Former Beatles Drummer Finally Gets A Full Measure Of The Respect He Deserves
A Brief High Five and a Peace Sign to Ringo from NAL reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted March 20th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Beatles fan that I am, I have to get just a little about this out there for all the other Beatles fans out there from age 77, right down to (yes, they are still buying the records) right down to the age of 16.
This first day of spring, March 20th, back in his home country of England, Ringo Starr – born Richard Starkey in Liverpool – was knighted by Prince William in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The 77-year-old musician received the honour 21 years after it was bestowed on Paul McCartney, the only other surviving member of one of the greatest rock bands in the world, The Beatles.
Ringo, of course, was always the Beatle hidden back behind his drums and his three other band mates, Paul, John Lennon and George Harrison, who got most of the attention because they did most of the singing and wrote most of the songs.
I still remember watching an episode of Saturday Night Live – broadcast in 1976, six years after The Beatles went their separate ways – where SNL producer Lorne Michaels came on and offered ‘the fab four” a total of $3,000 to reunite for one performance on a future show.
“Here is a cheque for $3,000, made out to The Beatles,” Michaels appealed to any one or more of the four who might be watching the show. “You can divide it any way you want.” Michaels added. “If you want to give Ringo less, that’s up to you. I don’t want to get involved.”
It was funny, but it was also not out of place with a perception many people have had of Ringo’s place where he was the last one of the for members to join the band and whose only vocal performance on a song that became one of The Beatles’ many top ten hits was on ‘Yellow Submarine’, the title song for a movie-length cartoon.
Not that any of that ever looked like it bothered him all that much. I saw Ringo in concert with one of his many ‘all-star’ line-ups of musicians twice – once in 1995 and again in 2016 – and both times he came across as the modest, down-to-earth person I read or watched in dozens of interviews over the years.
He performed some of the hit songs like ‘You’re Sixteen’, ‘Photograph’ and ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, from his solo career, and when he went to do some of the songs he recorded during his Beatles years, including ‘Boys’, ‘With A Little Help From My Friends ‘and ‘Honey Don’t’, he never flaunted those golden years from his past by mentioning the band by name. He would only say; “Now we are going to do one of the songs I sang with that other group I was a member of.”
Yet all modesty aside, Ringo Starr is a much better drummer than many may give him credit for.
Performing with his all-star line, all taking turns at playing their songs – whether it be John Entwistle from The Who performing ‘Boris the Spider’, or Joe Walsh from the Eagles performing ‘Life in the Fast Lane’, or Jack Bruce from The Cream doing ‘White Room’ and ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, or Randy Bachman of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive doing ‘American Woman’ and ‘Takin’ Care of Business’, or Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals doing ‘Groovin’ and ‘People Got To Be Free’, or Gregg Rolie of Santana doing ‘Evil Ways’ and ‘Black Magic Woman’ – he could play his drums with ease to any songs any of the great ones in the rock music world threw at him.
Ringo Starr was once ranked by the best of Rolling Stone magazine’s music critics as one of the top ten rock drummers of all time, and as bad as some people felt way back in the early 1960s when he was chosen to replace The Beatles’ first drummer, Pete Best, it was the right thing that Beatles producer George Martin helped make the group do.
As sad a story as Pete Best’s was at the time – being ousted from the group just when it was at the cusp of global greatness – just listen to an track of ‘Love Me Do’ – the song that went on become The Beatles’ first English hit with Ringo in the band – with Best serving up a crash-boom-bang, garage band performance on the drums.
It was clear from that performance alone that The Beatles never could have evolved with the more complicated rhythms and arrangements the world heard on albums like Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band.
They most certainly could and did, producing songs now long regarded as pop masterpiece, with Ringo behind the drums.
So congratulations Sir Ringo. You are certainly worth an equal share of any amount of money Lorne Michaels might pay out for a group.
Hope to see you again, the next time you bring your All-Star Band to the region.
To view Lorne Michaels making his pitch for a Beatles reunion on a 1976 broadcast of Saturday Night Live, click on –
.To view a brief news report on Ringo’s knighthood, click on –
,NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .