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Ringo... a horrible drummer?
18 February 2014
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fabfouremily
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^^ As you've probably worked out, I moved the posts from the other thread to here. We don't need several topics on the same/similar thing.

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19 February 2014
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leemcalilly
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The reason you hear the drums completely in the left ear is because you're listening to the Mono version of the song. 

The drums are always going to sound bad if you're listening to Mono in headphones. They would have been panned all the way to the left. It has nothing to do with the performance and everything to do with the fact that you're listening to them in a way the recordings were not intended to be hard. Try the stereo version instead.

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19 February 2014
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Von Bontee
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I think you've got that backwards - there's no left or right in mono.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
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19 February 2014
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I don't know why Ringo gets criticized while Charlie Watts gets praise. To me, Ringo can drum circles around Watts--at least on the songs recorded by their respective bands. Ringo's stuff is far superior to Charlie's--isolate the drum track on a Beatles song you know what song it is. Do the same for  a Stone's song, I couldn't tell ya. Does Charlie even do drum fills? Guess, I'll never understand.

19 February 2014
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DrBeatle
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Charlie Watts is a great drummer...please don't trash him just to defend Ringo, because Watts could probably drums circles around Ringo on Stones songs. Both are great at what they do and ended up in the perfect bands for them, neither of which band would be remotely as great without their talents. Leave it at that.

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19 February 2014
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Mincer Ray
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Side note:

Man, I love Paul (and GTGYIML), but he comes off as a super cheese-ball sometimes.  See, e.g., above-posted Kampuchea video. 

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19 February 2014
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Mincer Ray
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Second side note:

Have you noticed that most of Ringo's best performances come on John songs. (And Ringo himself said that John songs are more fun.)  

When I think of stunning Ringo moments, I think:

I Feel Fine

She Said, She Said

Rain

Tomorrow Never Knows

A Day In The Life

Come Together

 

J

"I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."  - Bobby Kennedy

19 February 2014
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PeterWeatherby
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Mincer Ray said

Second side note:

Have you noticed that most of Ringo's best performances come on John songs. (And Ringo himself said that John songs are more fun.)  

When I think of stunning Ringo moments, I think:

I Feel Fine

She Said, She Said

Rain

Tomorrow Never Knows

A Day In The Life

Come Together

 

J

Yes, this, a thousand times this. Those are exactly the same songs I was thinking of when contemplating "which songs do I especially like Ringo's drums on?"

Ringo was to the drums was George was to the guitar. I posted elsewhere that "I Want To Hold Your Hand " wouldn't be the same without George's bluesy chromatic riff that breaks up the verses, etc., etc. (there are many other examples where George's lead lines are essential without being anywhere near "flashy"). Same goes for Ringo, I think. The songs listed above just wouldn't be the same without the little fills he throws in.

(BTW, I would also include "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party " - love that funky kick-drum thing he does during the chorus.)

Also, with regard to his drumming being more interesting on John's songs, I think of "Ticket To Ride " - I love that stuttering drum line in the intro and verses, however, many sources say that it was Paul who thought it up and dictated it to him. So if his drumming tends to be better on John's songs, it may just be because John left him alone and let him do his thing - hard to say.

Not a bit like Cagney.

26 February 2014
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Billy Rhythm
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Mincer Ray said 

Man, I love Paul (and GTGYIML), but he comes off as a super cheese-ball sometimes.  See, e.g., above-posted Kampuchea video. 

 

I thought that Paul actually sounded pretty good in this particular version, but the drumming makes the whole song sound "super-cheese", especially during the "oooh, did I suddenly see you/you were meant to be near me" stretches where he slides in those annoying tom tom spurts which, however he may think to be "flashy", are completely unnecessary.  It's as though this drummer was attempting to copy the sound of Amii Stewart's 'Knock On Wood' which was a big hit at the time, but if one was looking for an "updated version" of 'Got To Get You Into My Life ', Earth, Wind & Fire did a much better job of it while sticking to its soulful roots the year before this performance and it's disco undertones.  The OP used this song as an example for Ringo being "a horrible drummer", but it sounds like the worst possible example to use after hearing this Wings' version, I mean, the drummer is all over the f**king place here and an embarrassment to a truly great song, and a lot of it's because he's trying to do too much.  Ringo understood that "Less is More" and no one could pull it off with such precision as he did...:-)

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27 February 2014
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Von Bontee
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Mincer Ray said

Second side note:

Have you noticed that most of Ringo's best performances come on John songs. (And Ringo himself said that John songs are more fun.)  

When I think of stunning Ringo moments, I think:

I Feel Fine

She Said, She Said

Rain

Tomorrow Never Knows

A Day In The Life

Come Together

 

J

Never took note of that before, but you make a pretty good case on those examples. One explanation could be that (especially around the time of "Revolver "), John was (stereotypically or not) writing more of the rockers, as opposed to Paul's stretching out into ballads and other things which necessarily utilized minimal drumming or no drums at all.

The only negative thing I'm gonna say about Ringo (playing devil's advocate here) is that maybe if he had a little more technique at his command, he wouldn't have had to resort to overdubbing a second drum track onto "Good Day Sunshine " and "And Your Bird Can Sing ", or looping two seconds worth of playing throughout "Tomorrow Never Knows " instead of playing through the entire thing live. (But c'mon, that would require a super-technical flashy jazz-type drummer, and hardly ANY rock bands have one of those at their disposal.)

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One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
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31 August 2014
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meanmistermustard
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On behalf of @Ahhh Girl and this post here are a couple of articles on Ringo's drumming.

13 Reasons To Respect Ringo

If You Don't think Ringo Starr Was A Good Drummer, You Don't Listen To The Beatles 

 

A couple of times Ringo's machine like tendency to keep the beat has been mentioned on the forum and #6 from the first link reflects that:

Ringo has nearly perfect tempo. This allowed the Beatles to record a song 50 or 60 times, and then be able to edit together different parts of numerous takes of the same song for the best possible version. Today an electronic metronome is used for the same purpose, but the Beatles had to depend on Ringo to keep the tempo consistant throughout the dozens of takes of the songs that you know and love so well. Had he not had this ability, the Beatles recordings would sound completely different today.

and #11 is very spot-on

The idea that Ringo was a lucky Johnny-on-the-spot-with-a-showbiz-stage-name is wrong. In fact, when Beatle producer George Martin expressed his unhappiness after the first session with original drummer Pete Best, the decision was made by Paul, George, and John to hire who they considered to be the best drummer in Liverpool - Ringo Starr . His personality was a bonus.

The later article linked to above is a 2009 Examiner article and examines Ringo's drumming, including comparing it to Keith Moon's style at times.

Keith Moon’s A.D.D. and wild personality fueled his uncontainable drumming style, but Ringo’s idiosyncrasies were more a product of chance. He was a leftie who was forced to use his right hand as a child, so eventually he learned to play drums on a right-handed setup. As he explains in this interview (see here), Ringo maintained the tendency to lead with his left hand, which would invert the most basic drum fills and make them fresh and unconventional. Though it limited his musical scope, it is the very reason for the unique rhythmic style that is inseparable from the Beatles’ sound.

however not sure i agree with this part

The rumors that during the "White Album " recordings (the album is in fact self-titled) Paul snuck into the studio to re-do a few of Ringo’s parts are mostly true...

Any one remember that happening during those sessions? Paul did drum on the 'White Album ' but i dont remember him re-recording anything Ringo had laid down.

 

note: I did do a quick scan thru the thread to see if either of these articles had been linked to but i see them, apologies if they are.

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31 August 2014
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A horrible drummer?  No.  A simplistic drummer?  Yes.

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

I'm also ewe2 on weekends.

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31 August 2014
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trcanberra
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Necko said
A horrible drummer?  No.  A simplistic drummer?  Yes.

Not sure I agree with this - he did what he needed to do rock steady - and that is not so easy to do.  True, he was no Ginger Baker - but the music doesn't need him to be.  He wouldn't have been asked to guest on so many tracks by other artists if he was 'simplistic'.

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31 August 2014
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meanmistermustard
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A listen to many of Ringo's drum parts will show that altho they sound simple they are really not - and for me that is the key to his contribution. He made it all sound so straightforward when in truth he was doing on the kit exactly what the track needed, anything else and the song would suffer. I can think of no examples where i sit there and say "gees, that needs a fill there" or "that stroke was pointless".

Its quite something to listen to him isolated and its damn hard not be amazed and smile at what he was doing.

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1 September 2014
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Starr Shine?
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Necko said
A horrible drummer?  No.  A simplistic drummer?  Yes.

If he is simple that I can't imagine  what complex would be like. I played Hey Jude on the drums and it was crazy there were fills everywhere( Though I haven't played drums for very long)

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1 September 2014
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Mr. Kite
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Watching any video of Ringo drumming just proves how amazing he was playing his instrument.

Seriously, Ringo was the best drummer in Liverpool, and he was famous with Rory Storm before the Beatles were that big at all. He was probably the first of them to master his instrument, something they all did eventually (really quickly actually) and this is what made them such a great band, the fact that they all knew what they were doing.

Could The Beatles have been as successful and more importantly musically genius if they had a horrible drummer?

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1 September 2014
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Anyone who thinks Ringo's not a good drummer needs only to listen to this...

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1 September 2014
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Ahhh Girl
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A story on this topic popped up in the Washington Post last night.

Need to be convinced Ringo was a good drummer? Try playing Beatles music.

Two snips from the article:

But until I tried to play the songs properly, I never realized just how tough it is to duplicate — approximate, even — Ringo’s drumming.

Sure, you know the signature drum figure in “Come Together ” — bum bum biddley bop, tapita tapita tapita tap — but do you know how many times it’s played before you go to that bit with the organ/guitar solo? Or how many times in “Birthday ” you play quarter notes on the snare after each guitar lick?

Or listen to something that seems fairly simple: “In My Life .” The drumming is so spare that it seems as if Ringo’s hardly doing anything. But get it wrong and the whole thing falls apart.

“When people say Ringo didn’t know what he was doing, that’s just cuckoo,” said Scott, who lives in Fairfax. Scott has made it his business to study the seemingly loose style that is Ringo’s signature. He thinks it’s easier to grasp if you understand its antecedents. “People don’t realize his background,” Scott said. “He was into country music and blues and [stuff], like the rest of them. That swung high-hit hat pattern didn’t come out of nowhere.”

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1 September 2014
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I still don't believe those White Album rumours. Paul did drum on some tracks, and maybe they misinterpreted that. Where do those rumours even come from?

2 September 2014
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vonbontee
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Dunno if they originated there, but I first encountered that claim in Peter Brown's "The Love You Make"

GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 

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