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The Beatle Beat
23 March 2012
11.53pm
rcurrey
A Beginning
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23 March 2012
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I always wondered what the Beatle beat was. It was there, but could not put my finger on it. That is, until I saw an interview by Ringo on "Sunday Morning" a couple of years ago.

 

Ringo said he was left handed, but always played a right handed drum set, left handed. This gave the syncopation, and the special style of what was to be known as the "Beatle Beatle".a-hard-days-night-ringo-14a-hard-days-night-ringo-14a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

19 November 2013
2.04am
Ahhh Girl
sailing on a winedark open sea
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What quality made the Beatles different from their contemporaries more/to a greater degree: vocal or instrumental? Or was it a combination of the two that can't really be separated?

 

19 November 2013
6.33pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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rcurrey said
I always wondered what the Beatle beat was. It was there, but could not put my finger on it. That is, until I saw an interview by Ringo on "Sunday Morning" a couple of years ago.

 

Ringo said he was left handed, but always played a right handed drum set, left handed. This gave the syncopation, and the special style of what was to be known as the "Beatle Beatle".a-hard-days-night-ringo-14a-hard-days-night-ringo-14a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

Thanks for pointing this out, rcurrey! I had never heard this before, so I looked it up. Sure enough, here it is! http://ultimateclassicrock.com.....ngo-starr/  (As far as the title of the article, I actually did know most of the other tidbits about Ringo, and I suspect most Beatle fans do, too.)  I don't know enough about drums to hear any special syncopation, but my ears do seem to recognize a "Beatle beat." It would be an interesting experiment to overdub other drum tracks from famous percussionists to Beatle songs to see how different beats would change the song's "feel." I've always thought it would be cool to hear "Back In The USSR" (for instance) with Ringo's drumming replacing Paul's. Really cool post, rcurrey! :)

20 November 2013
5.13pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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16 September 2013
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rcurrey said
I always wondered what the Beatle beat was. It was there, but could not put my finger on it. 

It would be fun to hear Beatles songs with Ringo's percussion track removed, and various other famous rock drummers' styles added. I can read music and play guitar and piano, but I don't have much knowledge about drums. So, I don't know how Charlie Watts would change the Beatles' sound. Or Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Neil Peart, Stewart Copeland… I suppose it could be done fairly easy with "Rock Band" technology, but I'm not familiar with it. Has anybody out there done this? It would be very interesting to hear, although probably jarring in most cases.

21 November 2013
4.01pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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rcurrey said
I always wondered what the Beatle beat was… 

I continue to be fascinated by the idea of hearing early Beatle songs with various other drummers' styles, like Charlie Watts. So, I went searching on the internet to see if anyone else had the same idea, and hopefully the knowledge and resources to piece together a demo that messes with the "Beatle Beat." Well, to quote U2, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for." But I did find a few things are interesting. Here is a mash-up of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, called "Whole Lotta Helter Skelter." http://soundhog.blogspot.co.uk.....s-led.html

And here is a bizarre tale told by the very respected session drummer Bernard Purdie, claiming that he was called in to replace Ringo's drums on many of the early Beatle recordings! http://www.jimvallance.com/03-.....urdie.html   As the author of the article points out, it can't be true; besides the fact that no one else has ever corroborated this fantastic notion, Purdie's timeline doesn't work. To quote Penny Lane: "Very strange"… The guy has been a superstar session man; why would he fabricate this tale?

As far as my search for Beatle tracks mashed-up with substitute drummers… the beat goes on.

21 November 2013
4.11pm
meanmistermustard
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 Its thought that Bernard Purdie might have been the drummer who did some overdubbing work on the Tony Sheridan Beatles recordings in 1964 for Atlantic Records in the US, hence his erroneous claims to having replaced Ringo's drumming, little knowing it was actually Pete's. Why they thought it a good idea to overdub Pete's work is a mystery as it sounds fine.pete-best

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
22 November 2013
5.01pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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I decided to explore Bernard Purdie's ridiculous claim further, so I Googled the subject. And of course, the first thing that comes up is a Beatles Bible forum thread from 2011. http://www.beatlesbible.com/fo.....ecordings/     :D

I'm still intrigued by the mysteries of the "Beatle Beat," and I found this article: http://blogcritics.org/the-bea.....-drummers/   Ringo was a left-handed drummer who played right-handed drums, leading to many "eccentricities," like his unorthodox leading-with-the-left-hand drum fills. I don't know much about the technical aspect of drumming, but I know that Ringo's "fills" (like on "Strawberry Fields Forever") are unique and memorable. And I like the quote that "…a more technically gifted drummer may have swamped their emerging style and sound." So, the "Beatle Beat" sounds like it is rock-solid, but simple, and eccentric. Like so many other cosmic occurences that make up the Beatles, Ringo's beat was the perfect fit.

4 December 2013
4.28pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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Bungalow Bob said
 
 So, the "Beatle Beat" sounds like it is rock-solid… 

Well, maybe not so rock-solid. I just got a brand-spankin'-new Beatles' book out of the library, titled "All The Songs." This book is huge, as big and as heavy as an old phone book, and it is chock-full of recording session trivia, a lot of which is new to me. Like this tidbit: This Beatles recorded most of their first album live in the studio, playing and singing at the same time. For Ringo's showcase vocal, "Boys," he must have been concentrating a bit too much on his singing; His drumbeat at the beginning of the song is 150 beats per minute. By the end of the song, he has slowed down to 140 beats per minute, a significant change in tempo. Ah, so no wonder the elusive "Beatle Beat" is so hard to figure out. ;-)

5 December 2013
4.57pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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So, according to the new Beatles book "All The Songs," Ringo's drumming on "Boys" starts out at 150 quarter-notes-per-minute, and by the end of the short song he has clumsily slowed down to 140. I really can't tell. The song works for me as is. But maybe there are a lot of human metronomes out there that do notice these flaws, and it must drive them nuts. If anyone can feel the famous "Beatle Beat" dragging here, let me know.

16 December 2013
2.04pm
vectisfabber
The Jacaranda
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11 November 2013
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Ringo's drumming is interesting.  Conventional right hand drumming involves right hand rhythm (typically quarter notes), on hi-hat/ride, with accents (typically off-beats) with left hand on snare drum, and Ringo plays like this.  However, he leads into the fills with his stronger left hand as opposed to conventional right hand.  And, while hindsight remembers the early TV appearances being simple 4-in-the-bar stuff, examination of what he's playing on record shows that they are anything but routine - he plays a different pattern on nearly every track.  I am always impressed with his work on the That Means A Lot outtakes - OK, so how the track ended up was a shambles, but Ringo's ability to shift styles from take to take is impressive.

Take a look at Joe English in Rockshow - his kit and his playing is an interesting hybrid of left and right hand.

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