Re: Ringo Starr
Some great quotes on Ringo from his fellow Beatles:
"We loved him. And we just thought he was the very best drummer we'd ever seen. And we wanted him in the group. We were big fans of his." - Paul McCartney, Larry King Interview
"Ringo's got the best back beat I've ever heard and he can play great 24-hours a day." -George Harrison
"He was quite simply the heart of the Beatles.” – John Lennon
"Playing without Ringo is like driving a car on three wheels.” - George Harrison
Other quotes about Ringo:
"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." - Drummer Steve Smith
"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.' He wouldn't know what to do." - Drummer Phil Collins
"He's got tremendous feel. He always helped us to hit the right tempo for a song, and gave it that support-that rock-solid back-beat-that made the recording of all The Beatles' songs that much easier." - George Martin
Kenny Arnoff -- "I consider him one of the greatest innovators of rock drumming and believe that he has been one of the greatest influences on rock drumming today... Ringo has influenced drummers more than they will ever realize or admit. Ringo laid down the fundamental rock beat that drummers are playing today and they probably don't even realize it. (Modern Drummer,Oct. 1987) . . Ringo always approached the song more like a songwriter than a drummer. He always served the music." (Modern Drummer, Dec. 1987)
George Martin -- "Ringo always got and still gets a unique sound out of his drums, as sound as distinctive as his voice. ... Ringo gets a looser deeper sound out of his drums that is unique. ...This detailed attention to the tone of his drums is one of the reasons for Ringo's brilliance. Another is that although Ringo does not keep time with a metronome accuracy, he has unrivaled feel for a song. If his timing fluctuates, it invariably does so in the right place at the right time, keep the right atmosphere going on the track and give it a rock solid foundation. This held true for every single Beatles number Richie played ... Ringo also was a great tom tom player." ( Summer of Love, 1994)
Peter Blake -- "Ringo is one of the most important drummers of the 20th century. While he hasn't got any technique to speak of, he realizes how important It is for a song to feel good. His feel is absolutely tremendous. He got some great sounds on the Beatles records. It wasn't all production and microphones, a lot of it was down to the way he tuned them. ... He has tremendous basic ability. Obviously there were people playing in a straight-forward manner before him, but he had a definite feel and he changed pop drumming around. He changed the sound from hat of the high-pitched jazz drummers. I think he's tremendous." (Speaking Words of Wisdom)
Tim Riley -- "Ringo wanted to serve the songs rather than show off. As a song writer's drummer, Ringo was the type of musician who could follow instructions as he completed the overall sound. His commitment to the music was bigger than his ego." ( Tell Me Why, 1988)
Kenny Aronoff -- "He consistently came up with new ideas that always seemed perfect for the song, but it wasn't just a matter of him picking a basic beat for a song, because lots of drummers could do that. Ringo definitely had the right kind of personality and creative ideas for The Beatles music. You will rarely find a Beatles song without something noticeable that Ringo played or didn't play." (Modern Drummer magazine, Oct. 1987)
Al Kooper -- "Sgt. Pepper was the album that changed drumming more than anything else. Before that album, drum fills in rock and roll were pretty rudimentary, all much the same, and this record had what I call space fills where they would leave a tremendous amount of air. It was most appealing to me musically and the sound of the drums got much better. What I had to figure out now was what am I going to do to get drums to sound like that." (Summer of Love by George Martin, 1994)
Martin Torgoff -- "If I could think of a single passage in which Ringo's quintessential style as a drummer is most identifiable, it could well be something as, say, the drumming behind George's guitar solo in Paul's "Let It Be" after the organ trails off. There, in simple 4-4 time, Ringo comes in with a trademark thump of his base drum, clear tattering snare, and his insistent smashing of the high hat, unvarying, unyielding, yet distinctively Ringo, and you can't help but smile not for its banality but because it is so perfectly adequate and because one can readily envision Ringo behind his kit as he plays, his beringed fingers clutching his sticks, swaying beatifically from side to side as he gets on with his work, blinking those astonishingly saturnine blue eyes." (The Compleat Beatles, 1985)
Max Weinberg -- "More than any other drummer, Ringo Starr changed my life. The impact and memory of that band on Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 will never leave me. I can still see Ringo in the back moving that beat with his whole body, his right hand swinging off his sock cymbal while his left hand pounds the snare. He was fantastic, but I think what got to me the most was his smile. I knew he was having the time of his life." (The Big Beat, 1984)
Martin Torgoff -- "As a drummer, he was a natural, purely intuitive, remarkably tasteful, spirited, but always basic, a proponent of less is more school of minimal drumming. ...He had an uncanny understanding of John's rhythm and Paul's base line. Time and again, the Beatles rode his backbeat to glory. Precisely because he never overstated a beat, or over accented a phrase (unless it was appropriate) he managed to get more mileage out of his licks than most drummers could ever dream of. The results were extraordinary." (The Compleat Beatles, 1985)
Don Was -- "Ringo's drums are one of the greatest things you can have on a record."
Dave Ballinger -- "Technically brilliant drummers do not necessary make good rock drummers. ...You don't have to be a technical Buddy Rich type drummer, you just need to be inventive. He (Ringo) did things I would never have thought of doing." (interview for Speaking Words of Wisdom)
Ian Fraser Kilmister of Motorhead- "Ringo's the most underrated drummer in the history of rock and roll."
Yoko Ono - "Ringo is the most underrated drummer in the industry! His drumming is like life—it gives you the most solid beat. When he drummed on my Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band album, I was totally amazed that he had no difficulty in following the very complex improvisational vocals I did – again, no overdubs. I think his incredible drumming was what made so many great Beatles songs possible. We thank you, Ringo!"
Don Was - "He puts the fills in the same place a guitarist would. He's not sitting there counting. He's playing to the vocal."
To this day, producers direct studio drummers to "play like Ringo." Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith sums it up thusly: "The greatest thing a drummer can contribute to a recorded song is the feel of it, and every Beatles song feels great."
Ringo "doesn't dazzle with flashy technique and pyrotechnics," says The Cars' lead guitarist, Elliot Easton. "What he does is so much more elusive and difficult: He plays songs on the drums. Anybody who has sat down behind a drum kit in the last 45 years owes him."
The Police’s Stewart Copeland - “Ringo is the leader in the education for all young drummers of style over flash, always playing the right things rather than a lot of things.”
Mostly Ringo has made a living out of being an ex-Beatle. Unfortunately, that legacy has disregarded his musical accomplishments. "He's an underrated cat, really underrated as a drummer," says Dr. John, a.k.a. Mac Rebennac, a member of the All-Starr Band Ringo recruited for last summer's U.S. tour--his first ever and the first by a Beatle since Paul brought Wings to America in 1976.
Fellow All-Starr member Nils Lofgren, from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, echoes Dr. John's praise. "It's not often I can lend my heart and soul to someone else's thing," Nils says. "But if there's someone you hit it off with and have a good feeling about, you hang on to that. And Ringo's that type of guy."