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Best Drum Performances by Ringo?
5 December 2013
12.44am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I don't know if this has been a thread elsewhere, but I couldn't find it in Songs or Ringo Starr, so where do you think Ringo's best drumming is?

For me it's A Day In The Life (those fills!), Rain, The End and Polythene Pam (not a common answer, but I think he's great on it). 

So, what do you think?

Note by Ahhh Girl 17 August 2014: I would like for this thread to remain about Ringo's work while The Beatles were together as a group. Thank you. Perhaps someone will create a topic for Ringo's solo work - or will have by the time you read this note :-)

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5 December 2013
2.29am
LongHairedLady
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I don't know if this has been a thread elsewhere, but I couldn't find it in Songs or Ringo Starr, so where do you think Ringo's best drumming is?

For me it's A Day In The Life (those fills!), Rain, The End and Polythene Pam (not a common answer, but I think he's great on it). 

So, what do you think?

Agreed on all of those.  Also "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" "Helter Skelter" "Ticket To Ride" "Good Morning Good Morning" "Tomorrow Never Knows".

I've always been a big fan of the drumming in "Dear Prudence", but of course it is Paul…  but I'm sure his style naturally was influenced by Ringo, although Paul does have a distinct sound himself. 

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

5 December 2013
2.30am
LongHairedLady
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Oh yeah, I really love the anthology version of "Your Mother Should Know".  The drumming and vocals are superior!  

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

5 December 2013
2.38am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Ah yes, I forgot Tomorrow Never Knows. Also brilliant. And on the Dear Prudence note, I've actually always liked the drumming on both Back In The USSR and The Ballad Of John And Yoko, which were both Paul as well.

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5 December 2013
2.41am
LongHairedLady
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
Ah yes, I forgot Tomorrow Never Knows. Also brilliant. And on the Dear Prudence note, I've actually always liked the drumming on both Back In The USSR and The Ballad Of John And Yoko, which were both Paul as well.

Yes, he can definitely hold his own on the drums.  a-hard-days-night-paul-8

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

5 December 2013
11.15am
Ben Ramon
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She Said She Said - I love those irregular, cycling rhythms, punctuated by those great cymbal crashes.

Also, God. In the litany of renouncement at the end, every single drum fill between each line is unique. Ringo said he would play a spontaneous fill according to the feeling he got from each line John sang - understated but it works incredibly well in marrying words and music.

 

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5 December 2013
11.23am
trcanberra
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LongHairedLady said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said
Ah yes, I forgot Tomorrow Never Knows. Also brilliant. And on the Dear Prudence note, I've actually always liked the drumming on both Back In The USSR and The Ballad Of John And Yoko, which were both Paul as well.

Yes, he can definitely hold his own on the drums.  a-hard-days-night-paul-8

So Ringo's best drum performances are actually by Paul?  :)

I just listened to Back In The USSR and Dear Prudence twice each a short time ago, and while I find the drumming adequate I don't feel it is as good as what Ringo produced on the rest of the album.

 

5 December 2013
1.46pm
DrBeatle
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Besides the obvious ones (Rain, She Said She Said, A Day In The Life, Come Together, etc) I've always loved his fills in The Word, and the fills in Hello Goodbye are bloody brilliant.

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5 December 2013
4.14pm
Ahhh Girl
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I'll be first to admit that I'm not musically inclined, so I don't know if this qualifies as a "good" drum performance or not, but I really love his drumming in "What You're Doing."

5 December 2013
5.30pm
Inner Light
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I vote for 'I Feel Fine'

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5 December 2013
9.20pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I really love the songs that begin with drums (She Loves You, Mean Mr Mustard, etc.) I feel like on those, I actually notice the drums more the rest of the songs. 

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26 December 2013
8.26pm
Billy Rhythm
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I saw an interview with Ringo a few months back (if I can find it I'll post a link) where he himself declared that there were only 3 Beatles' tracks where someone else was playing the drums, he listed them as the 'Love Me Do' version which Andy White played on, and 'Back In The U.S.S.R.' & 'The Ballad of John & Yoko' where Paul played them.  I don't think that it's accurate to state that Paul played drums on 'Dear Prudence', any publications saying this are basing their information off of Mark Lewinsohn's book detailing their recording history, where the "final" take of Dear Prudence was supposedly recorded while Ringo was on holiday and Paul is listed as playing the drums.

 

Let's, for argument's sake, assume that Lewinsohn's documentation is correct.  The 'Dear Prudence' arrangement is a very complex one composed of several guitars (both acoustic & electric) which would've likely required a "click track", or a simple drum track laid down at first for reference to keep the tempo consistent throughout for additional overdubs which is meant only to be audible in the player's headphones (the finished drum track doesn't kick in until well into the song).  Paul would've been the obvious choice (and most willing) to sit in here if Ringo was unavailable, which explains away Lewinsohn's "date stamp" of the drum track.  Secondly, Lewinsohn's book shows other inconsistencies, such as crediting Paul for the drums played on 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road??', which Ringo on more than one occasion has verified himself personally that he & Paul made 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road??' while John & George were working on other songs in adjacent studios.

 

It's very probable and likely that Ringo's overdubbed drums were added when he returned from "quitting the band" and it was simply not documented for the final take was all ready in the can, so to speak.  Ringo even talks about 'Dear Prudence', granted the writing of it not the recording of it, during the Rishikesh sequence of the 'Anthology' quite fondly which you'd think would be a song he'd avoid discussing if it was one that he supposedly wasn't good enough to drum on, after all, I don't recall him saying anything about 'Back In The U.S.S.R.' or 'The Ballad of John & Yoko' other than confirming that Paul played drums on them, he seems to disassociate himself from those two as though they don't exist.

 

The "proof", as they say, "is in the pudding" and it's very obvious to me that Ringo played the stellar drum track on 'Dear Prudence'.  Compare the rock solid beats to the second verse of 'Dear Prudence' to Ringo's drumming on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and it's very clear that this was the same drummer playing on both.  In one measure of 4/4 time, Ringo hits quarter notes on the bass drum during beats 1 & 2 before a single snare quarter note strikes beat 3, Ringo maintains this simple straight ahead rock pattern with precision on both these songs before filling the measure with steady eighth notes on the highhats right as John begins to sing "the wind is low, the birds will..." exactly like he does when George first kicks in with "I don't know how nobody told you..." on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'.  Owners of 'The Beatles RockBand' video game can actually see the identical drum charts for both of these songs are included in the game.

 

Paul is more than capable of steady rock drumming, as evidenced by his work on both 'Back In The U.S.S.R.' & 'The Ballad of John & Yoko', but what he isn't capable of is the truly inventive fills performed by Ringo throughout the last verse of 'Dear Prudence'.  What's showcased here is very reminiscent of Ringo's far out drumming on 'She Said, She Said' or 'Rain', only more evolved.  The fills have Ringo's signature hitting off the back of the downbeats written all over them, something that the most seasoned of drummers, certainly Paul McCartney in 1968, would have great difficulty imitating, let alone coming up with it themselves.  Until Paul or Ringo personally say otherwise, I'm fairly certain that Ringo plays on the final mix of 'Dear Prudence'...:-)

26 December 2013
8.41pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Hmmm.... that's interesting. I listened to it, and I do think you're right. It's got the fills that Ringo was so famous for. 

On topic: I think he's pretty good on What You're Doing (as Ahhh Girl said) 

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26 December 2013
8.52pm
acmac
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I couldn't begin to choose, but "Rain" is surely a contender. Paul said it's "like a giant's footstep," which I think is a great description.

26 December 2013
8.55pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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acmac said
I couldn't begin to choose, but "Rain" is surely a contender. Paul said it's "like a giant's footstep," which I think is a great description.

Yeah, it just kind of envelops you, but not in an overwhelming way. It's really great.

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26 December 2013
9.29pm
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An obscure one but Blue Jay Way. Right from the off the song is just so dull sounding (the cello and even Ringo's mono drum beat add to the slow and turgid feel ) but get to the chorus and then from the second verse onwards and what gives the track its interest, it's drive, is Ringo; all down to Ringo. Change the drums you will get a song that would bore you and make you depressed, instead he saves the song and gets you, well me at least, enjoying it.

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26 December 2013
10.23pm
DearSirOrMadam
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I think the year 1965 was very good for Ringo. He plays "Ticket To Ride" in almost progressive style. "Help" is a great session too. Next year he did some of his most unforgottable works - Tomorrow Never Knows, Rain.

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27 December 2013
11.51pm
acmac
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Billy Rhythm said

The "proof", as they say, "is in the pudding" and it's very obvious to me that Ringo played the stellar drum track on 'Dear Prudence'.  Compare the rock solid beats to the second verse of 'Dear Prudence' to Ringo's drumming on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and it's very clear that this was the same drummer playing on both. ...

Paul is more than capable of steady rock drumming, as evidenced by his work on both 'Back In The U.S.S.R.' & 'The Ballad of John & Yoko', but what he isn't capable of is the truly inventive fills performed by Ringo throughout the last verse of 'Dear Prudence'.  What's showcased here is very reminiscent of Ringo's far out drumming on 'She Said, She Said' or 'Rain', only more evolved.  The fills have Ringo's signature hitting off the back of the downbeats written all over them, something that the most seasoned of drummers, certainly Paul McCartney in 1968, would have great difficulty imitating, let alone coming up with it themselves.  Until Paul or Ringo personally say otherwise, I'm fairly certain that Ringo plays on the final mix of 'Dear Prudence'...:-)

I have no opinion on the matter, not having any technical expertise in drumming. However, one thing I never see mentioned in these debates is Paul's drumming on "My Dark Hour" by the Steve Miller band. To my untrained ear it stacks up against "Dear Prudence," but what say ye all?

28 December 2013
12.43am
Billy Rhythm
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acmac said 

To my untrained ear it stacks up against "Dear Prudence," but what say ye all?
 

 

It's a good example because it's clearly not the same drummer who played on 'Dear Prudence' and it doesn't stack up, in my opinion.  The fills "littered" (for lack of a better word) throughout this recording are very generic and lack the feel of a Ringo Starr fill, such as the ones expressed in 'Dear Prudence'.  The fills present in both 'Back In The U.S.S.R.' & 'The Ballad Of John & Yoko' are very "run of the mill", as are the ones presented here.  Again, the only "proof" people have of Paul supposedly drumming on 'Dear Prudence' is based off of documentation by Mark Lewisohn, which is suspect for we know that he's wrong about Paul drumming on 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road??'.  Ringo has said that there are only 3 songs where someone else played and 'Dear Prudence' wasn't one of them, and neither was 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road??'.

 

Listen closely to the fills on the Steve Miller track, the hits comprising the fill are virtually all the same dynamic (or volume) while being evenly spaced throughout the fill (as with 'Back In The U.S.S.R. & 'The Ballad of John & Yoko&#39a-hard-days-night-george-10.  The fills on 'Dear Prudence' have many different dynamics to the strikes with well placed spaces at different intervals between the hits, he's even hitting at different places on the skins themselves and at times the rim is even audible.  Paul doesn't play with the same confidence, he's solid, but primarily hits at the centre of the drum everytime and his way of varying the fill is to simply double up the eighth notes to sixteenth notes, or crash the cymbal here and there.  Compare the fills played on 'Helter Skelter' from the same album, especially during the ending jam bit, it's definitely the same drummer who plays on 'Dear Prudence'...:-)

28 December 2013
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Ron Nasty
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Lewisohn may have had to correct details of what he believed when writing "Recording Sessions" as he's discovered new information. He has always been prepared to do that, as shown by the corrections he made in "Chronicle". However, he has never been shown to get a recording date wrong, just missed an overdub here or there.

Ringo left The Beatles on 22 August 1968 and rejoined them on 3 September. Dear Prudence was recorded 28-30 August at Trident, while Ringo was in Sardinia cooling off. So, however Ringo remembers it, and none of them are the best witnesses, I ask how he drummed on a track that was recorded during his absence? Purely based on the dates Ringo isn't drumming.

Leaves you with one of four choices - the recording dates for DP are completely wrong and we don't know when it was recorded, in spite of the documentation; when recording the basic track they didn't bother with drums, waiting for Ringo to come back and do that in some undocumented overdub session, despite the proof that drums were part of the basic track; Ringo augmented Paul's drum track at some undocumented overdub session, which would make the drum track a combination of his and Paul's original (which knowing the basic track was recorded live would mean bleed-through would have meant it couldn't be removed completely), something I don't dismiss out of hand, though would love to see any proof of this undocumented overdub session; or everybody, including Ringo, and his passport, have it wrong about where he was, and he was back with them at Trident on the 28th.

Those are the possibilities though, based on the evidence (and lack of for Ringo being the drummer and not Paul) - and not taking in John's comment about Paul's drumming on DP.

This is where this stuff sometimes gets silly. All the evidence says no way, and people sit there and say way. Give me some proof that Ringo, despite all the evidence, was the drummer on the recording of DP!

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