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Music / Ringo Starr

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"To be or not to be, I don't care,
The question is, are you alive out there?
It don't take brains, just heart and soul,
I think therefore I rock and roll"

Sir Richard Starkey KBE (born 7 July 1940), better known as Ringo Starr, was the more notable drummer for The Beatles, replacing Pete Best, and he is awesome. Following his career with the Fab Four, he has had a mildly successful solo career.

Some see Ringo as the Beatles' Lesser Star, having only been credited for writing two songsnote  out of the over 200 in their catalogue (although he does have several co-writing credits). (Ringo himself has been self-deprecating about this.) The other Beatles tried to avoid this, however, by giving him at least one song to sing on most of their albumsnote , and repeatedly declared his importance for the band in interviews. John Lennon, who often hired Ringo as his drummer after the break-up because he had gotten used to his groove, noted in an interview, "Ringo's a damn good drummer. He always was a good drummer. He's not technically good, but I think Ringo's drumming is underrated the same way as Paul's bass playing is underrated." In addition, Paul McCartney and George Harrison would often have him drum for their solo work as well.

Aside from his musical career, Starr is also a pretty accomplished actor, having starred in such films as The Magic Christian (alongside Peter Sellers) and Caveman (where he met his wife, Barbara Bach), and has appeared in many other films over the years. He sang the theme song for a 2013 revival special of The Powerpuff Girls.

Oh, did we mention he was the first of the three surviving Beatles to appear on The Simpsons (in "Brush With Greatness")? He also provided narration for the first two seasons of Thomas & Friends, and also played the Conductor. Not only did he originate the role on Shining Time Station, but later got replaced by George Carlin of all people.

Ringo was inducted in the 2015 Rock and Roll of Fame class, the final member of the Fab Four to be inducted as a solo artist. In December 2017, it was announced that he would receive a knighthood, which took place on March 20, 2018.

Studio Discography:

  • 1970 - Sentimental Journey
  • 1970 - Beaucoups Of Blues
  • 1973 - Ringo
  • 1974 - Goodnight Vienna
  • 1976 - Ringo's Rotogravure
  • 1977 - Ringo The 4th
  • 1978 - Bad Boy
  • 1981 - Stop And Smell The Roses
  • 1983 - Old Wave
  • 1992 - Time Takes Time
  • 1998 - Vertical Man
  • 1999 - I Wanna Be Santa Claus
  • 2003 - Ringo Rama
  • 2005 - Choose Love
  • 2008 - Liverpool 8
  • 2010 - Y Not
  • 2012 - Ringo 2012
  • 2015 - Postcards From Paradise
  • 2017 - Give More Love
  • 2019 - What's My Name

Live Discography:

  • 1990 - Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band
  • 1993 - Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band Volume 2: Live From Montreux
  • 1995 - 4-Starr Collection
  • 1997 - Ringo Starr And His Third All-Starr Band-Volume 1
  • 1998 - VH1 Storytellers
  • 2002 - King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Ringo & His New All-Starr Band
  • 2003 - Extended Versions
  • 2004 - Tour 2003
  • 2006 - Ringo Starr And Friends
  • 2007 - Ringo Starr: Live At Soundstage
  • 2008 - Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band Live 2006
  • 2010 - Live At The Greek Theatre 2008

Tropes and Love, Tropes and Love:

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Generally averted; while he was often seen as the most offbeat Beatle, he also had the most laid-back and everyday personality, which carried over to his solo career.
  • Artifact Alias: His stage name was originally intended to evoke The Wild West; when he was with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, the band decided to do a bit of Wild West-inspired Theme Naming for all its members. Ringo's stuck even after he became a Beatle, and continued to stick after the Beatles broke up. "Ringo" also references the many rings he wears on his fingers.
  • Artist and the Band: He created his own live band called Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, comprised of artists who were former members of 1970/1980s rock bands, making it also a Supergroup.
  • Audience Surrogate: In a lot of ways he functioned as one for the Beatles, being The Everyman alongside three geniuses, which made him relatable. As critic Robert Christgau put it, "He's our representative on The Beatles."
  • Boring, but Practical: Ringo's drumming skills are often dismissed by lay audiences because of his lack of flair (he only had one drum solo with the Beatles and had to be talked into it), but professional musicians are far more likely to praise him as one of rock's greatest percussionists. This is owed to the fact that Ringo's drumming style is very precise and technical, resulting in him being highly skilled at keeping time and adapting to whatever material he was given; case in point, he only fluffed a grand total of twelve takes during his time with the Beatles.
  • Call-Back: Ringo's solo works are super-overloaded with this trope, referencing his personal and professional history on a regular basis, musically and lyrically, often with Self-Deprecation or affection. Every line from the title track to Postcards From Paradise deliberately references a Beatles or solo hit (or Beatles-era composition), while "Rory and the Hurricanes" from the same album references the band he was in before the Beatles.
  • Catchphrase: "PEACE and LOVE!" He says it so much that it veers into Verbal Tic territory.
  • Chick Magnet: People tend to forget that he had as many devoted fan-girls as the others, if not more; his girlfriend in Liverpool was getting threatened by numerous crazy types before Beatlemania proper even started. That gag in A Hard Day's Night about him getting the most fan-mail was actually true.
  • Classically-Trained Extra: "You're Sixteen" features a guest appearance by Paul McCartney... on kazoo! (or kazoo-like noises)
  • Cool Shades: Ringo hasn't been seen without his sunglasses since the 1980s, never taking them off even at night.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: "Boys".
  • Cultural Translation: "$15 Draw" on Beaucoups of Blues was written by Nashville-based singer-songwriter Sorrells Pickardnote , and to make the lyrics more authentic for an Englishman to sing, a couple of changes were made: "Trunk of his old car" became "Boot of his old car", and a line about playing a show in Bossier City (Louisiana) was switched to "Bolton city".
  • Dull Surprise: During the Beatles performances, when not smiling (or singing) he had a "barely caring" scowl.
  • The Garfunkel: When it comes to song-writing, Ringo doesn't get as much credit compared with the other Beatles. Understandable, as while the Beatles were together, he wrote only two songs by himself. But to be fair, he was a great drummer.
  • Generation Xerox: His son Zak is also a drummer, most famously with The Who and Oasis.
  • Grief Song: "Never Without You" for George Harrison. "Photograph", which George himself helped Ringo record, also became this after George's death.
  • The Heart:
    • Many fans and critics considered him the most expendable Beatle, but the other Beatles recognised Ringo as helping keep them together during the most tense of times. He once walked out of the band during the sessions for The White Album and went on holiday in Italy; when he was finally convinced to return he found his drum kit decorated with flowers. After they broke up, he was the only one to get all three of the others to contribute to an album. Twice. And he returned the favour for all of them.
    • It also indicated that he was the first to sense something wasn't right with the band and they weren't as close as they used to be:
      "I left because I felt two things: I felt I wasn't playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider. I went to see John, who had been living in my apartment in Montagu Square with Yoko since he moved out of Kenwood. I said, 'I'm leaving the group because I'm not playing well and I feel unloved and out of it, and you three are really close.' And John said, 'I thought it was you three!' So then I went over to Paul's and knocked on his door. I said the same thing: 'I'm leaving the band. I feel you three guys are really close and I'm out of it.' And Paul said, 'I thought it was you three!'"
    • Post-Beatles he showed True Companion tendencies with George. George apologetically called to warn Ringo that he was about to sue Ringo because he was displeased with the final mix of a song they worked on together. Ringo said it was alright and said he would still love him even after he sued him. They later joked about it at a talk show appearance.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a highly talented photographer, and in 2015 he published a book of his work.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Generally played and/or perceived as the innocent Beatle, due to his Plucky Comic Relief status in the films.
  • Japandering: There's this, but in Ringo's defence the ad is actually quite clever.note 
  • Live Album: Several, most notably the series of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band releases.
  • Malaproper: The other three Beatles called them "Ringoisms": he's credited with coining the phrases "a hard day's night" and "tomorrow never knows".
  • Meaningful Name: His nickname, which dates back to his pre-Beatle days with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, comes from his affinity for rings.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: "Drumming Is My Madness".
    Drumming is my middle name
  • New Sound Album: After experimenting with Genre Throwback (Sentimental Journey) and Country Music (Beaucoups of Blues) on his first two albums, Ringo established the template he's mostly stuck to in his solo career: basic, good-natured rock with some Genre Roulette, and an All-Star Castinvoked to back him up.
  • Odd Name Out: John, Paul, George, and... Ringo.
  • Ode to Sobriety: Played for laughs with The No No Song, in which he turns down offers of marijuana, cocaine, and moonshine.note 
  • Older Than They Look: He's aged quite well. With his perpetual sunglasses, beard and largely intact hairline, he could easily pass for a man 20 years younger.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: No one ever calls him Richard Starkey.
    • The other Beatles almost never called him Ringo, either. To them, he was either "Richie" or "Rings".
  • Precision F-Strike: According to this interview with his first wife Maureen, he used one of these right before he (temporarily) walked out on the White Album sessions. (It's especially funny when you contrast him with John Lennon, master of the Cluster F-Bomb.)
    A: ... I will never forget what he muttered as he folded his socks and put them in the suitcase. He said "Paul is a freaking moron."
    Q: You used freaking instead of the "F" word?
    A: (laughs) Yes I did. He put so much stress on that word that it shocked me to hear him say it because he usually isn't like that.
  • Rags to Riches: Was the poorest of all four Beatles as a child; he lived in post-war low-income housing with his mother, grandmother, and grandfather after his father abandoned them. He also missed much of his education due to frequent illnesses. Like the others, he became very well-to-do as Beatlemania took off.
  • Self-Deprecating Humor: He is very fond of it. The last verse of his song "Early 1970" jokingly claims that he only knows "three chords" on the guitar, and in the The Beatles Anthology documentary, he also jokes that he only knows "three chords" on the guitar and piano while discussing "Don't Pass Me By".
  • Silly Love Songs: Plenty.
  • Song of Song Titles: The title track of Postcards from Paradise inserts the name of a Beatles song in almost every line (including one of the two he wrote, "Don't Pass Me By").
  • Step Up to the Microphone:
    • To make the Beatles a full Vocal Tag Team, Ringo sang a song on most of their albums. John and Paul even joked that their version of "I Wanna Be Your Man", which they gave to The Rolling Stones, was sung by Ringo (which is indeed the case on the recording that appears on With the Beatles, though John and Paul provide backup there).
    • This dates back to his days with Rory Storm and the Hurricanesinvoked; part of the logic behind his stage name was that it allowed the group to bill his solos as "Starr Time." (After joining The Beatles, he continued to cover one of his usual Rory numbers — the Shirelles' "Boys" — which made it onto the album Please Please Me.)
  • Supergroup: Starr has led the All-Starr Band since 1989, the concept for which is that every musician on stage with Ringo is a "star in their own right", who each get their own spotlight moments during the show to perform songs from their career. Famous musicians who have toured with the band include Todd Rundgren, Joe Walsh, Jack Bruce, Colin Hay, John Entwistle, Greg Lake (of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Sheila E., and Peter Frampton.
  • V-Sign: Basically his iconic gesture.


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