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Richard Starkey, MBE (born 7 July 1940), better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the rock group The Beatles. When the band formed in 1960, Starr belonged to another Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He became The Beatles' drummer in 1962, taking over from Pete Best. In addition to his contribution as drummer, Starr featured as lead singer on a number of successful Beatles songs (in particular, "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Yellow Submarine", and the Beatles version of "Act Naturally") and as songwriter with the songs "Don't Pass Me By", "What Goes On", and "Octopus's Garden".
As drummer for The Beatles, Starr was musically creative, and his contribution to the band's music has received high praise from notable drummers in more recent times. Starr described himself as "your basic offbeat drummer with funny fills", technically limited by being a left-handed person playing a right-handed kit. Drummer Steve Smith said that Starr's popularity "brought forth a new paradigm" where "we started to see the drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect" and that Starr "composed unique, stylistic drum parts for The Beatles songs".
Starr is the most documented and critically acclaimed actor-Beatle,
playing a central role in several Beatles films, and appearing in
numerous other movies, both during and after his career with The
Beatles. After The Beatles' break-up in 1970, Starr achieved solo
musical success with several singles and albums, and recorded with each
of his fellow ex-Beatles as they too developed their post-Beatle
musical careers. He has also been featured in a number of TV
documentaries, hosted TV shows, and narrated the children's television
series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. He currently tours with
Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.
Starr generally sang at least one song on each studio album as part
of an attempt to establish the vocal personality of all four members.
In some cases, Lennon or McCartney wrote the lyrics and melody
especially for him, as they did for "Yellow Submarine" from Revolver
(1966) and "With a Little Help from My Friends" on Sgt. Pepper.
These melodies were tailored to Starr's baritone vocal range.
Starr's backing vocals are heard on songs such as "All Together Now",
"Carry That Weight", and "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill".
While Starr himself has been the first to acknowledge the technical
limitations of his drumming for The Beatles, the overall effect of his
contribution has received high praise from notable drummers. Starr
said, "Whenever I hear another drummer I know I'm no good. I'm no good
on the technical things [...] I'm your basic offbeat drummer with funny
fills. The fills were funny because I'm really left-handed playing a
right-handed kit. I can't roll around the drums because of that."
George Martin's version was, "Ringo hit good and hard and used the
tom-tom well, even though he couldn't do a roll to save his life",
although Martin later added, "He's got tremendous feel. He always
helped us to hit the right tempo for a song, and gave it that
support—that rock-solid back-beat—that made the recording of all The
Beatles' songs that much easier." Lennon, asked if Starr was the best
drummer in the world, jokingly replied, "He's not even the best drummer
in The Beatles!", but also said, "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." McCartney sent Starr a postcard on 31 January 1969
(the day after the band's performance on the roof of Apple Studios)
stating: 'You are the greatest drummer in the world. Really.' This
postcard is included in Starr's book Postcards From The Boys.
Many drummers acknowledge Starr as an influence, including Steve
Gorman of The Black Crowes, Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters, Orri
Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós, Max Weinberg of the E Street Band, Danny
Carey of Tool, Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel's band, Nicko McBrain of
Iron Maiden, Eric Carr of Kiss, Phil Rudd of AC/DC, Phil Collins, Mike
Portnoy of Dream Theater, Pedro Andreu of Heroes del Silencio and
others. In his extensive survey of The Beatles' recording sessions,
Mark Lewisohn confirmed that Starr was both proficient and remarkably
reliable and consistent. According to Lewisohn, there were fewer than a
dozen occasions in The Beatles' eight-year recording career where
session 'breakdowns' were caused by Starr making a mistake, while the
vast majority of takes were stopped owing to mistakes by the other
three members.Starr is considered to have influenced various modern
drumming techniques, such as the matched grip, placing the drums on
high risers for visibility as part of the band, tuning the drums lower,
and using muffling devices on tonal rings. Starr drummed on all but
five of the band's released tracks that feature drumming. For the
band's second recording session with Starr as a member on 11 September
1962, producer George Martin replaced the studio-inexperienced Starr
with session drummer Andy White to record takes for what would be the
two sides of The Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do" backed with "P.S.
I Love You". Starr played tambourine on "Love Me Do" and maracas on
"P.S. I Love You" for this session. McCartney took over the drums on
"Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Dear Prudence" from the White Album (1968)
after Starr had walked out, and also played the drums on "The Ballad of
John and Yoko", recorded on 14 April 1969, since only he and Lennon
were immediately available to record the song. Starr commented that he
was lucky in being "surrounded by three frustrated drummers" who could
only drum in one style.
Starr married Maureen Cox in February 1965, and they had three
children Zak (b. 13 September 1965), Jason (b. 19 August 1967),
and Lee (b. 17 November 1970); the couple divorced in 1975, and
Cox died in 1994. In 1980, on the set of the film Caveman, he met
actress Barbara Bach, who played the role of Major Anya Amasova
(female lead and main 'Bond girl') in The Spy Who Loved Me. They were
married on 27 April 1981, just a few weeks after the release of
Caveman. Starr resides in Los Angeles and also maintains homes in
Cranleigh, Surrey and Monte Carlo. His son, Zak, is a prolific
drummer, who until August 2008 was a semi-official member and drummer
in Oasis—one of the many bands influenced by The Beatles. Starr
arranged for Zak to receive drumming instruction from Zak's idol, The
Who's late drummer Keith Moon, who was Zak's godfather and a close
friend of Starr's. Zak also performs with The Who live (such as during
the Super Bowl XLIV Halftime show in 2010) and sometimes in the studio.
In 1985, Starr was the first of The Beatles to become a grandfather
upon the birth of Zak's daughter, Tatia Jayne Starkey. Zak has
performed with his father during some All-Starr Band tours. Like fellow
ex-Beatle McCartney, Starr is a vegetarian. Unlike McCartney, who is
vegetarian for ethical reasons, Starr is vegetarian because of stomach
problems he had in the past. Starr was left-handed until he became
ambidextrous when, during his childhood, his grandmother helped him
learn to write with his right hand.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Official Homepage: www.ringostarr.com
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