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. In April 2015 Starr was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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.

39 responses on “Ringo Starr

        1. Joe Post author

          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.

      1. 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.

    1. jim mcguire

      after listening to back inthe ussr dear prudence martha my dear and wild honey pie this is some else its not ringo ringo had a unique sound and this drummer assuming paul mc cartney was different

  1. 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.

  2. 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.)

    1. Joe Post author

      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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.”

  5. Jim Ferris

    I’d like to know if Ringo played the drum roll at the beginning of “All you need is love”. It’s very accomplished on the recording and any film I’ve seen of Ringo from the period, shows to my mind, a lack of technique capable of that roll.

  6. Carmine Strollo

    You might want to give Geof Emerick’s book a going over. It shows that Paul did some tracks for the Beatles. And even when asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world, John even noted that “Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.” Don’t get me wrong, I dig Ringo’s playing and he did bring drums to the forefront along with guys like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, but Ringo is not some powerhouse…

    1. jim mcguire

      the only other drummers used where andy white(love me do – ps i loveyou- and please please me) and jimmy nichol on the austrailian tour paul mc cartney also did some drumming on tracks ( back in the ussr) and a couple more lesser known songs

  7. jim mcguire

    ringo starr recorded backin the Ussr, but what people dont realize is that Paul realized it needed more effects so paul recorded it on him playing the drums. when ringo heard the song ringo he was very upset and stated that not me and quit the band for a short time and came back. Paul played on Dear Prudence, Martha my dear,Wild Honey Pie–

    1. loco2

      The real reason Ringo quit was because he felt he wasn’t playing well and not feeling close towards the other three. It’s been mentioned by Ringo himself in past interviews and The Beatles Anthology.

  8. jim mcguire

    Beatles love me do documentry 1962- GEORGE MARTIN wasnt happy with either pete best or ringos drumming so he brought in session drummer andy white who recorded all 3 love me do-please please me-ps i love you. Ringos version of love me do released in 62-63??? went to #17 on the british charts- george martin not being to happy about ringos version released andys white version in 1964 it went to #1 world wide, george martin preferred all 3 of andys version please please me was andy version as well.


    Ringo was a merseybeat drummer and was one of a number of merseyside drummers that had a new attitude and passion for musical drumset playing.The great merseybeat drummers were the roots and reason that the 500 Innovative groups on merseyside, up to 1965, were considered unique in GB and why so many had great success in Europe, USA afterwards.Merseybeat drummers composed drum solutions to suit the other players in the band to optimize the group sound.Some were better at this than others ie. Ringo replacing Pete Best .Pete played better with other merseyside bands that suited his groove.Merseybeat drummers were expected swing in any music genre as the groups at that time played anything from jazz, to songs from broadway musicals,rock&roll, r&b and skiffle.We didn’t have the Cliff Richard and the Shadows format and often had sax players in our bands like Boots who played in the Undertakers with Jackie Lomax.

  10. Del Rio (@Wineclarity)

    Ringo is the most influential drummer there has ever been. Period. The guy was actually already hip when the Beatles snagged him early on… He is also the keeper of the Classic Rock flame with his All-Starr Band. The guy always pays forward to his friends…He is the definition of a rock star! Only Ginger Baker and Keith Moon approach him. John Bonham came later…

  11. Robert Spinello

    Just listen to Ringo’s drumming on Rain, Tomorrow Never Knows, I Feel Fine, Then listen to his raw steady sound on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. This guy is just awesome. He is the best drummer in the best Band. Period.

  12. Philippe

    I’m surprised no one mentions Ringo’s drumming performance on Come together: this is only when I paid attention to his play on this track that I realised how good a drummer he really is… All with finesse… A bit like Nick Mason for the Floyd. At this stage, the Beatles were influenced by the progressive rock movement (I want you could be a progrock track, in my view). Love this website!

  13. Jimmy

    Ringo’s drumming was ALWAYS fantastic. But from 1967 to 1970, he was the BEST there will ever be. Don’t believe me? Listen closely to most (all) of Sgt Pepper right up to Abbey Road. It’s like he stepped up his game by many notches.
    His drumming on Abbey Road alone (and not even that drum solo which is great) on songs like Come Together, I Want you, The Medley, Octo Garden (all of them really) should make ANY drummer rethink how they should REALLY play to enhance a song. He’s the baddest rock drummer that ever was. And don’t give me that Bonham, Peart (all exceptional of course) etc etc crap…those guys wish they could ‘play to the tune’ as well as Ringo.

  14. vince r

    Ringo was so much more than a brilliant musician. He was dealing with three other geniuses all with temperments and personalities and yet when they split who of them consistently played on the others recordings? It was Ringo. His ability to get along with the others even after the split and his musical talent is his legacy. Governments could learn diplomacy from him.

  15. michael mullen

    i worked with ringos dad – harry graves for several years and regarded him as a good friend, this was in the 60s. in 1962 he went to lime st station to collect a drum kit-little did we know the impact that would bring.

Leave a reply