Here is a question that has thrown people off for over 40 years: “What is the name of all four members of the 60’s rock band The Beatles?” The answers would follow as such: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and, …_____. The fourth Beatle always draws a blank. The forgotten Beatle’s name happens to be Ringo starr. Born in dingle, Liverpool, His real name was actually Richard Starkey, but got the nickname ringo because of all the rings he used to wear on his fingers. Starr is his last name, but without the “key”. The drummer of this famous band is perhaps the most interesting of the four. His early life greatly influenced him into becoming one of greatest music icons of the 60’s, and propelling forward in his life after the Beatles.
To say that ringo starr had a healthy childhood would obviously be a lie. Much of Ringo’s childhood was spent in the hospital. He never went to the hospital for accidents that come along with being a kid, but for illnesses he was forced to fight. The first illness he had was appendicitis when he was six years old. The appendicitis then caused an infection which put him into a coma for almost a year (BiographyChannel). While in the hospital, he was given two toys to keep him busy: A bus and a drum. He loved the drum set more, so he decided to give the bus to the child next to him in the room. This nice gesture ended up with him falling out of his bed, hitting his head, and knocking himself out. He still had his drum though, and began a huge fascination with music especially with the drums. At age thirteen he caught a cold which then turned into pleurisy. Then he fell ill with tuberculosis. While in the hospital for this serious illness, he participated in some music lessons, falling more and more in love with the drums, stating that he wouldn’t play anything but the drums.”They became the dream that one day I would have my own set, which happened. And then the other dream was that I would play with other musicians, which came true.”(BiographyChannel). When he was 15, like many other teenagers, he was a fan of Johnny Ray. He became one of ringos heroes.” I was a fan before I was a Beatle. When I was 15, he was sitting on the top of Liverpool Adelphi hotel throwing photos down to the fans, and i thought, ‘That’s the job for me’ “(People) Holding on to that dream, His stepfather, harry graves encouraged Ringo’s drumming by buying him his very own drum set. Ringo then promised to be an amazing musician. He was on his way to just that, when he joined the band Rory storm and the hurricanes, a popular band during that time.
Ringo met the Beatles in 1960 in Germany while still with the hurricanes. The Beatles didn’t have a set drummer at the time. Pete best, the drummer, was always unavailable so Ringo would always step in. Though he faced some opposition from the fans, “Pete forever! Ringo never!” the Beatles insisted to their manager George Martin that Ringo replace him. Though ringo didn’t know it at the time, by becoming the drummer, he was becoming a part of history.”I’m not the creative one. I know that. If Rory Storm hadn’t come along… and then The Beatles… I would have continued running around in teddy boy gangs. Today, well… I’d probably be a laborer. I’m glad I’m not, of course. It’ll be nice to be part of history… some sort of history anyway. What I’d like to be is in school history books and be read by kids.”
(beatlesquotes)Ringo’s quirkiness and distinctive drumming skills proved to be a good attribute for this band. His good humor and creativeness set him apart from the other three. His drumming abilities established himself as a rock steady drummer who energized the band’s sound. In the 1980’s John Lennon commented on ringo’s talents saying “Ringo’s a damn good drummer. He was always 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…I think Paul and Ringo stand up anywhere with any of the rock musicians. Not technically great. None of us were technical musicians. None of us could read music. None of us can write it. But as pure musicians, as inspired humans to make noise, they’re as good as anybody”(beatlesbible) Ringo Starr was also a left handed drummer who played on a righted handed set, and only made a handful of mistakes. Starr considers his best drumming can be heard on the songs, “hey Jude”, “a day in the life”, and “paperback writer”. His quirky words were labeled “Ringoisms”. He had a different way of saying things, and some were used in songs they wrote such as in “Eleanor Rigby.”, “A hard day night”, and “Tomorrow never knows.” Though he was mostly the drummer, he did contribute by writing some songs as well. He wrote ” Don’t pass me by” and “octopuses garden”. He wrote Octopuses garden when he left the band before the white album was made. He claimed he was tired of all of their fighting. But he ended up coming back, saying “And I came back and it was great, ‘cuz George had set up all these flowers all over the studio saying welcome home. So then we got it together again. I always felt it was better on the White one for me. We were more like a band, you know.”(beatlesquotes)When he came back to the Beatles, George Harrison and the others had decorated the studio saying “welcome home ringo”.(beatlesbible) Not only was he a fantastic drummer, he also proved to be a great actor in “Help”, “A yellow Submarine”, and “A hard day’s night”. The dream that was the Beatles seemed like it would never end, but unfortunately, that sad day came.”I couldn’t put my finger on one reason why we broke up. It was time, and we were spreading out. They were spreading out more than I was. I would’ve stayed with the band.”
The Beatles broke up in 1970 leaving all four to go their own ways and make a name for themselves separately “It was pretty hard for me to go and join another band, because i was bigger than any band I could have joined”(people) Ringo’s solo career was rather successful as well with his hit “it don’t come easy”. He also collaborated with the other 3 Beatles on their own solo careers as well. He then created Ringo’s all starr band. “This is whole thing is a joy for me. I’m not stuck behind the drums. I’m up there doing my boogie.”(people) Though he seemed to be doing well after the break up, he was actually on a downward spiral. When he was in the Beatles, he experimented with drugs and alcohol, thinking that in order to be creative, “your brain has to be twisted in some way.” His alcoholism began to take over his life. He was reduced to something much more inferior than one would expect an ex Beatle to be. All he did was stay at home and not do anything.” drunks are great talkers. We’d sit around for nights on end and talk about what we were going to do. And of course id get so bleedin drunk, I couldn’t move. The result of being drunk was that nothing happened.” He realized he needed help, so he and his wife checked into rehab. When he got out, he was so changed even his daughter noticed. He says one of the problems that caused him to drink was his dysfunctional family. The first time he ever got drunk was when he was nine years old. His father’s friend had given him the alcohol. “I got used to living at the bottom. But you get to a point where you realize, this isn’t living.” He has definitely gotten over his drunken days, and promises to stay sober and having a blast in his band of all starrs.” That’s all drugs and alcohol do, they cut off your emotions in the end.” He urges all of his fans to take up meditation instead.
“I’d like to end up sort of… unforgettable.” And unforgettable he should be. Ringo Starr led a fascinating and interesting life pre- Beatle and post-Beatle. He teaches us all to embrace our quirks and let our differences shine. One could hope that after learning a bit about him, ringo will never be forgotten. His difficult early life, his road to fame, and his rise from his vices proves to everyone that he is worthy of being remembered as much more than just a drummer. He is symbol of peace, love, and Ringoisms. Now let’s try that again…Who are the four members of the Beatles?