a ", as to suggest what they played, which was called Beat Music. However, one promoter suggested that the name needed a little more flash and so for a time they were called the Silver Beatles. It was when they went to Hamburg that they dropped the Silver and became simply Beatles forever.

Stuart decided to leave the group in Hamburg to study his art further; he had met a very good teacher there but also he had met a girl called Astrid Kirchher and they had become engaged to be married. Astrid was a photographer and is credited with having invented the famed Beatle haircut. She was a big influence on them, particularly in their sense of style. Stuart however died tragically of a brain hemorrhage. This was more than probably the result of having been savagely beaten and kicked in the head, after a performance in a particularly rough area outside of Liverpool one evening. For John, it was another tragedy, which his young life had already seen too much off.
First his father had deserted his mother; then his mother had been killed by a drunken hit and run driver; then his surrogate father, his beloved uncle George had died unexpectedly and now his very best friend had been taken from him. Astrid was plunged into her deepest grief but John was at least able to give her a little consolation by telling her "You can die with him; or you can go on with your life which is what he would want you to do".

After several months of grueling performances at the Indra, the manager, Bruno Koschmider moved them to his larger club called the Kaiserkeller. Here they were to share the stage, alternating one hour sets for each group, with another British group, who were none other than Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

"We all knew Rory, of course," said George. "He was the big star of Liverpool, very flash and wild on stage." George knew the group well because at one stage he was thinking of joining them. The drummer of Rory's group spent a lot of his sitting out time watching the Beatles and requesting songs from them. "I didn't like the look of Rory's drummer myself," said George. "He looked the nasty one, with his little grey streak of hair. But the nasty one turned out to be Ringo, the nicest of them all. Ringo and the Beatles soon became fast friends.

The Beatles stayed in Hamburg that time for 4 months. Ringo frequently spent time with them and also played a few stand-in engagements. During that time, they made their first recording of a ballad called Summertime, in a small studio, with John, Paul, George and from Rory Storm's group, Lou Walters and Ringo.

Probably because Bruno Koschmider had found out that the Beatles were considering playing for a rival club owner, the Police were mysteriously informed that George Harrison was only 17 years of age and he was deported. The others soon followed him home. Paul and Pete had to spend several hours themselves in Police custody, being accused by Bruno, of having set fire to their squalid accommodations. (It was an accident.)

In March of the following year, they returned to Hamburg to play at the Top Ten Club. This time they stayed for another 5 months. Sometime during May of 1961, they were invited to record, with visiting British singer Tony Sheridan, on a song called My Bonnie.

 

The Beatles Take the Next Step


When the Beatles returned to Liverpool, no one was prepared for the amazingly improved group that they had become. Long hours of playing and entertaining the tough German audiences had turned them into true professionals.

They soon attracted a large and loyal following, playing at many places in and around Liverpool, but most importantly, at a small basement club on Mathew St, called the Cavern. Between July of 1961 and August 1963, they played at the Cavern 293 times. One day a young man walked into a record store called Nems - North End Music Stores - and asked for a record called My Bonnie, played by a group called the Beatles. The manager of the store, Mr. Brian Epstein, prided himself on knowing everything about popular music, yet he had never heard of this record. He was told that the Beatles played regularly only a couple of blocks away, at the Cavern Club.
So Brian went to see them. He could not believe what he was seeing and hearing: he was totally enthralled.

Brian's family owned a chain of furniture stores in and around Liverpool. He had spent a brief period in London studying and performing in the theatre. He had returned to Liverpool, uncertain of where his life was heading, when he was given the record department, a division of the family electrical appliance store, to run. Then he met the Beatles. He approached them and asked to be their manager.

Brian had a keen sense of promotion and always wanted only the very best for his boys. He gave them a steady hand at the helm. First, he began by cleaning- up their act. He obtained matching suits for them to wear. He insisted that they should stop eating and drinking on stage and that they should plan their program before stepping onto the stage. He set about finding more prestigious bookings and then, most importantly, set out to secure them a recording contract.

What Brian went through is yet another lesson in perseverance. He went to London and contacted many recording companies. He received many rejections. Such was his faith in the Beatles that he refused to give up. Finally, he secured a recording audition with the Decca company in West Hampstead, London. This audition took place on New Year's Day of 1962.

By then John and Paul already had quite a large catalog of songs they had composed together. Rightly or wrongly, Brian insisted that they play only standards and not their own songs. The recording seemed to go well but the reply from Decca was quite disappointing - one that executive Dick Rowe would regret for the rest of his life:
"No thank you. Guitar bands are on the way out and besides, we would rather have someone local." (That is to say, we want someone from London, not from some faraway, uncultured place like Liverpool.)

Brian called a meeting with the Beatles to tell them the bad news and John quipped "Right then, try Embassy!" Embassy was a company that made low- budget copies of popular hit songs and sold them cheaply through the Woolworth's chain.

Brian persisted and using the tape of the Decca sessions, finally met George Martin.
(Now Sir George) He ran a small label, called Parlophone, which was a subsidiary of EMI. George Martin, a true gentleman himself, was most impressed with the Beatles' gentleman manager, who was not at all like the typical beat group managers he was used to dealing with. He agreed to give them an audition.

George Martin had taught himself piano as a boy. After leaving school, he joined the Air Force, from which he was honorably discharged. He then studied music seriously, majoring in Piano and Oboe, before coming to work for EMI. At Parlophone he had mainly produced comedy recordings, notably Peter Sellers and the Goons. Being both classically trained and adept at having to bring unusual ideas to fruition, he was at last a perfect piece of this puzzle. He was to become their musical mentor and perfect partner in the recording process, so much so, that I am one among many who consider him the fifth Beatle. With their own unique British sense ofhumour, the Beatles were already huge fans of Peter Sellers and the Goons and were delighted to meet George Martin.

George Martin was not particularly impressed with the songs they had written so far, but as individuals, he said, "They were charming people." He would sign them to a recording contract. There was however one proviso: they must find another drummer. Pete Best did not have the capacity to fulfill the potential that he could see in them.

For John, Paul and George, the choice was simple and obvious: their old friend, fellow Liverpudlian, Ringo Starr.

 

Ringo Becomes a Beatle


Ringo was well liked by all of them and was an excellent drummer. Brian Epstein had the uncomfortable task of telling Pete that his services were no longer required. It was John, who called Ringo and asked him to join. For Ringo -just as it had been before the finalizing factor of his decision was a simple matter of economics. He had had an

offer from another band at that time. They were offering 20 pounds per week; the Beatles offered him 25 pounds.

Ringo became a Beatle. Four brothers had found each other; they soon became affectionately known as the Fab Four.

Pete Best however, had many fans who refused to take his dismissal lightly. There were angry scenes where ever the Beatles played. Fans would show up carrying placards, proclaiming "Pete is Best" and "Pete Forever - Ringo Never". They would try to get near the Beatles to punch and scratch them. Poor George arrived at the Cavern one day sporting a black eye.

Pete Best bears no malice towards Ringo.


Having heard a copy of the Decca tapes, I have to say that I agree whole-heartedly that Ringo was a much better drummer than Pete Best. In the early days, Ringo had such a big, exuberant sound. As the music progressed, he developed a totally unique style that is unmistakably his own. Furthermore, I do not feel that Pete Best would have adapted to the incredible changes that the Beatles and their music were to go through.

 


The Beatles Conquer the World


The Beatles with Ringo soon went on to charm the entire world with their infectious, joyful and unprecedented music, their wonderful singing voices and their quick wit and keen sense of humour. In the brief 7 years that the group played upon the world stage, they lived many lifetimes and created a body of work, the likes of which, in popular music, this world had never before seen and probably never will ever again.
With 13 long playing albums, some 26 or 27 hit singles, 4 movies (one of them a full length cartoon) and countless live performances, they left this world a little more lovely than it had been. With each step they took, they carried us all father forward than we had dared to imagine.

They received many awards and accolades. Probably the most prestigious was when, in 1965, Queen Elizabeth awarded them all the M.B.E.

It became practice for Ringo to sing one song on each album. He sang such songs as Act Naturally, by American country music singer Buck Owens; John and Paul's I Want to be Your Man, which they had written for the Rolling Stones; a showcase, which John had written for him, called What Goes On; and Paul's joyful and childlike Yellow Submarine. However, the song that really defines Ringo is to be found on their 1967 masterpiece, Sergeant Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band. John and Paul had decided that they would compose a special song, just for Ringo. The song they offered him is called With a Little Help From My Friends. American singer-guitarist Ritchie Havens once called it his "Favourite song in the universe."

What would you do if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key.
O, I get by with a little help from my friends.

This song seemed to fit Ringo perfectly and articulated for all of us a simple and sublime truth.

Paul worked enthusiastically with him on the recording, offering him advice and encouragement and pulled from him a superb performance.

 

Ringo in Rishikesh


By 1967, the Beatles had more name and fame and material success than anyone could have imagined. They had tried drugs, but somehow they knew that there was something more: still they felt unfulfilled - particularly George and John. It was George's first wife, Pattie, who found the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and soon they all became students. In February of 1968, they all set off for the Maharishi's ashram in Rishikesh, to study meditation under his guidance.

Ringo had never been fond of spicy foods (he and his biological father both also share a dislike for onions) and so one important item he took with him with him was several cases of canned baked beans. John and George and their wives stayed for 2 months, Paul stayed for 6 weeks but Ringo and his wife Maureen only lasted 2 weeks. Maureen missed their children; she had an aversion to flying insects, of which there were many; and Ringo's delicate constitution did not deal well with the food or living conditions. Also, he said that the whole thing reminded him too much of Butlin's Holiday Camps.

 

Ringo Quits the Beatles


In the short time they were in India, they were incredibly prolific. So many songs were written that there were enough for a double album when they returned. They also had enough material to fuel their following 2 (final) albums plus some of their own solo projects and then some of those songs were never recorded. The album they recorded on their return is commonly called the White Album.

Many critics saw it as the beginning of the end, saying it is ununified, disjointed and lacks cohesion. John however was more philosophical, saying it shows their development as 4 individuals. We do indeed see Ringo's development, as for the first time we find a song composed entirely by Ringo himself. This song is called Don't Pass Me By. Ringo was surprised and delighted to see that his brothers treated his song just as seriously as they did every other song on the album. Usually, whenever he brought in a song, the others would fall about laughing, while they told him which song he had just re-written. He composed it on piano; on the recording he plays drums, piano and sings the vocal.

What did not impress Ringo during these sessions was the realization that some of the drum parts he had recorded were being removed and re-done by another drummer. It is said that it was Paul - himself a competent drummer - who was doing this. I have also heard accusations that a professional session drummer was hired. At first, Ringo ignored it, but he soon became dispirited, and feeling that he was no longer needed, departed saying that it was all over. It seemed that the little man who had the good fortune to rise to the top of the wave with them was no longer good enough to play with them. John, George and Paul however refused to accept his resignation and begged him to return. When Ringo did return to the studio, he found that they had covered his drums with many beautiful flowers. All was forgiven and the recording sessions continued.

Ringo, always the perfect gentleman, has never publicly discussed the real reason for his departure, at this time. He simply says that he felt unwanted.

The only other song written by Ringo during his tenure with the Beatles appears on their swan-song album, Abbey Road. It is a joyful song called Octopus's Garden. It was written while Ringo and his family were holidaying in Sardinia. They had taken a boat ride on the ocean and the ship's captain explained to Ringo how octopuses go round the sea bed picking up rocks and shiny objects to build gardens. "How fabulous!" he thought.

 

Family Life


On February 1 lth, 1965 Ringo married Maureen Cox. Maureen was a hairdresser whom he met in 1962, soon after joining the Beatles. They had 3 children: Zak, Jason and Lee. Zak followed in his father's footsteps and today is an excellent drummer, who I admire very much. In 1975, Rmgo and Maureen divorced.

Ringo is the first Beatle grandfather. Son Zak and his wife fairly recently presented Ringo with a grandchild.

In 1980 while filming in Mexico, Ringo met American actress Barbara Bach. (The film, Caveman has been called forgettable by critics, though Ringo's performance was praised.) Barbara also had been divorced and is a dedicated mother with children. They married, in London in April of 1981. It was a Beatle reunion, of sorts. Paul and Linda and George and Olivia attended. John's life had been taken from him in December, 1980.

 

Movies and Other Interests


When Ringo sang Act Naturally, nothing could be closer to the truth:


They're going to put me in the movies,
They 're going to make a big star out of me,
The biggest fool who ever hit the big time
And all I've got to do is act naturally!

When the Beatles made their first movie, Hard Day's Night, much to everyone's delight, it was discovered that Ringo had a natural talent for comedic acting. John and Paul may have been stars of the stage and recording studio, but Ringo quickly stole every movie he appeared in. Their second movie, Help, was based entirely around him and his love of wearing rings on his fingers.

Before his untimly passing, Beatles manager, Brian Epstein began looking for scripts for Ringo. He was givern a part in Candy, along with Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn and Walter Matthau; and starred in The Magic Christian, with George Martin's old friend, the wondrerful, incomparable Peter Sellers. Peter's character sets out to prove that people will do anything for money - Ringo plays his son. He has appeared in several other movies and received accolades for his narration of the British children's television show, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

During those heady days of Beatlemania, Ringo developed a passion for photography and collecting cameras and so it was natural that he should want to try his hand at directing a film. In the mid 1970's he made Born to Boogie, a documentary about teen idol Marc Bolan.


As far back as 1968, his first wife Maureen, let it be known that her Ritchie was also a talented painter. In recent years one of his paintings appeared on a credit card.

 


Ringoisms


John, the supreme poet of the Beatles, was always fascinated by Ringo's usage of the English language. While working on their first movie, in 1964, John approached director Richard Lester saying that he had an idea for a title. When Richard asked what he had in mind, John asked if he had ever noticed the colourful way in which Ringo used words. Richard asked, "What do you mean? "John replied that if perhaps they had performed a concert, or been busy in the recording studio until the small hours of the morning, Ringo would probably say, "It's been a hard day's night!" Richard Lester liked it very much and so the title A Hard Day's Night was chosen for the film. Then Richard asked, "What about a song?"


So, John composed one and he and Paul sang and played it for director Lester the very next morning. It was written, rehearsed and recorded all within a 24 hour period: a phenomenal effort by all who were involved.
Another of Ringo's malapropisms gave inspiration for the title of John's song Tomorrow Never Knows, from the Revolver album, of 1966. John had been reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead at that time. The result was another totally unexpected, unprecedented and unique Beatle creation.

 

A Solo Recording Career


Ringo was the first Beatle to record a solo album. Only 5 weeks after John announced he was leaving the Beatles, in September 1969, Ringo was in the recording studio.
His recording, entitled Sentimental Journey, was released in April 1970.


First, Ringo had quit in 1968; then George quit in January 1969 - he returned 5 days later; then John - he was asked to keep it quiet for the time being, fearing that such an announcement would jeopardize negotiations to gain control of their song publishing rights and other business dealings. Finally, in April of 1970, Paul publicly announced that he had left the Beatles, which angered the others as he made it seem like he was in control of the situation.

After the break- up, John, Paul and George were all most concerned about what would happen to Ringo. They feared that his songwriting talents were minimal and that he lacked instrumental prowess. Ringo proved that indeed, he could get by with a little help from his friends. He soon found he did have many very talented friends who were only too happy to be of service to him. Ringo even managed to do what was thought to be impossible. On his third album, from 1973, simply titled Ringo, he was able to convince his 3 brothers all to play on the same album - though they were never in the studio at the same time. John, Paul and George all contributed songs and donated their instrumental expertise to the project. It did indeed recapture that old Beatle magic and was so successful that John - half jokingly - sent him a telegram saying, How dare you! Why don't you write me a hit song?

Ringo was the only Beatle who joined George for the Concert for Bangladesh, which was organized through Ravi Shankar's inspiration. John and Paul were still embroiled in bitter business politics.

In 1995, Paul, George and Ringo were finally able to play as the Beatles once more.
With the dust of their business dealings finally cleared, Yoko had given to Paul tapes of 2 unfinished songs that John had been working on. They entered the studio to add their own contributions to John's songs. Paul explained that they dealt with the situation by imagining that John had simply gone away on holidays, and had said, Here lads, finish them off for me - I trust you!

Ringo has continued to release albums regularly. His latest offering, Ringo Rama contains a moving tribute to his dearest friend, Beatle brother George Harrison, whose life was finally claimed by cancer, in November 2001.

Every summer, Ringo assembles a group of old friends - all accomplished, wellknown musicians in their own rite - and tours the world, under the banner of Ringo Starr and his All Star Band. On an early outing, he took with him his son Zak, to play drums - the proud father, introducing his first-born to the world. Another guest at that time was our very own Mokshagun Clarence Clemmons.

 

Dealing With Problems

In October 1988, Ringo faced facts and realized that he had a drinking problem. He and his wife Barbara both entered a recovery clinic in Tuscon. Upon emerging, one of his first acts was to pursue legal action to block any future release of any recordings he had made in 1987 - recordings done, he said, in a degenerative atmosphere. In all my life, I have never heard of anyone in popular music, who cared enough to do such a thing.

It seemed to me that Ringo, as an only child, enjoyed his new-found brothers more than anybody. Paul has a brother; George had a sister and 3 brothers; and John had 2 half-sisters. (George was the only Beatle who had a normal childhood - with no parental separations or tragedy.) Ringo was most accepting of his brother's foibles.
Probably the most difficult test to their friendship happened when Yoko came along. Ringo passed that test most admirably. "People think that John and Yoko are crazy, but John is just being John", said Ringo. In later life, John was asked about the reactions of the other Beatles. Speaking of Paul and George, he said, "How can I not love them, but I find it hard to forgive their unkindness to Yoko." It was easily noticed that he did not mention Ringo. Indeed, when John was tragically gunned down, it was Ringo who rushed to her side, to offer comfort. Indeed, he did succeed in convincing her to unlock her door and come out of her room. Since that time, thankfully Yoko and Paul and George have made their peace.

 

Popularity

We all have our favourite Beatle. It has been noted that the most popular was Paul.
Next came John and George together and then Ringo. However, It has also been noted that it is easy to like Paul and Ringo or John and Ringo or George and Ringo. This did not work with other combinations, particularly with John and Paul's fans. On second votes, Ringo could easily stand first.

For a person who does not play drums, it is perhaps difficult to offer a competent critique of a drummer's abilities. Once I asked a great drummer what he really thought of Ringo. He replied, "Ringo made his contemporaries look silly!" As popular music progressed, technical proficiency became the name of the game, with some critics preferring speed, complexity and flash over simplicity. Once, while discussing Ringo with a guitarist friend, he observed, Ringo didn't play drums; he played songs. This I feel is a really astute and fitting compliment.

Ringo himself once said, Nobody ever remembers the drums, it's the song that's important and John and Paul wrote some Great songs.

 

Critics Rave

George Martin (Beatle Record Producer): He's got tremendous feel. He always helped us to hit the right tempo for a song and gave it that support - that rock solid backbeat- that made the recording of all Beatles songs that much easier. He was sympathetic. His tempos used to go up and down, but up and down in the right way, to help the song.

George Harrison: He could be the best rock and roll drummer - or at least one of the best ..... He does fills which crack up people like Jim Keltner (an excellent drummer who often played with George). He's just amazed because Ringo starts them in the wrong place and all that, but that is brilliant. That's pure feel.... You know he does everything back to front.

Paul McCartney: Ringo is right down the center, he never overplays.

John Lennon: Ringo is a great drummer. He was always a good drummer. He's not technically good, but I think Ringo's drumming is underrated the same way Paul's bass playing is underrated.

While some critics may think that the Beatles were unkind to Pete Best and denied him his chance at stardom; and some feel that Ringo's offerings were insignificant; and some feel that his technical abilities are unimpressive; and some feel that he was just plain lucky; thankfully there are many more who disagree.

In reading the story of the Beatles, it seems to me that there was an unseen, divine hand moving all the pieces perfectly into place. I believe that the Supreme himself gave us all a very special, magical and enjoyable experience in and through them.
Through this whole phenomenon, He was able to give the world a very significant step-up towards our eventual, total transformation. I am so grateful that He has given to us - with four Beatles and a tight and loyal circle of equally amazing human beings - such a colourful, joyful, vibrant gift.

Ringo Starr, with his Heart of Gold - his Heart's Love and Simplicity- was and is a very beautiful flower in that bouquet.

The Beatles were, first, John's group and I feel he deserves the very last word, when he said so fittingly and so perfectly, The Beatles never would have been successful, without Ringo Starr!

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