Is it time to re-evaluate Ringo Starr?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Richland123, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011

    No need to re-evaluate! :)
  2. Not for me, I always thought he was a good drummer. Couldn't do a decent solo, but he could do a good solid beat.
  3. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I remember reading a quote from Lennon about Ringo being the best drummer in the world. Lennon replied "He's not even the best drummer in this band." Seems he's always been pinned as the dumb one the the group. I don't think that is true at all. He isn't the prolific song writer like Lennon/McCartney, he isn't the best drummer in the world, not the best singer either. I would like to trade places and see what it was like to be him though. He tours every year with his "All Starr Band" and puts on fun shows. I think Ringo is pretty cool.
  4. bray101


    Feb 26, 2012
    Good read. Always liked his drumming. Felt it fit in nicely.
  5. I think history will shine very favorably on Ringo, especially with musicians who have suffered through too-busy drummers who did not fit or assist the band's overall sound. They can't all be Moon or Peart and still be a good fit. In fact, very few of them can pull that off. Ringo did a great job for The Beatles, and he was a team player, as we know how much he was coached by the others, especially Paul, as time went on.

    Absolutely. More than the others, Ringo was always the one who kept his chin up and let stuff roll off his back. He seems determined to keep it real, and keep it fun, even at his level. Rare attitude, commendable.
  6. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    He's always had a great feel, and played what the songs needed, a trait sorely lacking in many musicians (not just drummers). A great drummer friend of mine was once asked "Was Ringo a genius or an idiot?" (a question another friend used for drummer auditions- it kept the Neal Peart wannabes out of country bands). Stu answered "Both- he was a genius for know exactly what to play to make those songs sound right, he's an idiot for never trying to be a better technician so he could play things more easily". A message that's stuck with me as a bass player!

  7. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    We play quite a few Beatles songs, and one thing I love is when we'd be auditioning drummers, or bringing in a new drummer, if the drummer would sort of sniff at Ringo's skills. Invariably, that came from ignorance, because the one song the drummer couldn't handle would be the Beatles song.

    Try playing the drum part to Yer Blues. It's tricky as hell.

    Ringo's drum parts were always unique, and served the song. No other band has as many songs that you can identify by the drum part alone.

    Ringo is one of the greatest drummers of all-time.

    Everybody who doesn't get that simply doesn't know what they're talking about.
  8. Fuzz Aldrin

    Fuzz Aldrin

    Apr 5, 2012
    Ringo is an amazing drummer, he just isn't flashy. He was perfect for the Beatles though.
  9. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    I agree 100%. I would love to have on my resume: Played in what many regard as the greatest band of all time"
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Here's an interesting thread, on another forum:

    An excerpt from one of my favorite posts:

    Ringo has nearly perfect tempo. This allowed the Beatles to record a song 50 or 60 times, and then be able to edit together different parts of numerous takes of the same song for the best possible version. Today an electronic metronome is used for the same purpose, but the Beatles had to depend on Ringo to keep the tempo consistant throughout the dozens of takes of the songs that you know and love so well. Had he not had this ability, the Beatles recordings would sound completely different today.

    Ringo's "feel" for the beat serves as a standard for pop-rock record producers and drummers alike. It is relaxed, but never dragging. Solid, yet always breathing. And yes, there is a great amount of musical taste in his decisions of what to play and when to play it. In most recording sessions, the drummer's performance acts as a barometer for the rest of the musicians. The stylistic direction, dynamics, and emotions are filtered through the drummer. He is the catcher to whom the pitcher/songwriter is throwing. If the drumming doesn't feel good, the performance of any additional musicians is doomed from the start. The Beatles rarely if ever had this problem with Ringo.

    Ringo hated drum solos, which should win points with quite a few people. He only took one solo while with the Beatles. His eight measure solo appears during "The End" on the "B" side of Abbey Road. Some might say that it is not a great display of technical virtuosity, but they would be at least partially mistaken. You can set an electronic metronome to a perfect 126 beats per minute, then play it along with Ringo's solo and the two will stay exactly together.

    Ringo's ability to play odd time signatures helped to push popular songwriting into uncharted areas. Two examples are "All you Need is Love" in 7/4 time, and "Here Comes the Sun" with repeating 11/8, 4/4, and 7/8 passages in the chorus.

    Ringo's proficiency in many differen styles such as two beat swing ("When I'm Sixty-Four"), ballads ("Something"), R&B ("Leave My Kitten Alone" and "Taxman") and country (the Rubber Soul album) helped the Beatles to explore many musical directions with ease. His pre-Beatle experience as a versatile and hard working nightclub musician served him well.
  11. Good stuff mellowinman, thanks for sharing.

    In short, if Ringo weren't famous, and showed up to audition for my pop/rock/dance cover band, he'd surely get the slot.

    Oh wait, weren't The Beatles still basically a cover band (with a few originals thrown in) when they hired Ringo? ;)
  12. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    According to the book on Beatles recording sessions only twice in all the time they recorded did they have to do a re-take because of Ringo. That's totally impressive.
  13. Great posts and articles! I think the fact that when it was time to step it up (get rid of Best), they chose Ringo,( and that did seem to bring them to another level) says it all. I guess the bad rep and butt of jokes for Ringo is because he didn't write and he didn't seem to take himself seriously, so a lot of others didn't. Want to add a song to your set list that's a sure fire crowd pleaser? Act Naturally.
  14. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    I remember reading somewhere or hearing him say that he felt the vocals were the strongest point of the Beatles. So he said he played the drums with that in mind, drumming to accentuate those vocals and never doing anything to take away from them. That seems like a sensible approach to me. I can't even begin to imagine Ginger Baker, Keith Moon or other aggressive drummers as a drummer for the Beatles.
  15. I've always known Ringo was a good drummer, and naturally assumed everyone felt the same. Is it a "thing" now to say he wasn't??
  16. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    Not to mention, that he is pretty down to Earth, an one hell of a nice guy, considering events that have transpired previously.

    I don't care how good you are, that counts for something.

    He served the needs of the songs well. He fit in. None of the members were virtuosos on their instruments. The band was the sum of its parts, with the writing, and feel of the material making it as great, and timeless as it is.
  17. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    What is there to re-evaluate? He played in the most successful band of all time. He is probably the most underrated and under appreciated musician of the last 50 years. I remember reading an article where Paul McCartney said Ring was one of the best time keepers with whom he had ever played. Just because he was overshadowed by Paul and John doesn't mean that he wasn't good.
  18. Well, it is with some people, and has been for awhile now. Right around Ringo's heyday, drummers were emerging with pretty formidable fusion chops covering many genres, and somehow those players were integrating into rock and roll bands and getting noticed, making Ringo's more simple, common-sense approach seem kind of basic and pedestrian. And it didn't help that The Beatles featured a bass player who was also arguably one of the best singers and songwriters in pop music history, and who also happened to be a pretty competent drummer himself. Imagine being the bass player in a pop band and having people wonder if your drummer was actually the best bass player in the band...

    Personally, I think anyone with good tempo, decent chops, and who listens and understands the needs of the song could do what Ringo did. Problem is, those kinds of drummers are rare as hen's teeth. Ringo had a great ear and instincts, and that isn't always readily apparent to the average music listener.
  19. There was a thread about this recently in Band Management. ;)

    Back to Ringo for a minute, "Tomorrow Never Knows" is one of my favorite drum parts of all time (in any genre), the meter changes in songs like "All You Need Is Love" and "Lucy" are brilliant, etc.

    My favorite thing about Ringo isn't actually Ringo at all (since they didn't play themselves) but in the movie Yellow Submarine, he is the one who goes back for Jeremy Boob. ;)