• 04-15-2004, 05:14 AM
    MasterCylinder
    13 Reasons to Give Ringo Some Respect
    THIRTEEN REASONS TO GIVE
    RINGO SOME RESPECT

    By John Bryant

    copyrighted




    Ringo Starr, the luckiest no-talent on earth. All he had to do was smile and bob his head. Oh yes, and keep a beat for three of the most talented musicians/songwriters of this century. What other impression could one have when judging the role that Ringo played in the success of the Beatles? Did Ringo really make a difference? Upon listening to the latest release by The Beatles, Anthology 1, you get a chance to listen to Pete Best and two other drummers play on over twenty songs. Was Ringo simply in the right place at the right time? The following items may help in going beyond the image:





    1. Ringo was the first true rock drummer to be seen on TV. All the Rock & Roll drummers featured with Elvis, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis were mostly R&B drummers that were making the transition from a swing drumming style of the 40's and 50's toward the louder and more "rocking" sound that is associated with "I Want To Hold Your Hand". They were dressed in tuxedos and suits and held the drumsticks in the "traditional" manner of military, orchestra, and jazz drummers. Ringo showed the world that power was needed to put the emphasis on the "rock" in Rock & Roll music, so he gripped both sticks like hammers and proceeded to build a foundation for rock music.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    2. Ringo changed the way drummers hold their sticks by making popular the "matched" grip of holding drumsticks. Nearly all drummers in the Western World prior to Ringo held their sticks in what is termed the "traditional" grip, with the left hand stick held like a chopstick. This grip was originally developed by military drummers to accomodate the angle of the drum when strapped over the shoulder. Ringo's grip changes the odd left hand to match the right hand, so that both sticks are held like a flyswatter. Rock drummers along with marching band and orchestral percussionists now mostly play with a "matched" grip, and drum companies have developed straps and accessories to accomodate them.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    3. Ringo started a trend of placing drummers on high risers so that they would be as visible as the other musicians. When Ringo appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, he immediately caught the attention of thousands of "drummers to be" by towering over the other three Beatles. Elvis's drummer was looking at a collection of backs.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    4. These same "wannabe" drummers also noticed that Ringo was playing Ludwig drums and they immediately went out and bought thousands of these drumsets, thus establishing Ludwig as the definitive name in Rock & Roll drums at that time.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    5. Ringo changed the sound of recorded drums. About the time of Rubber Soul (released Dec. 6,1965), the sound of the drumset started to become more distinct. Along with help from the engineers at Abbey Road studios, Ringo popularized a new sound for the drums by tuning them lower, deadening the tonal ring with muffling materials, and making them sound "closer" by putting a microphone on each drum.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    6. Ringo has nearly perfect tempo. This allowed the Beatles to record a song 50 or 60 times, and then be able to edit together different parts of numerous takes of the same song for the best possible version. Today an electronic metronome is used for the same purpose, but the Beatles had to depend on Ringo to keep the tempo consistant throughout the dozens of takes of the songs that you know and love so well. Had he not had this ability, the Beatles recordings would sound completely different today.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    7. Ringo's "feel" for the beat serves as a standard for pop-rock record producers and drummers alike. It is relaxed, but never dragging. Solid, yet always breathing. And yes, there is a great amount of musical taste in his decisions of what to play and when to play it. In most recording sessions, the drummer's performance acts as a barometer for the rest of the musicians. The stylistic direction, dynamics, and emotions are filtered through the drummer. He is the catcher to whom the pitcher/songwriter is throwing. If the drumming doesn't feel good, the performance of any additional musicians is doomed from the start. The Beatles rarely if ever had this problem with Ringo.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    8. Ringo hated drum solos, which should win points with quite a few people. He only took one solo while with the Beatles. His eight measure solo appears during "The End" on the "B" side of Abbey Road. Some might say that it is not a great display of technical virtuosity, but they would be at least partially mistaken. You can set an electronic metronome to a perfect 126 beats per minute, then play it along with Ringo's solo and the two will stay exactly together.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    9. Ringo's ability to play odd time signatures helped to push popular songwriting into uncharted areas. Two examples are "All you Need is Love" in 7/4 time, and "Here Comes the Sun" with repeating 11/8, 4/4, and 7/8 passages in the chorus.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    10. Ringo's proficiency in many differen styles such as two beat swing ("When I'm Sixty-Four"), ballads ("Something"), R&B ("Leave My Kitten Alone" and "Taxman") and country (the Rubber Soul album) helped the Beatles to explore many musical directions with ease. His pre-Beatle experience as a versatile and hard working nightclub musician served him well.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    11. The idea that Ringo was a lucky Johnny-on-the-spot-with-a-showbiz-stage-name is wrong. In fact, when Beatle producer George Martin expressed his unhappiness after the first session with original drummer Pete Best, the decision was made by Paul, George, and John to hire who they considered to be the best drummer in Liverpool - Ringo Starr. His personality was a bonus.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    12. The rumors that Ringo did not play on many of the Beatle songs because he was not good enough are also false. In fact, he played on every released Beatles recording (not including Anthology 1) that include drums except for the following: "Back In The USSR" and "Dear Prudence", on which Paul played drums due to Ringo temporarily quitting the band, "The Ballad of John and Yoko", again featuring Paul on drums because Ringo was off making a movie, and a 1962 release of "Love Me Do" featuring session drummer Andy White.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    13. When the Beatles broke up and they were all trying to get away from each other, John Lennon chose Ringo to play drums on his first solo record. As John once said, "If I get a thing going Ringo knows where to go, just like that.." A great songwriter could ask no more of a drummer. Except maybe to smile and bob his head.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    John Bryant is a 43-year-old session drummer and producer in Dallas, Texas. He has recorded and toured with Ray Charles, the Paul Winter Consort, and currently is a member of the percussion ensemble, D'Drum. In 1976, Mr. Bryant played a rehea rsal with Paul McCartney and Wings when regular drummer Joe English became ill and could not make it. Mr. Bryant started playing drums after seeing Ringo Starr on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
  • 04-15-2004, 06:47 AM
    ForeverAutumn
    Very interesting article which will, of course, be printed and passed on to Hubby.

    We saw Ringo's All-Star band a few years ago and Peter commented on Ringo's lack of skill as a drummer. I think that he would find these facts interesting. I wonder if perhaps many people mistake lack of complexity for lack of skill. I'm no drummer, but I have trouble counting 3/4 time. I seriously doubt that I could handle 11/8 time! :)

    Thanks for posting this.

    On another note...Have you started the Neil Peart book yet? I'm waiting for Hubby to finish it so that I can read it, but he reads really s--------l--------o--------w.
  • 04-15-2004, 07:30 AM
    Dave_G
    Neil Peart book?
    You mean his latest one?

    Ya, I read it, it was pretty boring, actually.

    Not really a good read for me, and I love to read good books but this one is slow as crud.

    The best part was when he discussed his adventures on his motorcycle.

    Dave
  • 04-15-2004, 07:36 AM
    dld
    And The # 1 Reason Ringo Deserves Our Respect
    # 1 Reason Ringo deserves our respect -

    He was married to Barbara Bach :D

    Nice article BTW
  • 04-15-2004, 08:07 AM
    MasterCylinder
    yes and no
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    Very interesting article which will, of course, be printed and passed on to Hubby.

    We saw Ringo's All-Star band a few years ago and Peter commented on Ringo's lack of skill as a drummer. I think that he would find these facts interesting. I wonder if perhaps many people mistake lack of complexity for lack of skill. I'm no drummer, but I have trouble counting 3/4 time. I seriously doubt that I could handle 11/8 time! :)

    Thanks for posting this.

    On another note...Have you started the Neil Peart book yet? I'm waiting for Hubby to finish it so that I can read it, but he reads really s--------l--------o--------w.


    I saw thw All-Starr band last summer and many (MANY) pro drummers would have trouble keeping up with Sheila E. She was amazing. My wife asked me if that was one of the best FEMALE drum solos I ever saw -- I replied that it was in the top 5 solos I ever saw................irrespective of gender.

    Ringo took it all in stride and told the audience......."I gave her one lesson and look what happened !"

    Regarding the Peart book.........it is on its way......should arrive any day. I ordered another book along with the Peart in order to get free shipping.........evidently, the FREE shipping is slower than your Hubby.
  • 04-15-2004, 09:45 AM
    Troy
    The last time there was a Ringo bashing thread on this board our pal MindGoneHaywire posted that very same piece.

    It's interesting, but I have a couple of comments.

    The matched grip thing is huge, yes.

    Numbers 1, 3 and 4 don't really have to do with him being a good drummer.

    I question whether 5 was his doing and not George Martin's.

    6 and 8. I just don't know. Is perfect time more important than dynamics? Frankly, the fill at the end of "The End" he cites sounds like crap to me. It's slow, lumpy and terribly undynamic. Absolutely no creativity of flair . . . but yes, it IS in time.

    My conclusion is that Ringo is like Charlie Watts. A very proficient and professional journeyman drummer. His playing served the music, I mean, you wouldn't want the Beatles to have Neil Peart, ya know? The drums were not supposed to be the focus of the band. He'd overpower the songs or would have held himself in check to much that we never would have known how great he was. But i DO think that Ringo could have offered more to the band.
  • 04-15-2004, 10:06 AM
    MasterCylinder
    agreed
    I hear ya Troy.

    I'm calling BS on # 5.

    We all know George Martin might have done more for the sound of the Beatles than any other individual.

    .....................................And by "individual" I mean he obviously did not do more than the duo of Lennon-McCartney.
  • 04-15-2004, 10:51 AM
    tentoze
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MasterCylinder
    I hear ya Troy.

    I'm calling BS on # 5.

    We all know George Martin might have done more for the sound of the Beatles than any other individual.

    .....................................And by "individual" I mean he obviously did not do more than the duo of Lennon-McCartney.

    It is an interesting enough read. I still can't lose the memory that, while giving the "#1" cd its 1st spin after it came out (and I admit here that I rarely listen to Beatles music and haven't in years), there's one of the early hits, and I can't remember which one, that I swear it sounded to me like Ringo is playing a totally different song than the rest of the band. I'll have to play it 2nite and see if I can pinpoint the toon.
  • 04-16-2004, 08:46 AM
    Lifes-A-Blast
    Other Ringo Items to Share
    Just reading the threads to this one and had a good laugh or two.
    After the official Beatles breakup Ringo was in still in full force as a session
    man. He drummed for Lennon & how about the the early Harrison solo works.
    I can't forget Bangadelish where he forgets the lyrics to It Dont Come Easy and mumbles through the 2 or 3 verses of that.... And also don't forget he did session work with Harry Nillson's Nillson's Schmillson & Son of Schmillson records. If you have the original RCA vinyl releases check the liner notes for 1 Ritchie Snare & George Harrysong on some of the song linups.On the CD issues that info has been removed.
    Ringo also played of Peter Frampton's Wind of Change album w Klaus Voorman & Billy Preston on a few tunes . One last little ditty "Paul said sitting on John, By George where did my Ringo!!! if you can remember that one you are way too old Life 2004
  • 04-18-2004, 12:23 PM
    3-LockBox
    I'm glad I read this. I've avoided reading the past few days because I was sure it was a joke of some sort. The 'idea' that Starr was merely lucky and tolerated is pure stupidity. In fact, none of the Beatles are the most technically gifted musicians of their era. The strength of the Beatles was their writing and singing ability, which was at the time, way beyond their years. Ringo was indeed in the right place at the right time, for the sake of everyone involved. It's been said that the great Bill Bruford couldn't keep time worth ****, but no one would argue that he's one of the great jazz and improv drummers of all time. What would Bruford had done with any Beatles tune? The Beatles music didn't need an over the top, fusion style drummer. I can't think of one tune where I'm thinking that the drumming coulda been better. Guitar maybe, but not the drumming.
  • 04-18-2004, 12:47 PM
    mad rhetorik
    Bruford sloppy? No way.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    It's been said that the great Bill Bruford couldn't keep time worth ****...

    I don't see why he has that reputation. I think he keeps time just as good as any other jazz/fusion drummer worth his salt. Listen to those short percussion jams "B'Boom," "Prism," and "Conundrum" on the King Crimson live album <b>Vroom Vroom</b>--those aren't drum solos in the conventional sense, they're too tightly constructed for that. Proves that Bruford's time keeping is plenty disciplined when he wants it to be.
  • 04-18-2004, 08:39 PM
    Worf101
    Interesting article...
    I'm not a drummer but as a bass player I'm VERY familiar with them and what I consider to be a good one. I don't diss Ringo for one important reason... he never took himself too seriously. A person who lived through Beatlemania could get a severe case of the "bigheads", he always seemed real to me. Never took himself so seriously that he said stupid things or wound up drowning in a pool of vomit, I can respect him for that. As for bringing drums to the forefront I think Louie Belson, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Art Blakey would have a few things to say about that. My personal fave Rock Drummer is Mike Shrieve from Santana... him whew... I'd pay to play with.

    As for popularizing Ludwig kits that's not much to be proud of!! Sheesh... take it from a man that's stood next to hundreds of dem kits, I could do without them. They may have been rock drums but they broke down damn near every other tune some nights. It seemed impossible to keep a kick pedal from disconnecting on them and they tended to slide across the stage like a ba**rd as well. Pretty to look at but not for the long haul. By the way Hofner basses (popularised by Paul) don't play too well either, too light, no sufficient low end and the necks have insufficient truss rod strength. They warped and went out of tune if you looked at em wrong. No, I'm not nostalgic for those instruments I tell you.

    Da Worfster :cool:
  • 04-18-2004, 08:39 PM
    3-LockBox
    I believe it was said by an engineer...
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mad rhetorik
    I don't see why he has that reputation. I think he keeps time just as good as any other jazz/fusion drummer worth his salt. Listen to those short percussion jams "B'Boom," "Prism," and "Conundrum" on the King Crimson live album <b>Vroom Vroom</b>--those aren't drum solos in the conventional sense, they're too tightly constructed for that. Proves that Bruford's time keeping is plenty disciplined when he wants it to be.


    during the <b>AWBH</b> sessions. But no, I do not believe his timing was bad. Just listen to a song like 'Model Man' or 'Neil and Jack and Me'. These songs pack a great back beat. No, I was only trying to show that people's opinions (about artists) are sometimes based on who they are and not what they are.

    Like I said, no one in the <b>Beatles</b> were innovators of their chosen instruments, except maybe Ringo. None of them were virtuosos, nor did they need to be; they were a pop band. Ringo could have brought more to the table in the form of writing, but Lennon/McCartney were pretty territorial and didn't allow much input as it was, even to Harrison, who was at least their equal. Ringo was all the drummer the <b>Beatles</b> needed.
  • 04-19-2004, 08:15 AM
    MindGoneHaywire
    Worf: As for bringing drums to the forefront I think Louie Belson, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Art Blakey would have a few things to say about that

    Remember, it does say rock drummers, which is the point on that one. The guy was specific about that.