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How Good Of A Drummer was Ringo?

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I've been listening to George Martin's mashup of beatle songs that was released recently (titled Love) and I'm reminded of what a good drummer Ringo was.

He plays a tom solo like no one else and if you

listen to the drumming on"Rain" theres no way you can say he isnt a great drummer... or the breaks on "Drive My Car"...

It has also been said that Ringo invented heavy metal drumming (Rock scholars point to "Ticket To Ride")...plus he had perfect timing...

So why is he not given much credit?

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This is something I've been wondering myself. I mean, sure, he was no Moon, Bonham, or Peart, but the man basically re-invented modern rock drumming. I think part of the problem was he was just the goofy looking, goofy acting guy that provided the rhythm section to the genius of Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison. But really, I've always loved to listen to Ringo's drumming. The Beatles just wouldn't be the same if they had kept Pete Best. Ringo provided the backbone that made the Beatles the most influential band of all time.

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Ringo was never (even today) considered a good drummer. He simply is not.

He was and is an adequate drummer who happened to be at the top of his game with the Beatles when there were several other drummers around who were far better than he. This made him appear to even less talented.

Et voilà! :bow:

And besides, "ok, I´m not a good drummer but I´m The Beatles´ drummer" (Ringo Star)

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If you put it in the context of the band, then Ringo was a perfect drummer. Could you imagine Bonham or Moon slamming away at Beatles music?

From Wikipedia:

While sometimes the least visible member of the band, Starr's drumming style played a pivotal role in the music played and recorded by The Beatles. He filled the role he was hired for in 1962, then went on to establish a new approach to rhythm in popular music that some claim continues to grow in its significance and influence with every decade since The Beatles recorded their music.[4]

Starr is left-handed yet plays a right-handed kit; his tendency to lead with his left hand contributes to his distinctive drumming style. Lennon described Starr as being the "heart" of the Beatles.[5]

Ringo Starr as photographed by Richard Avedon for the 1968 album The Beatles (also known as The White Album)."Before Ringo, drum stars were measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity," says drummer Steve Smith. "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."[6]

Many drummers list Starr as an influence including Max Weinberg of The E Street Band, Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel's band, Phil Collins, Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater and others.[7] According to Collins, "Starr is vastly underrated. The drum fills on the song "A Day in the Life" are very complex things. You could take a great drummer today and say, "I want it like that." They wouldn't know what to do."[citation needed]

In his extensive survey of The Beatles' recording sessions, Mark Lewisohn confirmed that Starr was both proficient and remarkably reliable and consistent. According to Lewisohn, there were less than a dozen occasions in The Beatles' eight-year recording career where session 'breakdowns' were caused by Starr making a mistake, while the vast majority of takes were stopped due to mistakes by the other three members.[7]

Starr is also considered to have advanced various modern drumming techniques (for playing and recording) such as the matched grip, placing the drums on high risers for visibility as part of the band, tuning the drums lower, and using muffling devices on tonal rings, along with his general contributions to The Beatles as a whole.[6] Specific drum parts executed by Starr in notably signature fashion include the fill that brings the drums and bass guitar into "Hey Jude", the steady rock and roll beats in "Some Other Guy" and other early Beatles recordings, the drum kit pattern through the bridge of "Hello, Goodbye", and the driving bass drum notes found in "Lady Madonna", underlying the more intricate, double-tracked snare drum.[citation needed]

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For me, there is a somewhat paradoxical element to the argument. Apart from the old joke that 'Ringo wasn't the best drummer in Liverpool, he wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles' McCartney being a pretty competent drummer in his own right. It is difficult to name a top, top ,top band from that era (or any other, come to think of it) that didn't have a top , top drummer. Of all the 'great' bands of the era, most, if not all, had great drummers. Ringo seemed to defy that trend which led to speculation that he might (despite all the evidence to the contrary) be, like, 'better than he seemed'. Hence all the arguments about whether he had a great tom sound, or his paradiddles were somehow unique.

As my son just said ( and he's 17) 'Ringo?...well, he did the job!'

A competent drummer (unlike Keith Best) who 'did the job'.


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Ringo was never (even today) considered a good drummer. He simply is not.

Uncle Joe....I could not have said it better myself. I can rattle off ten drummers off the top of my head that were better than Ringo.

I will start with the obvious three from that era:

Ginger Baker (Cream)

Keith Moon (The Who)

John Bonham (Led Zep)

Others in my opinion are:

Bob Burns (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Jim McCarty (Yardbirds)

Simon Kirke (Bad Company)

Don Brewer (Grand Funk)

Darrell Sweet (Nazareth)

Bill Bruford (Yes)

Charlie Watts (The Stones)

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  • 9 months later...

47. Ringo Starr (The Beatles)

Maybe Ringo isn't the best drummer in the world but for The Beatles he was. He has been a guest drummer for numerous bands so they must think he does just fine as well.

Everyone of The Beatles brought something special to the band. They became what they are because of each individual member and Ringo was no exception. They would not have become what they were without him and they knew it.

The Beatles were the boys. They are what we made them. Legends. They had something that made us love them. What that is has never really been defined but... we love them. Maybe they weren't the best writers, guitarist, singers, drummers etc. all that doesnt matter. They are our history. Was Ringo a good drummer? What difference does it make? He was Ringo one of the fab four. We love them all.

Personally, I could listen to Ringo drum forever. His drumming is so distinctive to me. It calms me and I love him. Is he a good drummer? To me he is.

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  • 1 month later...

You know? Ringo did exactly what he needed to do with The Beatles... Nothing too flashy, simple... Having said that, there are THOUSANDS of drummers better than Ringo... And what's the great deal with John Bonham??? He wasn't that good, may he rest in peace... He had bad timing... Ringo had better timing...

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  • 2 months later...

Ringo is one of my fave drummers, there's some complicated stuff that he just nails thru out the Beatle's catalog

For example, Paul had a habit of changing tempo and time signature several times in the span of a song, and Ringo would nail it

Also, with the intensive double track and triple track process that the Beatles pioneered (I say pioneered... not invented mind you) ringo always got his drums right on target

And he never, never missed a beat.

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