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BEST DRUMMER EVER?

Buddy Rich
Neil Peart
John Bonham
Steve Gadd
Ringo Starr
Keith Moon
Carl Palmer
Gene Krupa
Max Roach
Elvin Jones
Ginger Baker
Billy Cobham
Stewart Copeland
Dennis Chambers
Jaki Leibezeit
Terry Bozzio
Bill Bruford
Hal Blaine
Mike Portnoy

Drummer Database

Ringo Starr

Name - Ringo | Born - 07/1940 | Nationality - British | Genre - Pop/Rock

Ringo Starr is one of the most well known people on the planet (as if you didn't know that!). He found fame with The Beatles in the early 1960's, and then went on to have a career as a solo artist, and has also played with many versions of his All Starr band.

His drumming with The Beatles is a pretty hot hot topic among drummers. Many people see his playing as quite basic, while others appreciate his creativity, fills, and unique style.

Basic or not, Ringo has cemented himself as one of the drumming and music world's biggest icons, and he has inspired millions of people.

Perhaps one of the most appealing things about Ringo is his fun-loving and easy going personality. His message to fans and people all over the world is quite simple - "Peace and Love".

Videos

Ringo playing live with The Beatles and his All-Starr Band

Biography

Ringo was born as Richard Starkey in Liverpool, England on July 7th, 1940. He lived with his parents in a small terraced house in a poor working class area of Liverpool called the Dingle. His life got off to a tough start as his parents divorced when he was just 3 years old. Richard, now known as Ritchie, then moved with his mother to a smaller, nearby house in Liverpool.

Throughout much of his childhood, Ritchie suffered from variuos illnesses which kept him from attending school. These included a ruptured appendix that caused him severe stomach pains, and this led to an inflamed peritoneum.

He had surgery to resolve the problem and was in a coma for two months. He eventually woke up and started to recover, but after six months he fell out of his hospital bed and got a concussion, keeping in hospital for another six months.

When he finally got back to school he found that he was way behind with his studies and struggled to catch up. He didn't really care about school anyway, and often didn't bother to go. He didn't even take his final exam and left to go secondary school at age 11.

In 1953 at age 13, his poor health continued to disrupt his life, he caught a bad cold that became chronic pleurisy, meaning more time spent in a children's hospital. And to make things worse, he had further lung complications that kept him in hospital untill 1955. When he finally came out of hospital age 15, he didn't stand a chance of catching up at school, so decided to look for some work.

Ritchie tried a few different jobs, first as a delivery boy, then a barman on a ferry, and then he started a new job as a trainee joiner. On his first day at his new job Ritchie hurt his finger and he knew it wasn't for him. He started to get into the Skiffle scene that was sweeping country, and formed an amatuer band called 'The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group' with his friend Eddie Clayton. His mother had remarried by this time, and in 1957 Ritchie's step father bought him a Premier drum set. Ritchie, promised to be the best musician, ever.

With his new found passion, Ritchie started playing with different local bands in Liverpool. He learned his craft as best he could and developed his skills, becoming an active player in Liverpool's Skiffle craze. He wasn't an amazing drummer, and could only play what he had taught himself. But, he did start to form an original sound, partly because he was a left-handed player who played on a right-handed drum set.

Ritchie moved from band to band, but eventually he got the drum seat for a group called 'The Raving Texans' who were the backing band for singer Rory Storm. They later became known as 'Rory Storm & The Hurricanes' and they became quite a popular local band at that time.

While Ritchie was with the group, Rory Storm persuaded him to change his name to something more flashy, as it would help his career as a musician. Ritchie wore rings on his fingers, so they called him 'Rings' which when changed to 'Ringo', and then his last name was shortend to 'Starr' - 'Ringo Starr'.

He even had this name written on his front bass drum head. The Hurricanes started to have more success and became the top group in Liverpool.

By 1960, Rory Storm & The Hurricanes were playing in Hamburg, topping the bill at the Kaiserkeller club. Here Ringo met another band from Liverpool, 'The Beatles'. Both bands ended up playing at the Kasierkeller club, splitting the long twelve hour shifts between them.

The bands became friends and Starr got on especially well with George Harrison. He would often stay and watch The Beatles play after The Hurricanes had finished their shift. After the season had finished, both bands returned to Liverpool and played the local club circuit. Ringo would often help out by stepping in and playing drums for The Beatles as substitute for their drummer Pete Best.

By 1962, The Hurricanes were now following in the shadow of The Bealtes and another group called 'Gerry And The Pacemakers'. The Beatles had passed an audition at Abbey Road studios in London with A & R man George Martin, but they needed a replacement drummer. George Martin and the band weren't happy with the playing of their current drummer Pete Best. They needed someone reliable to fill the position and Ringo was the best they knew and they liked him.

At this time, Ringo decided he wanted to leave The Hurricanes and join a band called 'The Seniors'. But, before he had chance, he was approached by The Beatles who asked him to join them permanently. Ringo accepted, Pete Best was out of the group, and The Beatles as we know them had truly formed.

On The Bealtes' return to Liverpool, they played a gig at the now famous Cavern club were longtime fans began chanting "Pete forever, Ringo never!". Ringo didn't get off to a good start with the band, and found it difficult to fully become part of the gang.

On September 4th 1962, the band went into the recording studio to record Love Me Do. George Martin wasn't sure Ringo's part was good enough, so a session drummer was brought in to play Ringo's part instead.

However, Ringo's drumming was eventually used on the recording, and his drumming wasn't questioned again. He started to settle with the band, and it was soon like he had been with them for years.

Love Me Do charted in the UK and made it to the top of the US charts. It was the beginning of an extraordinary career that would make him and the other members of the band the most famous and loved musicians in the world.

With The Beatles, Ringo demonstrated his ability to play for the song, give a a steady groove, and look like he was having a great time doing it. The band went on to release further succesful albums and had cracked America before they even set foot on US soil. A round of UK and US tours commenced, with Ringo flopping around his 'Beatle mop top' to the delight of their screaming audiences. He was an easy going, funny character and he became known as the 'Loveable' Beatle.

Apart his drumming and likeable personality, Ringo Starr also contributed some suprisingly good acting performances in the band's movies - A Hard Day's Night, and Help!, as well as some vocal parts on songs like Act Naturally, and I Wanna Be Your Man.

Ringo

By 1965, The Beatles had released six albums, their latest being the slightly more experimental Rubber Soul. They had written an unbelieveable number of hit songs, and Ringo's fat, rockin' beats drove them all.

Earlier in the year, Starr married his childhood sweetheart Mary Cox. It had to be kept a secret from the fans though, to keep the screaming girls thinking they had a chance. Ringo was delighted when their first son, Zak Starkey, was born on September 13th.

Throughout the mid to late 1960's, Ringo and The Beatles released another five albums which helped transform popular music into a much more experimental and complex art form. They were the biggest band in the world and were at the front of the cultural revolution in the 60's.

However, there were tensions within the group, and Ringo even left briefly during recording sessions for The White Album in 1968. He was fed up and bored waiting to contribute his drum parts while John, Paul, and George fought over what would be played and how. He returned two weeks later after the rest of the group urged him to come back.

Ringo's drumming, while often understated, was essential to the sound and feel of The Beatles music. His playing on The White Album and Abbey Road was particularly good and showcased his unique rhythmic style brilliantly.

Towards the end of the decade in 1969, tensions within the band were starting to to come to a head once again, and the band split while putting together their last album . They did reform to finish the record, but the bitterness bewteen Paul and John espcially meant that they had gone as far as they could. Let It Be was released in 1970 and the band announced they had split in December that year.

Ringo was the only member of the group that generally stayed on good terms with all the others. During 1970 he played drums on John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and on George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. And he also had two acting roles in the movies Candy and The Magic Christian.

But, most notably it was the start of Ringo's solo career and he released two albums - Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups of Blues before the end of the year. Thery weren't great but they were something to build on.

Throughout the first half of the 1970's, Starr started having some success releasing two more albums - Ringo in 1973, and Goodnight Vienna in 1974, with a few hit singles too. He also continued his interest in acting, appearing in the movies Blindman, 200 Motels, and That'll Be The Day.

However, by the middle of the decade, the cracks were starting to show in Ringo's marriage to Mary. Ringo was enjoying having a good time and Mary wasn't part of the equation. They split up in 1975. Later in the year, Ringo moved to Monte Carlo for tax purposes, but also spent much of his time in Los Angeles.

During the last half of the 1970's, Ringo released further solo albums - Ringo's Rotogravure in 1976, Ringo the 4th in 1977, and Bad Boy in 1978. None of the albums sold very well and Ringo's solo career started to slump. With The Beatles well and truly over, people were starting to ignore his less crafted solo material. He did however make more movie appearances in Sextette, and The Who's movie The Kids Are Alright.

In 1979, Ringo's health problems resurfaced. He had servere intestinal problems related to the illnesses he'd suffered as a child. He had to go into hospital and was at one stage very close to death. Thankfully, doctors were able to operate and remove a large quantity of his intestine to save his life. However, later that year, the bad luck continued when his Los Angeles home was burned down. He wasn't hurt but he lost most of his Beatles memorabilia in the fire. It marked the end of a pretty disapointing couple of years for Ringo.

At the start of the new decade in 1980, Ringo met and fell in love with Barbara Bach during the filiming of the movie Caveman. Later in the year the two of them were fortunate to survive a very bad car crash.

However, Ringo's long time friend and fellow Beatles member, John Lennon, wasn't so fortunate. He was murdered on December 8th, and it hit Ringo and the remaining Beatle members hard.

Throughout the early part of the 1980's, Ringo got back to recording and released a couple of albums - Stop and Smell the Roses in 1981, and Old Wave in 1983.

But, the downturn in his solo career wasn't about to change and neither album did well. Ringo moved back to England and married his girlfriend Barbara, and also found time to contribute some drum parts to Paul McCartney's Pipes Of Peace album.

The rest of the 1980's were fairly quiet for Ringo. His solo career was totally in the dumps, and he had started to drink a lot. He still did a few things though, including the voice over for kids tv show Thomas The Tank Engine, appearing in the movies Water, When We Was Fab, and The Return Of Bruno, and playing drums on George Harrison's Cloud album. He was also well paid to appear in tv commercials, but a lot of lost money when a restaurant business venture failed.

At the end of the 80's, Ringo's alcohol problem was pretty severe and he checked into rehab to get himself back on track. He sobered up and started to promote his next venture - Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band. The group was made up of famous musicains who would play each others songs and generally put on a fun show for audiences. Tour dates were announced and they hit the road later that year getting a great response.

Having finished the 1980's on a high, Ringo and his All Starr band released a live album and a live video of their performances in 1990, both selling very well. He also started to work on a new solo album. During the rest of the early 90's, he went on tour again with new line ups of his All Starr band, released his new album Time Takes Time, appeared at a few different charity concerts, and released Ringo And The All Starr Band Volume 2. Ringo had really bounced back from his low point and was enjoying his life once again.

The later half of the decade was just as busy for Ringo, doing more world tours with a few different line ups of his All Starr band, and yet more live albums. He was also recognised for his playing and inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall Of Fame.

Ringo released another long awaited solo album called Vertical Man in 1998. Just before the turn of the century, Ringo decided to release a novelty christmas cd called I Wanna Be Santa Claus which did well too.

Ringo's success and popularity continued into the new millenium and he launched the sixth version of his All Starr Band who toured the US in 2000. And to mark a decade of All Starr tours, the album Ringo And His All Starr Band: The Anthology...So Far was released in 2001.

A couple of years later in 2003, Ringo's next solo album Ringo Rama came out, followed by Choose Love in 2005, and Liverpool 8 in 2008. Ringo spent a lot of the decade touring with new line ups of his All Starr band, and he also released a greatest hits album called Photograph.

Starr continues to play live and record with new versions of his band, and is still hugely popular among older and younger generations. His fun-loving and good natured personality, as well as his important contribution to drumming and to music, make him one of the music world's most cherished individuals. Quite simply, Ringo Starr is a living legend.

Set-Up

Drums - Ludwig and Premier | Cymbals - Zildjian

Ringo's Set Up

Starr started out playing on a Premier drum set in his pre-Bealtes days, but he really liked the 'Black Oyster Pearl' finish available on Ludwig sets, so he changed shortly after joining the band.

The Ludwig set was made with 4-ply maple shells, including a 22"x14" bass drum, 16"x16" floor tom, 13"x9" tom, and a 14"x5" Supersonic chrome snare drum.

The hardware was by Ludwig and included a Speed King bass drum pedal and hi-hat stand, low snare stand, and standard cymbal stands.

Ringo played A Zildjian cymbals with the Beatles including an 18" or 20" crash, 18" or 20" A Medium ride, and 14" A hi-hats. In later years with his All-Starr band, he played a mixture of Zildjian A's and K's including a 22" K heavy ride, 16" K Constantinople crash, 14" A Mastersound hi-hats, 18" K Medium Thin Dark crash, and 13" A Mastersound hi-hats.

Pictures

Click to enlarge (opens in new window)

Selected Discography

* Please Please Me (Beatles)

* With The Beatles (Beatles)

* A Hard Day's Night (Beatles)

* Beatles For Sale (Beatles)

* Help! (Beatles)

* Rubber Soul (Beatles)

* Revolver (Beatles)

* Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles)

* The Beatles (Known as the white album)

* Yellow Submarine (Beatles)

* Abbey Road (Beatles)

* Let It Be (Beatles)

* Magical Mystery Tour (Beatles)

* Past Masters 1 (Beatles)

* Past Masters 2 (Beatles)

* Anthology 1 (Beatles)

* Anthology 2 (Beatles)

* Anthology 3 (Beatles)

* 1 (Every Bealtes number 1 hit)

* Sentimental Journey (Ringo, 1970)

* Beaucoups Of Blues (Ringo, 1971)

* Ringo (Ringo, 1973)

* Good Night Vienna (Ringo, 1974)

* Blast From Your Past (Ringo, 1976)

* Ringo's Rothogravure (Ringo, 1976)

* Ringo The 4th (Ringo, 1977)

* Bad Boy (Ringo, 1978)

* Stop And Smell The Roses (Ringo, 1980)

* Old Wave (Ringo, 1983)

* Best Wishes (Ringo, 1989)

* Starr Struck: Best of Ringo Vol.2 (Ringo, 1989)

* All-Starr Band (Ringo, 1990)

* Community (Ringo, 1991)

* Curly Sue (Ringo, 1991)

* Time Takes Time (Ringo, 1992)

* Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band Vol.2 (Ringo, 1994)

* Sonorities by Starlight (Ringo, 1996)

* Vertical Man (Ringo, 1998)

* VH1 Storytellers (Ringo, 1998)

* I Wanna Be Santa Claus (Ringo, 1999)

* Songs of Soil (Ringo, 2001)

* The Anthology...So Far...(Ringo, 2001)

* 25 Hits From The British Invasion (Ringo, 2002)

* Halloween: Resurrection (Ringo, 2002)

* King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Ringo (Ringo, 2002)

* Christmas Collection: 20th Century Masters (Ringo, 2003)

* Ringo Rama (Ringo, 2003)

* Extended Versions (Ringo, 2003)

* Tour 2003 (Ringo, 2004)

* Choose Love (Ringo, 2005)

* Very Best Of (Ringo, 2007)

* Liverpool 8 (Ringo, 2008)

* Ringo 5.1 (Ringo, 2008)

* Live On Tour (Ringo, 2008)

Books and Dvd's

* The Ringo Encyclopedia (Book)

* The Beatles Anthology (Book)

* The Bealtes Anthology (DVD)

* The Bealtes - The First US Visit (DVD)

* Help! (DVD)

* A Hard Day's Night (DVD)

* Yellow Submarine (DVD)

* Magical Mystery Tour (DVD)

* The Beatles Unauthorized (DVD)

* Bealtes: Liverpool to San Francisco (DVD)

* Yesterday - The Bealtes (DVD)

* Starr & his All Starr Band Live 2006 (DVD)

* The Best Of Ringo & His All-Starr Band So Far... (DVD)

* Ringo & His All-Starr Band - Tour 2003(DVD)

Ringo Has Played With...

* Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group

* The Raving Texans

* The Hurricanes

* The Beatles

* Carl Perkins

* Ringo's All-Starr Band

* Gregg Bissonette

* Shelia E

* Eric Clapton

* And More...

Quotes

Ringo Starr

Ringo ariving in America for the first time - "So this is America. They must be out of their minds."

"I don`t like talking. It`s how I`m built. Some people gab all day and some play it smogo. I don`t mind talking or smiling, it`s just I don`t do it very much. I haven`t got a smiling face or a talking mouth."

"I`d like to end up sort of unforgettable"

"The second side of Abbey Road is my favorite."

"We thought that if we lasted for two to three years that would be fantastic."

"I`ve never been able to sit round on my own and play drums, practice in the back room, never been able to. I`ve always played with other musicians. It`s how I play, there`s no joy for me in playing on my own, bashing away. I need a bass, a piano, guitar, whatever, and then I can play."

Ringo talking about his early drumming years with The Beatles - "I started to be an engineer but I banged me thumb on the first day. I became a drummer because it was the only thing I could do. But whenever I hear another drummer I know I`m no good. [John Lennon] taught me the song I sing. I can only play on the off beat because John can`t keep up on the rhythm guitar.

I`m no good on the technical things but I`m good with all the motions, swinging my head, like. That`s because I love to dance but you can`t do that on the drums. I figure we`re good for another four years. I don`t want to invest me money in stocks or anything. I just want to have it and draw 20 or 30 quid a week. The main thing is, I don`t ever want to go back to work"

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