Yours Sincerely, Wasting Away

In case you missed it, Ringo Starr turned 64 this week, bringing to mind the famous Beatles song. Years ago, Kevin Lee Allen of Montclair Unmoderated had seen an artist’s rendition of what the Beatles would look like at that age, clipped it and filed it away. Ringo’s birthday inspired him to dig it out, and he sent it to us.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. A very happy birthday to one of the 6 greatest drummers in rock and roll history (Ringo, Charlie Watts, Levon Helm, Keith Moon, John Bonham & Jim Keltner being my 6). Many people underestimate what Ringo brought to the sound of The Beatles. He was an aggressive drummer, very inventive (though deceptively simple). He was an excellent singer of the country stuff they did (“Act Naturally,” “Honey Don’t,” “What Goes On,” and his own “Don’t Pass Me By”), and in his solo work, with the fine album Beaucoups of Blues, recorded in Nashville with the cream of the crop of Nashville session musicians. Also, long before the trend of rock musicians recording standards was in vogue, Ringo did it for his first solo album, Sentimental Journey. Finally, don’t forget that for a few years after the breakup, he had the most successful solo career of the Fabs, with a string of hit singles such as “It Don’t Come Easy,” “You’re Sixteen,” “Photograph,” “Only You,” “The No No Song,” and several others. In recent years he has put out a few modest albums, nothing spectacular, and has continued to tour with different versions of his All-Starr bands. He can be seen in last year’s Concert for George, singing “Photograph” and “Honey Don’t,” and playing drums behind Paul.
    My top 10 Ringo performances (in no specific order):
    * “I Wanna Be Your Man,” from Beatles At The BBC, possibly the best vocal of his Beatles career
    * “You’re Going To Lost That Girl,” from Help!–features great bongos playing by Ringo
    * “Octopus’ Garden,” from Abbey Road–Ringo’s sole songwriting contribution on the album gave George the opportunity for one of his finest guitar solos
    * “Rain,” ‘Paperback Writer’ b-side–probably Ringo’s finest drumming
    * ‘”Tomorrow Never Knows,” from Revolver–Ringo holds the whole thing together with a repeated snare/toms pattern played spot on time throughout
    * The Concert for Bangla Desh–Ringo on all tracks playing dual drums with Jim Keltner. He would do this on and off again throughout the 70’s, mainly on George’s albums
    * “Come Together,” from Abbey Road–Ringo gets a fine tom tom sound by placing towels over the skins
    * “Men’s Room, L.A.,” Kinky Friedman from Lasso From El Paso–Ringo is the voice of Jesus
    * ‘A Hard Day’s Night,” the film–Ringo is hilarious throughout, from the scene on the commuter train through minding Paul’s Grandfather.
    * “Honey Don’t,” “Matchbox,” from Carl Perkins & Friends: Blue Suede Shoes-1986 TV Special–Ringo is terrific playing drums and singing lead on these 2 tracks (“Matchbox” also featured Eric Clapton).

  2. OK, Ringo turns 64, Bowie has heart surgery. . .I’m just waiting to see Mick Jagger in high-waisted polyester pants now.

  3. Bob–
    Much thanks for the comments. Its always good to know a fellow Ringo appreciator out there. FYI, its “Love Me Do” that features Andy White, but only the single version. Ringo is on the album cut. Evidently, Ringo has never let George Martin hear the end of that! You know, people either forget or don’t know, when they secured Ringo, it was a big deal. He was an established star in Liverpool by way of playing with Rory Storm & the Hurricanes who were very big. So when The Beatles landed Ringo, it was a major event. Anyways, you’re right-he was vital to the sound, as they each were. George said it best: “How many Beatles does it take to change a lightbulb? Four-John, Paul, George & Ringo. No matter what anyone thinks, that’s the way it is.”

  4. I always loved “It Don’t Come Easy,” especially the Concert for Bangla Desh version. And don’t forget “Photograph.” I used to manage a recording studio some years back, and a drummer named Chris Parker played there often who went on to be in Bob Dylan’s band from ’88 to ’91. In 1990 they played in Paris and Ringo joined them on stage for a couple of songs. Chris told me what kind of a thrill it was to play drums next to the guy who spurred him on to take it up in the first place. He also said Ringo was doing some things on the ride cymbal, hitting the bell with such a level of finesse, and that he couldn’t figure out how to replicate the part since.

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