Ringo Star

Richard Starkey, born on July 7, 1940, Dingle, Liverpool, England. Starkey established his reputation on the nascent Merseybeat circuit as drummer with Rory Storm And The Hurricanes. He later became acquainted with the Beatles, and having established a lively rapport with three of the group, became the natural successor to the taciturn Pete Best upon his firing in 1962. Ringo - a name derived from his many finger adornments - offered a simple, uncluttered playing style which formed the ideal bedrock for his partners' sense of melody. Although overshadowed musically, a deadpan sense of humor helped establish his individuality and each album also contained an obligatory Starr vocal. The most notable of these was "Yellow Submarine", a million-selling single in 1966. Ringo's success in the group's attendant films, A Hard Day's Night and Help!, inspired an acting career and comedy roles in Candy and The Magic Christian ensued. His solo recording career started with Sentimental Journey, a collection of standards, and Beaucoups Of Blues, a country selection recorded in Nashville, both predated the Beatles' demise.

Ringo StarrFears that his career would then falter proved unfounded. Starr's debut single, "It Don't Come Easy", co-written with George Harrison , topped the US charts and sold in excess of 1 million copies while the same pair also created "Back Off Boogaloo" (UK number 2) and "Photograph". Ringo featured songs and contributions from each of his former colleagues, although none were recorded together. Buoyed by strong original material and judicious rock 'n' roll favorites, the album later achieved platinum status and was rightly lauded as one of the strongest ex-Beatles' collections. "You're Sixteen" topped the US chart in 1974, but despite further success with "Oh My My", "Snookeroo" (penned by Elton John and Bernie Taupin ) and "Only You", Starr's momentum then waned. His film career enjoyed a brief renaissance, with production work on Born To Boogie followed by a highly-praised role in 1973's That'll Be The Day. The albums Ringo The 4th and Bad Boy showed an artist bereft of direction, however, and the 1983 album Old Wave was denied a release in both the US and UK. This period was also marred by alcoholism and chronic ill-health.

Ringo StarrDuring this nadir, Starr reached a completely new audience as narrator of the award winning children's television series, Thomas The Tank Engine, but signaled his return to active performing with a guest appearance on Carl Perkins ' tribute show. However, an album recorded with US producer Chips Moman in 1987 was abandoned when sessions were blighted by excessive imbibing. Starr then underwent highly-publicized treatment at an alcohol rehabilitation clinic with his wife, actress Barbara Bach, before reasserting his musical career with the All-Starr Band. Levon Helm, Billy Preston, Joe Walsh and Dr. John were among those joining the drummer for a successful 1989 US tour, later the subject of an album and video. The stellar cast Starr was able to assemble confirmed the respect he is still afforded. Starr received a high-profile in 1992 with a new album and tour. The record coincided with the 25th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band which was a timely reminder that his playing on that album was quite superb, and, in addition to his equally fine performance on Abbey Road, begs for a reappraisal of his standing as a drummer which appears grossly underrated.

Ringo StarrHe undertook many interviews in 1998 when Vertical Man was released. It seemed for once that Starr had something to say about the past, although his apparent anger stems from the fact that he is still regarded as the "merely" the drummer for the Beatles. That is unlikely to ever change, and whilst he may tire of constantly having to recycle the past, to the detriment of his still active solo career; ex-Beatle Ringo Starr was far too important for millions of people.

 
 

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