“Act Like a Starr”
“I feel the older I get, the more I’m learning to handle life. Being on this quest for a long time, it’s all about finding yourself”. Ringo Starr
“Before Ringo, drum stars were measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity. Ringo’s popularity brought forth a new paradigm … we started to see the drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect … 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.” Steve Smith
Richard Starkey, Jr., MBE (born 7 July 1940), better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English drummer, singer, songwriter, and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles.
On most of the band’s albums, he sang lead vocals for one song, including “With a Little Help from My Friends”, “Yellow Submarine” and their cover of “Act Naturally”.
He also wrote the Beatles’ songs “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden”, and is credited as a co-writer of others, such as “What Goes On” and “Flying”.
Starr was twice afflicted by life-threatening illnesses during his childhood, and as a result of prolonged hospitalisations, fell behind scholastically.
“I mean, I was born the day war broke out, but I don’t remember all the bombs though they did actually break up Liverpool, you know. I remember when I was a little older, there was big gaps in all the streets where houses used to be. We used to play over them”. Ringo Starr
In 1955, he entered the workforce and briefly held a position with British Rail before securing an apprenticeship at a Liverpool equipment manufacturer.
“I never studied anything, really. I didn’t study the drums. I joined bands and made all the mistakes onstage”. Ringo Starr
He became interested in the UK skiffle craze, developing a fervent admiration for the genre. In 1957, he cofounded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, which earned several prestigious local bookings before the fad succumbed to American rock and roll by early 1958.
Skiffle is a type of popular music with jazz, blues, folk, and roots influences, usually using homemade or improvised instruments.
Originating as a term in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, it became popular again in the UK in the 1950s, where it was mainly associated with musician Lonnie Donegan and played a major part in beginning the careers of later eminent jazz, pop, blues, folk and rock musicians.
“Under the Influence”
“Gene Autry was the most. It may sound like a joke – Go and have a look in my bedroom, It’s covered with Gene Autry posters. He was my first musical influence”. Ringo Starr
“With The Beatles”
When the Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
After achieving moderate success with that band in the UK and Hamburg, he quit the Hurricanes and joined the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best.
“We decided to stop in ’66. Everyone thought we toured for years, you know, but we didn’t. I joined in ’62, and we’d finished touring in ’66 to go into the studio where we could hear each other… and create any fantasy that came out of anybody’s brain”. Ringo Starr
“And the White Album is important to me for different reasons. One – I had left the band on the White Album”. Ringo Starr
During the recording of the White Album, relations within the band became openly divisive. As the sessions progressed, their collective group dynamic began to decay; at times only one or two Beatles were involved in the recording for a track. Starr had grown weary of McCartney’s increasingly overbearing approach and Lennon’s passive-aggressive behaviour, which was exacerbated by Starr’s resentment of Yoko Ono ’s near constant presence.
After one particularly difficult session during which McCartney had harshly criticised his drumming, he quit the band for two weeks, taking a holiday with his family in Sardinia on a boat loaned by Peter Sellers.
During a lunch break the chef served octopus, which Starr refused to eat. A subsequent conversation with the ship’s captain regarding the behaviours of the animal served as the inspiration for his Abbey Road composition, “Octopus’s Garden”, which Starr wrote on guitar during the trip.When he returned to the studio two weeks later, he discovered that his drum kit had been covered in flowers.
“And I came back and it was great, ‘cuz George had set up all these flowers all over the studio saying welcome home. So then we got it together again. I always felt it was better on the White one for me. We were more like a band, you know”. Ringo Starr
“Ringo was a star in his own right in Liverpool before we even met. Ringo was a professional drummer who sang and performed and was in one of the top groups in Britain, but especially in Liverpool. So Ringo’s talent would have come out one way or the other … whatever that spark is in Ringo, we all know it but can’t put our finger on it. Whether it’s acting, drumming, or singing, I don’t know. There’s something in him that is projectable and he would have surfaced as an individual … Ringo is a damn good drummer”. John Lennon
“I think he’s vastly underrated, Ringo. The drum fills on “A Day in the Life” are very, very complex things. You could take a great drummer from today and say, ‘I want it like that’, and they really wouldn’t know what to do.” Phil Collins
After the band’s break-up in 1970, he released several successful singles including the US number four hit “It Don’t Come Easy”
and number ones “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen”.
Since the breakup of the Beatles, Starr has released 17 solo studio albums:
Sentimental Journey (1970)
Beaucoups of Blues (1970)
In 1972, he released his most successful UK single, “Back Off Boogaloo“, which peaked at number two.
He achieved commercial and critical success with his 1973 album Ringo, which was a top ten release in both the UK and the US
Goodnight Vienna (1974)
Ringo’s Rotogravure (1976)
Ringo the 4th (1977)
Bad Boy (1978)
Stop and Smell the Roses (1981)
Old Wave (1983)
Time Takes Time (1992)
Vertical Man (1998)
I Wanna Be Santa Claus (1999)
Ringo Rama (2003)
Choose Love (2005)
Liverpool 8 (2008)
Y Not (2010)
Ringo 2012 (2012)
Postcards from Paradise (2015)
Octopus’s Garden (2014)
They’re gonna put me in the movies
They’re gonna make a big star out of me
We’ll make a film about a man that’s sad and lonely
And all I gotta do is act naturally
“Women are very important to me. I don’t know, they just drive me crazy but I’m not sleeping with all the women I appear with”. Ringo Starr