Happy Birthday, Ringo

At 78, Sir Richard Starkey continues to rock

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As a huge fan of The Beatles, I simply did not want to ignore that Ringo Starr turned 78 years today. Yes, when you think of the Fab Four, it’s fair to say John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison come to mind first due to their amazing songwriting and singing. And, yes, Ringo is no John Bonham, Mitch Mitchell or Ginger Baker (thank goodness, I don’t think The Beatles would have lasted very long with a volatile character like Baker, as much as a drum genius as he was!). But I also firmly believe The Beatles wouldn’t have been the same without Ringo. And, frankly, based on many accolades he has received from the likes of Dave Grohl, Jim Keltner, Steve Smith and others, Ringo certainly isn’t a shabby drummer!

In this post I don’t want to focus on recapping Ringo’s life, which I did on a couple of previous occasions, for example here. Instead, I’d like to celebrate his birthday in a way that is more fun than reading stuff: Seeing Sir Starkey in action, based on recent YouTube clips.

Let’s kick it off with a great rockabilly tune recorded by Carl Perkins in December 1956: Matchbox. Ringo shows us how it’s done at age 78 – sorry, he was actually only 77 years old at the time of that performance! Steve Lukather and Gregg Rolie are throwing in some nice guitar and keyboard solos!

It Don’t Come Easy was Ringo’s first single from April 1971, released following the breakup of The Beatles. It’s one of the few tunes Ringo doesn’t only sing but for which he also has sole writing credits, though he did have a little help from his friend and former band mate George!

Don’t Pass Me By is Ringo’s first solo composition and among the handful of tunes he got to sing while he was with The Beatles. According to Wikipedia, he first introduced the song to John, Paul and George after he had joined the band in 1962. Eventually, it was recorded during four separate sessions in June and July 1968 and appeared on The Beatles, aka The White Album, which came out in November that year. BTW, you just got to love Ringo’s good sense of humor when announcing the track. The German audience clearly enjoyed it!

Here’s another another fun tune: Boys! Written by Luther Dixon and Wes Farrell, and originally recorded by the Shirelles in November 1960, the song was first included by The Beatles on Please Please Me, their debut album from March 1963. I also dig the version that’s on the At The Hollywood Bowl live album, released in May 1977.

Of course, no Ringo playlist would be complete without With A Little Help From My Friends. Credited to Lennon and McCartney, the song appeared on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from May 1967 and was the only tune on that album, featuring Ringo on vocals. In the below clip, he surely did have a little help from some fabulous musicians. Like all of the other footage in this post, it shows Ringo during recent performances with his All Starr Band. Very fittingly, they’re also throwing in a little bit of Lennon’s Give Peace A Chance at the end.

In addition to the aforementioned Lukather (guitar, vocals) and Rolie (keyboards, vocals), the current lineup of the All Starr Band features Colin Hay (guitar, vocals), Graham Gouldman (bass, vocals), Warren Ham (percussion and saxophone) and Gregg Bissonette (drums).  Ringo and the band are currently on the road and are about to wrap up touring Europe. They will next bring their show to the U.S. starting Sep 1 in Tulsa, Olka. According to the current schedule, dates include New York (Sep 13), Boston (Sep 17) and Chicago (Sep 22), among others. The U.S. leg of the tour will wrap up in L.A. on Sep 29. Now, that’s another show that’s tempting to me!

Sources: Wikipedia, Ringo Starr official website, YouTube

8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Ringo”

  1. I agree Ringo was a key part of The Beatles not only was he the perfect drummer for them but he added the necessary chemistry that was needed. Every band needs a Ringo- at times John and Paul weren’t getting along- at time Paul and George weren’t getting along- at times George and John weren’t getting along- but Ringo got along with everyone- and when they broke up who did they all go record with- write songs for- Ringo. Ringo very underappreciated in my opinion.

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    1. Hanspostcard hat es besonders schön gesagt: Jede Band braucht einen Ringo! Ich glaube wirklich, daß die Beatles ohne ihn nicht das gewesen wären, was sie waren. Weiterhin sind die Aussagen anderer Schlagzeuger über Ringo meiner Meinung nach nicht nur nette Worte, sondern sprechen für sich.

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  2. A friend of mine asked if I’d want to see Ringo in Boston. I have wondered this myself for a while but when push came to shove, other than for the reason of seeing a Beatle, I didn’t feel compelled to go. As to Ringo’s drumming skills, let me first say I am not a drummer. And no, Ringo is not Buddy Rich. But why is he always singled out as the guy who is a non-virtuoso when none of the other guys – good as they were -were not virtuosos on their instruments? He was absolutely perfect for the band and his taste and timing were impeccable. George Martin loved his playing and B.B. King said, “Man, you keep time like a big clock.”

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    1. Well said. I think fellow blogger hanspostcard put it best: Every band needs a Ringo. He was a true bandmate. I also agree that while John, Paul and George wrote great music and had great voices, there weren’t exactly instrument virtuosos.

      Liked by 1 person

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