Re: Ringo Starr
*To say that all the drumming in the ‘50s were heavy is a little too much, there were all kinds of drumming: sutile, heavy, jazz-tainted, country-orientated, good, bad, loud and soft, it all depended on what artist was recording and who was producing. Besides, on those days ¿who really, REALLY knew the name of the drummer of Elvis, Berry, Perkins or any other star?
*The thing with Ringo and his grip, his use of risers, his loud drumming sound, etc, it all comes from one thing and one thing only: Visibility. Because he was with the Beatles he was everywhere: TV, newspapers, magazines, even movies. 73 million people in 23.240.000 homes watched the lads on the first Ed Sullivan Show and 70 million in 22.450.000 on the second show ¿who could be more influential at that time? He was not only a very fine drummer, kids looked at him and said: if he can play I can too. He didn't looked like a hero and kids liked that. As simple as that. ¿Was he really influential? Well, you could ask the Ludwig guys, they had more then $6 millions in profits in ’63 and in’64 they double that numbers, all thanks to Ringo. For three years they sold drum kits like crazy, working 24/7 to fulfill the orders. And he played those kits really loud. Listen to him and his Premier kit in the first Beatle LP. He was loud, period. Ask D.J.Fontana if Ringo was good at time-keeping.
*They were hearing rock’n’roll at nights in England, Radio Luxembourg specifically transmitted at 8 o’clock from the continent. They heard Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley & the Comets, Carl Perkins, Little Richard and minor acts like Freddie Bell & the Bellboys.
*Ringo bought his first drum kit, a single-head Ajax kit, british made, in the summer of ’58, 46 quid, I believe. In november he joined Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, he used his Ajax all the way through november ’61 when he bought a Premier kit in Mahogany Duroplastic finish, either in Hessy’s or Rushworths. He used that kit when he joined the Beatles, he recorded their first LP with it and played with it up until May’63. He, along with Brian Epstein bought his first Ludwig kit at Ivor Arbiter’s Drum City shop in London. He fulfilled the order or, for better say, Brian Epstein did for him in late April and the kit was delivered to him in May 12th 1963 just in time to appear on TV, the show was Thank Your Lucky Stars, taped on Alpha Television Studios, Aston, Birmingham and aired on the 18th. His Premier kit was included in the purchase, displayed on Drum City’s window and later sold to an australian guy.
*The drummer was a position that the Beatles never really fulfilled until Pete Best arrived. And he was only taken because they needed a drummer to go to Hamburg. Allan Williams arranged the trip of the Beatles in early August, 1960. Pete made an audition in August 12th and they made their debut at the Indra Club of Bruno Koschmider the 17th. So, is safe to say that Best become part of the band just because they desperately needed a drummer. Besides, Pete was just an average drummer, adequate to make girls scream and wet their panties but nothing else. Specially for recording purposes he was useless. And he never, NEVER could have played what Ringo did, listen to those Decca tapes, he was a pointless, mediocre, uninspiring drummer. He didn’t merge with the others, he was quiet, distant, kind of apathetic whenever the others were frantic, crazy, wild.
*¿Were they jealous of Pete because of his good looks? You bet, but still he was a mediocre drummer. He was bound to be dismissed from the band as early as January’62 when they failed at the Decca audition. The boys didn’t told him right away that they failed, they “forgot” to tell him. Then George went to Ringo’s house to talk with his family about Ringo joining the band. And John and Paul traveled to Skegnes to talk to Ringo. He didn’t comment this talk with Rory Storm. In August 14th John telephoned Ringo while he was at Skgness with Rory and offered the job. Pete played with them for the last time at The Cavern on the 15th and then Johnny Hutchison(of The Big Three) replaced him on two gigs on 16/17th and then Ringo joined them the 18th at Hulme Hall, Birkenhead. In August 22th they were filmed at The Cavern.
* The Big Question: ¿why they didn’t approached Ringo before? Well, he was playing with Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, a big name in Liverpool in those days but they were going nowhere, playing the same songs over and over. When the lads called him in 1962, they had a recording contract and that was atractive enough to get Ringo. Without it, they were at the same point that the Hurricanes.
*The story about Bobby Graham being asked by Epstein to play with the Beatles in June’62, well...Pete was their drummer in June’62 and wasn’t dismissed until August 16 so...go figure. I checked a few Beatles forums and websites and couldn’t find a thing about it but ¿why Brian would ask a professional drummer to join his then-unknown band?
*The same with the story about Andy White claiming that he played in the Please, Please Me version that’s on their first LP, that he can recognized the way he tuned his drums and that Ringo bought a Ludwig kit because of his kit...White recorded a version of that song but it was the slow version of it. Right after that recording George Martin told John and Paul that the song would be better if they increased the tempo and worked out some better, tighter harmonies.They did their homework for the November 26th session in wich they recorded the version we all know now...with Ringo on drums. And some have claimed that Ringo liked Ludwig because he had played in Tony Mansfield’s kit(he was the Dakotas’drummer). White played at de September 11th session, Ringo bought his kit in late April'63 ¿because of White using the same? Hmmmm.
*¿Isn’t really weird that we are still discussing about Ringo(and sometimes bashing him) 40-something years after the Beatles broke up? ¿Is this all necessary after all?
PS: excuse my somewhat poor english.