Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rant #294: Ringo, Ringo, Ringo

Richard Starkey turned 70 yesterday.

You ask, "Who is Richard Starkey?"

And then you say to me, "On a day when Lindsay Lohan is dealt a terrible blow to her career, and what with the Lebron James saga, who the heck is Richard Starkey and why should I care about him?"

Well, the answer is simple: Richard Starkey is the most famous drummer in the world, and was a member of the most popular band in the world.

Richard Starkey, with a little help from my friends, is Ringo Starr.

I am sure that when Paul McCartney wrote "When I'm 64" he had no idea that he and Ringo would actually get several years beyond that number to 70.

And now Ringo has!

Ringo was not the original drummer in the band, Pete Best was. But for whatever reason or reasons--and there were evidently plenty, including Pete's good looks and his ineptitude as a drummer--Ringo came into the game a little later than Paul, George and John, but his impact was felt immediately.

Well, probably not immediately. Ringo wasn't the greatest drummer then, either, and had to be helped out on "Love Me Do" by a session drummer.

But he was what the Beatles needed. He was a decent musician at the time, smart, had a good personality, and wouldn't clash looks-wise with John, Paul or George.

But he became the true personality of the band. Just one look at him during the early days, and you knew that although these guys were serious musicians, they had a bit of fun in them.

And Ringo was it.

In fact, during their heyday, Ringo probably could be called the true heart of the band. No, he didn't write a lot of the tunes, no, he didn't sing too many either, but that backbeat lifted the Beatles to heights never before achieved, and probably never achievable again.

His turns as singer were memorable. Who could argue that "Yellow Submarine" and "Octopus' Garden" are among the most fun songs the Fab Four ever recorded?

He had an early, quite impressive solo career too. Although not much of a singer or songwriter, he was able to craft songs that fit both his limitations and strengths, and he had many, many hit records away from his mates--among them "Photograph," "You're Sixteen," and "The No No No Song," the latter one of my favorites.

And now he is 70.

He hasn't let up a bit. He releases an album just about every other year or so, and even though current pop radio won't play anything by anybody over 35 years old, the albums are pretty good.

He tours with his All-Star band, and celebrated his birthday with a concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

He has grown into his looks, and it's funny, but he looks much better than Paul does these days.

And he remains married to Barbara Bach, who in her day, was quite a looker, and still is one.

So, happy birthday Ringo. Here's to at least 70 more years of making us feel good with your music and your panache.


  1. It's cool to me that Ringo and i share the same birthday. Rock on Ringo! :)

  2. Happy birthday Drake!

    Yeah, it's cool to share a birthday with a famous person.

    I share mine with Saddam Hussein ...

    and happily, Ann-Margret (not the same year, of course).



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