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Even for those who do not know much about the Beatles, the names John Lennon and Paul McCartney may ring a bell and stand out the most amongst all The Beatles. Many do not know much about the other two band members of the fab four, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Toonari Post have explored ten things to know about the quiet Beatle George, and will here focus on the drummer of the band, Ringo Starr.
1. He was in two bands before he joined The Beatles.
Ringo started his own group in 1957 with his friend Eddie Miles called the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. In 1959, he joined the Raving Texans. By October 1960, the band was renamed Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and while they were performing in Hamburg, Starr met The Beatles.
2. His real name is Richard Starkey.
During his time with the Raving Texans, Richard adopted the stage name “Ringo Starr” because of the rings he wore and because it sounded “cowboyish,” and his drum solos were billed as “Starr Time.”
3. He wasn’t the original drummer for The Beatles.
After meeting The Beatles in 1960 in Germany, Starr sat in for Pete Best as The Beatles’ drummer on 18 August 1961 and 5 February 1962. The Beatles removed Best as their drummer on 16 August 1962, after Best had played in the early recording sessions at EMI Studios. Starr then became the band’s drummer and his first performance as a full Beatle was on 18 August 1962 at a Horticultural Society dance at Port Sunlight. Best’s removal from The Beatles didn’t sit well with Best’s fans. The following day, after Starr’s appearance at the Cavern Club performance as a full Beatle, they were upset at Best’s removal. They held vigils outside Best’s house and fought at the club, shouting ‘Pete forever! Ringo never!’ George Harrison received a black eye from one of the fans.
4. He was the oldest member to join the band.
Ringo was born July 7, 1940. John was the second oldest as he was born October 9, 1940 while Paul was born June 18, 1942 and George-the youngest of the fab four-was born February 25, 1943.
5. He was the first Beatle to actually leave the group.
It was in 1968 during the infamous White Album sessions. During the two week period in which Starr was gone, the remaining band members all took turns on the drums for some of the tracks. When he returned he found his drum kit covered in flowers.
6. Ringo was born left-handed.
He became ambidextrous because his grandmother thought it was a witch spell for people to be left handed and therefore he was forced to write with his right hand.
7. Starr didn’t play the drums on The Beatles’s single “Love Me Do.”
On September 11, 1962, during the band’s second recording session with Starr as a member, producer George Martin replaced Starr (who was inexperienced with playing in the studio) 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”. Instead of the drums, Starr played tambourine on “Love Me Do” and maracas on “P.S. I Love You” for this session.
8. Of all the band members, Ringo was the most consistent during recording sessions.
That’s according to English author and historian Mark Lewisohn, who is regarded as the world’s leading authority on The Beatles. In his detailed study of The Beatles’ recording sessions, Lewisohn confirmed that Starr was both proficient and remarkably reliable and consistent. According to Lewisohn, there were fewer than a dozen occasions in the band’s 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 Beatles.
9. Starr is considered to have influenced various modern drumming techniques.
Techniques such as the matched grip started with Starr. The drummer holds drum sticks and mallets to play percussion instruments; in the matched grip each hand holds its stick in the same way. In the traditional grip, each hand holds the stick differently. Placing the drums on high risers for visibility as part of the band, tuning the drums lower, and using muffling devices on tonal rings are also Starr’s.
10. Many drummers cite Starr as an influence.
This includes: Steve Gorman of the Black Crowes, Dave Grohl of Nirvana, Jen Ledger of Skillet, 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, Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós, the former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Pedro Andreu of Heroes del Silencio and many others.