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Ringo... a horrible drummer?
28 January 2014
2.17pm
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tkj
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Okay please dont kill me for the title, I just wanted to go a little bit over the line so people would click on this thread.

But.. I was sitting on the bus back from school today, listening to Rubber Soul and Revolver in stereo on my headset. And I can hear Ringos drumming clearly at the left earplug.. and I must say, it sounds really bad at some songs.

Like for example: "Got To Get You Into My Life "..

Is it just the recording that are bad, or is Ringo.. kinda bad?

BUT, one thing though: The drumming on RAIN is absolutely killer fantastic! Its probably the part I focus the most on (on that particular song) cause its so good.

28 January 2014
2.54pm
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Billy Rhythm
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I guess this being a question and all, my answer would be an unequivocal (or  B I G  F A T  )  N  O  .  Your chief example that you cite is 'Got To Get You Into My Life ' which by no means features "horrible" drumming.  If you're not fond of what he's doing here you have to consider that Paul likely dictated the flow for this one and told Ringo to lay down something simple to make room for the horn overdubs that he was hearing in his head, have you listened to the 'Anthology 2 ' version of 'Got To Get You Into My Life ' without the horns?  It's pretty clear that there was an intent to create space for overdubs upon hearing that version.  Those who criticize Ringo's playing often use the lack of flash and his basic rhythms as an argument that he's not a very good drummer, but it's one of the reasons that I feel that he's a great drummer for he makes room and allows for other musicians to shine through.  Just listen to any of Paul's live albums where he always employs a "flashy" drummer to play the Beatles' songs while comparing them to their originals with Ringo playing, it's pretty clear that Ringo's drumming is much more solid and makes the songs what they are.  It's not a stretch to suggest that Paul McCartney wouldn't be the bass player that he is today had it not been for Ringo, Paul's bass was always "bouncing" off of Ringo's beats which made them such a perfect rhythm section for The Beatles, and his bass playing blossomed, flourished, developed or whatever term you like while playing alongside Ringo.  I know that you were apologetic in your opening line, but this thread topic is a joke really...:-)

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28 January 2014
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tkj
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Billy Rhythm said
I know that you were apologetic in your opening line, but this thread topic is a joke really...:-)

 

I see what you are saying, but I dont agree with this line. I dont mean he's a horrible drummer, but well.. maybe Im into more  "flashy" drummers like the one Paul has now. Its just that Ringos drumming sounds so basic to me, but thats probably the way its supposed to be. As you said, so that the others can fill in more etc. 

28 January 2014
3.31pm
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ivaughan
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Apart from Keith Moon, I can't think of a single rock and roll drummer who has more character than Ringo in his playing. 

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28 January 2014
3.40pm
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Inner Light
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Ringo played to the songs like George did. Neither were or wanted to be flashy. Both were a perfect compliment to the Beatles sound.

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28 January 2014
4.50pm
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tkj
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I just have to say btw that this thread was not meant as "Ringo sucks!", but a thread where his drumming is open to debate. What is good, what is bad about it... etc? 

I dont think he is a bad drummer and I certainly agree that his drumming did something unique to their sound, its just that sometimes when I listen closely to his drumming on some songs it sounds like something anyone could do. And some of his drumming can be a little bit boring to me. Am I the only one with these blasphemetic thoughts?

28 January 2014
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vonbontee
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I'm glad somebody brought that up. It seems to my ears that Ringo was kinda changing his style as the Beatles' music changed, and they were moving away from high-energy "beat music" stuff like "Saw Her Standing There" or "Hard Day's Night" (where he could bash away thrillingly). And yeah, especially by the time of Revolver , there were tracks like "She Said She Said " where he invents some stunning, eccentric fills in addition to following the difficult time-signature changes; and then there are tracks where he sounds...not so good. Almost bored, like he wants to play on as small a combination of drums/cymbals as he can throughout the song.

One possibility is that this is primarily the result of the drums not being given the proper attention in the mix. The band were trying so many recording experiments with only a 4-track board at their disposal, and something had to be sacrificed on occasion. But at the same time, there are songs on which he's given two separate drum tracks all to himself ("Good Day Sunshine ", "And Your Bird", maybe more), so that's another factor. Who knows?

Anyway, yeah: There are definitely certain songs from around 1965-1966 that I wish Ringo had played more dynamically on - or possibly had been better recorded on. But then I listen to "Rain " or "Tomorrow Never Knows " from the same era, and damn! if he doesn't sound like the greatest rock 'n roll drummer ever, and I banish those traitorous anti-Ringo thoughts!

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28 January 2014
6.18pm
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Billy Rhythm
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tkj said 

But.. I was sitting on the bus back from school today, listening to Rubber Soul and Revolver in stereo on my headset. And I can hear Ringos drumming clearly at the left earplug.. and I must say, it sounds really bad at some songs.

Like for example: "Got To Get You Into My Life "..

Is it just the recording that are bad, or is Ringo.. kinda bad?
 

 

Here's a Paul McCartney & Wings version of 'Got To Get You Into My Life ' with "flashier" drums:

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....jBb8sQtuh8

 

The busier drums here make the whole song sound "bad", in my opinion, Ringo got it right the first time...:-)

28 January 2014
6.41pm
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TheOneBeatle
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Ringo, it's THE drummer. ahdn_ringo_09 You can surely identify what song is by simply hearing his unique style. His drumming changed from song to song, getting better and better each time as the years passed.
Here it is a list of songs that I think highlight Ringo's unique drum patterns (although each song has his uniqueness to hear):
- Please Please Me :
I Saw Her Standing There , Chains , Boys , Please Please Me , Twist & Shout
- With The Beatles :
It Won't Be Long , All My Loving , You Really Got A Hold On Me , Devil In Her Heart
- A Hard Day's Night :
A Hard Day's Night , Can't Buy Me Love , You Can't Do That
- Beatles For Sale :
What You're Doing
- Help !:
Ticket To Ride
- Rubber Soul :
You Won't See Me , In My Life
- Revolver :
She Said She Said , Good Day Sunshine , And Your Bird Can Sing , Got To Get You Into My Life (though horns bury Ringo's work), Tomorrow Never Knows
- Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band:
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!, Lovely Rita , Good Morning Good Morning , A Day In The Life (for me, his best)
- Magical Mystery Tour :
Hello Goodbye , Strawberry Fields Forever , All You Need Is Love
- The Beatles (The White Album ):
Happiness Is A Warm Gun , I'm So Tired , Don't Pass Me By , Birthday , Yer Blues , Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey , Helter Skelter , Revolution 1
- Yellow Submarine :
Only A Northern Song , Hey Bulldog , It's All Too Much
- Let It Be :
Dig A Pony , Let It Be , I've Got A Feeling , One After 909 , The Long And Winding Road (Probably his most beautiful - very buried in its original release, the Anthology restores it in its full glory), Get Back
- Abbey Road :
Come Together , Something , Oh! Darling , Octopus's Garden , I Want You (She's So Heavy), Here Comes The Sun , The Long One (The End especially)
- Past Masters :
Thank You Girl , She Loves You , I Want To Hold Your Hand , Long Tall Sally , I Feel Fine , Day Tripper , Paperback Writer , Rain (Ringo's personal favorite, 2nd best for me), Revolution , Don't Let Me Down , Old Brown Shoe .

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28 January 2014
6.45pm
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ivaughan said
Apart from Keith Moon, I can't think of a single rock and roll drummer who has more character than Ringo in his playing. 

Keith Moon was an incredibly talented drummer. My only complaint is that his drumming often got in the way of a good song, especially live. I've seen live performances of The Who during which I would get annoyed with him because it seemed like he was trying to play louder or more prominently than his bandmates. It would leave me wishing he would just play WITH the band like Ringo did/does. Say what you will about his abilities, but to me Ringo being an awesome bandmate makes him an equally awesome drummer.

Billy Rhythm said
Those who criticize Ringo's playing often use the lack of flash and his basic rhythms as an argument that he's not a very good drummer, but it's one of the reasons that I feel that he's a great drummer for he makes room and allows for other musicians to shine through.

Bingo.

Inner Light said
Ringo played to the songs like George did. Neither were or wanted to be flashy. Both were a perfect compliment to the Beatles sound.

Bingo again.

Because styles/personalities vary so greatly, it is often difficult to say who is the "best" drummer or anything else in general terms. However, if you were to ask who the best drummer for The Beatles was, there is only one answer. It never could or would have been Keith Moon IMHO.

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28 January 2014
8.24pm
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vonbontee
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Well, I agree with most of that, most of the time. But I still think that there are Beatles songs that are as much about the playing of the song as the song itself. And as such, there are the occasional ones where I wish Ringo had done something a little different.

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28 January 2014
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Maybe Ringo's drumming often sounds basic to you because he invented modern rock drumming. Maybe you're taking his innovations for granted?

Also, I don't think it was necessary to create an attention-getting subject. We're hardcore fans here. Trust me, people would have read your post.

parlance

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28 January 2014
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parlance said
Maybe Ringo's drumming often sounds basic to you because he invented modern rock drumming. Maybe you're taking his innovations for granted?

Also, I don't think it was necessary to create an attention-getting subject. We're hardcore fans here. Trust me, people would have read your post.

parlance

Exactly. And getting to back to the OP's example of Got To Get You Into My Life , Paul wrote that as a soul homage...why should Ringo play fills in that song like he did in Rain ? FFS, a musician's style isn't dictated by him sounding the same in EVERY song. There are Who songs (to use the Moon example brought up above, and who are another band I'm a massive fan of) where Moon plays very basic stuff (compare his playing in Join Together vs. Bargain)...does that mean Moon is a shit drummer?

 

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28 January 2014
10.20pm
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With the many breakthroughs in synchronization tools for recording studios nowadays, some have in fact used this technology to measure the accuracy of Ringo's meter, or "built-in" metronome, and are startled when they learn that he kept near perfect time for nearly every example that they try.  At the core of any drummer's beats is this "built-in" metronome, it underscores everything that they play and virtually nobody "holds it" like Ringo does, it's not even a matter of opinion really but more a scientific fact, he's "The Greatest, and you Better Believe it Baby!"  Some of these flashier drummers actually need to keep busy on their playing for they lack the accuracy for holding longer spaces inbetween their notes....:-) 

28 January 2014
11.03pm
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Yeah I never really thought about it but I think Billy Rhythm could have a point with that last line.

Also agree with Parlance. 

 

Another thing though...maybe his drumming was so basic because Paul wanted him to play like that. Someone probably already said that, but I think that could have something to do with the way he drummed on some songs. It's like Ticket To Ride , Paul told Ringo how to play that (and it's amazing of course). He probably told him on more songs how he would like him to play.

29 January 2014
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parlance said
Maybe Ringo's drumming often sounds basic to you because he invented modern rock drumming. Maybe you're taking his innovations for granted?

"I'll agree with that"

"Necko agrees with that"

I'm Necko.  I'm like Ringo except I wear necklaces.

I'm also ewe2 on weekends.

Most likely to post things that make you go hmm... 2015, 2016, 2017. 

31 January 2014
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Ringo is my top drummer, I just don't get he needs two drummers for his concerts, reasons I could think of is the union or he enjoys the sound of two drummers.

 

Other drummers on my list

  • Nick Mason
  • John Bonham
  • Jeff Porcaro
  • Keith Moon

EDIT: Adding Neil Peart to the list

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31 January 2014
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Gerell said
Ringo is my top drummer, I just don't get he needs two drummers for his concerts, reasons I could think of is the union or he enjoys the sound of two drummers.

I posted an article on that subject at the news thread:

In light of the Grammy performance, Something Else article on Ringo's tandem drumming.

 

parlance

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18 February 2014
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I wrote a blog post yesterday called In Defense of Ringo, and it set off a ton of opinions on Reddit. This clearly struck a nerve with people. I don't understand where this notion that Ringo was a bad drummer started though? 

He's fantastic? When did this idea popularize, and why?

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18 February 2014
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leemcalilly said

I wrote a blog post yesterday called In Defense of Ringo, and it set off a ton of opinions on Reddit. This clearly struck a nerve with people. I don't understand where this notion that Ringo was a bad drummer started though? 

He's fantastic? When did this idea popularize, and why?

Pete Best and his supporters started it. Or maybe it was one of the many threads on this forum already devoted to the subject!

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