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RINGO RECOGNIZED: The Still Down-To-Earth STARR

By Alan L. Chrisman
Ringo is being inducted into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame by Paul
McCartney on April 18. He will be the fourth Beatle to be
recognized there as his own solo artist, besides the Beatles as a
group.
Ringo always was portrayed as the everyman in the group,
often overshadowed by the giant song writing talents of John and
Paul and later, George Harrison. Lennon-McCartney tailored
certain songs just for Ringo to sing on Beatles albums like Help
from My Friends and Yellow Submarine. Otherwise, he mainly
sang covers of his favorite country heroes like Act Naturally.
But Ringo was the consistent drummer on all their albums. Ringo
had replaced Pete Best just after they had gotten their record deal
in 1962. Producer George Martin, as was common in those days,

hired a session drummer to fill in for Ringo on the Beatles first


single, Love Me Do. Ringo had actually been in a more popular
Liverpool group than The Beatles at the time, Rory Storm & the
Hurricanes, but he had sometimes played together with the
Beatles when they were both in Hamburg. But Ringo was always
much more than just a drummer while in The Beatles, for he was
an integral part of that mysterious chemistry that made the
Beatles, uniquely, The Beatles. And he had that same kind of offthe-wall humor. Someone said once they were like a four-way
marriage with all their personalities and talents plugged into each
other. And Ringo always seemed to be the grounder. He not
only kept the beat grounded, but sometimes the members egos
too.
When the Beatles split in 1970, many wondered about his solo
future. He had only written a couple Beatles songs, Dont Pass
Me By and Octopus Garden. So it was to everyones surprise
when he was to have one of the most successful ex-Beatles solos
albums with his Ringo album in 1973, with several big hits
including the George Harrison co-written song ,Photograph. He
would go on to have seven Top Ten hits like, It Dont Come Easy,
Back Off Boogaloo , Youre Sixteen, Only You, etc. Even
when the other ex- Beatles sometimes were still

not talking with each other much

, they would still continue


to appear on his albums and he theirs.
Then in the 80s & 90s, he put together his own of several AllStarr Bands with well-known musicians who hit the road playing
their hits and his. Ringo has continued to release albums over the
years. And he has actually turned into a pretty good co-writer
and songwriter himself. Particularly with albums like his 2008,
album, Liverpool 8, it was noticeable his growing skill in that area
too. Also with that album and song, he has been writing songs
looking back at his Liverpool beginnings. Ringo has continued
this on his new recently released album, Postcards from Paradise,

with a song called Rory & the Hurricanes. It is Ringos 18th

album.
He also has appeared in several films as well: Magic Christian
Music, Candy, Caveman (where on set, he met his current wife,
Barbara Bach, in 1981). I think his best role is in Thatll Be the
Day, where he plays a working-class carny at a holiday camp
(similar to the ones Ringos band, Rory Storm, would have
actually played). It perfectly captures early 60s England just
before The Beatles hit. He is also an accomplished photographer
and shot the covers for his friend, Marc Bolans T-Rex albums and
directed a film on him. Quite a career and life for a sickly, poor,
relatively-uneducated lad named Richie Starkey, who only

picked up drumming banging on biscuit tins with sticks in the


beginning! Ringo said he had just hoped to make enough as a
Beatle to maybe open a hair dressing shop.
Like has also been leveled at Pete Best (Cynthia Lennon told me,
shy Pete didnt have the ego to compete with John and Pauls),
over the years, some have even accused Ringo of not being the
best drummer. Ringo himself has never claimed to be a trained
drummer. But several other respected drummers have disagreed,
crediting him with developing a whole Ringo sound, which many
have copied. At one point during the making of The White Album,
Ringo felt left-out and walked away from the sessions, but came
back when the other Beatles sent him a postcard which said You
Are the Greatest Drummer in the World- Really. Others have said
he was just lucky to have been there at the right time. Paul
McCartney has said they wouldnt have stayed with Ringo, if they
didnt believe he was a good drummer. Its hard, indeed, to
imagine those Beatles songs without his distinctive back-beat
rhythms.
Below Beatles postcard to Ringo asking him to return to The
Beatles & Ringos iconic drum set on display at the RnR Hall Of

Fame:

John Lennon said: 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.
The Beatles were more than just the sum of their parts. Ringo was
and is much more than just a drummer, who happened to play in
the best band in the world. He has his own personality and
persona and talents and loyal following. Ringo still seems to be
that same down-to-earth star thats such a rarity these days,
especially, with whom we can all still relate.
When McCartney and rock royalty induct Ringo into the Hall of
Fame, it will be time and well-deserved. Paul and he are now
receiving all kinds of accolades and still carrying on their great
legacy and still performing.
Ringo has announced another tour starting in October with his AllStarr band line-up of the last 12 years to support his new album,
Postcards from Paradise. I met his 1995 All-Starr band including
Billy Preston, Randy Bachman (The Guess Who and BTO), and
Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals). Im very happy I was able to get
tickets for his new show in October in Montreal, where I also saw
Paul in 89 and George in 74. I also saw Paul in Ottawa in 2013.
We should still see these living legends while we still can, as they
continue to put on great shows. Some things which are good,
never change. And Ringo, as I said, is like that, or as he would
say, like Peace & Love too.
Ringo doing his rocker, Rory & the Hurricanes about his
beginnings, from his new album, Postcards from Paradise:
https://youtu.be/HPjQcqRsqBQ

Ringo on his new album and tour:


https://youtu.be/uGdhtLV8c50