Ringo Starr

The solo years

Ringo StarrStarr released two albums in 1970, the year of The Beatles' breakup. Sentimental Journey was his nostalgic take on a number of post-war standards, and Beaucoups Of Blues indulged his interest in country music.

The singles It Don't Come Easy (1971) and Back Off Boogaloo (1972) were hits, and Photograph, co-written with George Harrison, was a US number one, as was You're Sixteen. His 1973 album Ringo remains his biggest commercial success, although Starr is the only former Beatle not to top the UK single or album charts as a solo performer.

Ringo Starr played drums on Harrison's All Things Must Pass and Living In The Material World, and appeared at the Concert for Bangladesh. He also played on John Lennon's solo album Plastic Ono Band. Lennon returned the favour, writing the title track of the Goodnight Vienna album, and I'm The Greatest on Ringo.

In the mid 1970s Ringo's musical career declined, with a series of albums provided diminishing returns. Harrison gave him a song for the album Stop And Smell The Roses, but Starr felt uncomfortable performing it. Harrison rewrote it and recorded it himself as All Those Years Ago, following the death of John Lennon; Starr played on it, along with Paul and Linda McCartney.

Lennon had also given Starr a song for Stop And Smell The Roses. However, he was uncomfortable recording the song in the wake of his friend's murder, and Lennon's version was eventually released posthumously on the album Milk And Honey.

Ringo guested on McCartney's 1982 album Tug Of War, and in 1987 performed on George Harrison's hit single When We Was Fab. Two years later he formed Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, in which a number of musicians from various other acts featured. Their live shows were a success and led to a new record deal for Starr.

In 1997 he appeared on Paul McCartney's album Flaming Pie. He played initially on the song Beautiful Night, and went on to jam. From this came a new song, Really Love You, which was credit to McCartney-Starkey - a first.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, 4 April 2009

In 2002 he was inducted into the Percussive Hall of Fame, and in 2006 toured once again with the All Starr Band. His album Liverpool 8 was released in January 2008, coinciding with Liverpool's status as European Capital of Culture.

To this day, Ringo Starr still performs and appears in public, and works on a range of musical, film and other media projects.

Family affairs

Ringo Starr married Maureen Cox on 11 February 1965. They had three children - Zak, Jason and Lee - before divorcing in 1975. Cox died in 1994.

Starr met Barbara Bach on the set of the film Caveman in 1980. They married the following year on 27 April.

Zak Starkey is also a drummer. Ringo arranged for him to have lessons with The Who's Keith Moon, a close friend of the family. Zak went on to perform with The Who, Oasis, and the All-Starr Band.

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15 Responses to “Ringo Starr”

  1. Joseph Brush

    Ringo did not play drums on Imagine. Alan White, Jim Gordon and John Bonham shared the drum duties on that album.

    Reply
    • Joe

      Ah yes, of course. That was me being absent-minded - it's one of my favourite albums, so I should have known.

      John Bonham, though? I think you mean Jim Keltner.

      Reply
    • Larry

      No Joseph. You're totally wrong!!! Ringo says he did play drums on Imagine. He said so himself: [expired YouTube link removed]

      Reply
      • McLerristarr

        Ringo must have made a mistake, he did look a bit confused. Alan White was definitely the drummer on Imagine. I've seen it on documentary footage.

        Reply
        • Joe

          I agree. I think it was Ben Harper's mistake though. and Ringo just agreed with him. Ringo probably doesn't even remember whether he was on the album, bless him.

          Reply
      • Joseph Brush

        Hey Larry.
        You are the one that is totally wrong!!!

        The credit list of musicians was featured on the record sleeve of the Imagine LP when it was released and there is also a credit list for the CD.

        Ringo may have been unavailable at that particular time in spring 1971 as he was making a western entitled "Blindman".

        Alan White, Jim Gordon AND Jim Keltner (not John Bonham as I mistakenly listed before)
        shared the drumming chores.

        Reply
  2. rhino

    However it became the conventional tale told in Beatles lore that Dear Prudence was drummed by Paul, I'll never know. The drums on that song are SO Ringo it's not funny.

    Reply
  3. StarrTime

    Yeah Dear Prudence is the only Paul drum song that is even close to what Ringo could do. Paul's an incredibly talented musician, but as a drummer he couldn't touch Ringo.

    Reply
  4. D

    I think it's Mark Lewisohn who lists Paul as the drummer on Dear Prudence, isn't it? To be honest, Ringo has the greatest drumming style ever, and I love him - but the closing bit of the song is nothing like Ringo's ever played. (but then, neither is "Rain" or "She Said She Said," so that's not much of an argument.)

    Reply
    • Joe

      I think we need to move this discussion on; it also clogs up the Dear Prudence page's comments section. I won't publish any more about Ringo/Paul and Dear Prudence on this page, though feel free to talk about anything else to do with Ringo.

      Reply
  5. Joseph Brush

    John Lennon wrote "Cookin'(In The Kitchen Of Love)" for Ringo's 1976 album Rotogravure and JL played piano on the track as well.
    On Stop And Smell The Roses George Harrison wrote Ringo a song entitled "Wrack My Brain" which was Ringo's last top 40 hit single.

    Reply
    • Joseph Brush

      In the late seventies or early eighties there was an article in Goldmine about Bernard Purdie who claimed to have played drums on early Beatles tracks. Goldmine was a source of info on how and where to obtain golden oldies, as well as interviews with real stars such as Gary U.S. Bonds. Of course I didn't believe Purdie.

      Reply
  6. apple_jam

    Ringo's great! Steve Smith, Journey's much-celebrated drummer, has high praise for him: "Before Ringo, drum stars were measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity. Ringo's popularity brought forth a new paradigm in how the public saw drummers. We started to see the drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect. One of Ringo's great qualities was that he composed unique, stylistic drum parts for The Beatles songs. His parts are so signature to the songs that you can listen to a Ringo drum part without the rest of the music and still identify the song."

    Reply

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