The Forgotten Beatle


Dick Cavett: Who’s the greatest drummer in rock?

Ringo: Me.

Dick Cavett: Why’s that, Ringo?

Ringo: Because I’m in the greatest band.

Today, 7/07/07, is special for something much more important than that Live Earth music industry circle jerk (any “rock concert” including the Pussycat Dolls is immediately authenticity bankrupt) posing as a pro-environment direct action. Meanwhile, Sir Paul is busy shilling his album in every $#@#@ Starbucks on the planet.

Today is the birthday of the self-described greatest drummer in rock history.

It’s Ringo’s birthday, kids. He’s 67.

We rarely think of Ringo these days, but he’s vital to the career of The Fabs. Here are a few reasons why Ringo matters…

beatles_2.jpg * The title of the first (and by far best) Beatles film, A Hard Day’s Night, comes from an expression Ringo used as the boys were shuttling back to a hotel in the back of a delivery van after having filmed their landmark movie all day, then played a concert that evening….

* Hunter Davies, The Beatles first (and in some ways best) biographer, gave us a direct, detailed description of Lennon and McCartney composing in his biography The Beatles. They were writing “A Little Help From My Friends” for Sgt. Pepper because they needed a “Ringo song….”

* Ringo was the first Beatle to quit the band – before John, George or Paul (who was last, but who made it stick). He quit during the Let It Be/Abbey Road sessions because he got tired of Paul’s abuse. He stayed away for two weeks before George coaxed him into returning….

* During the heyday of Beatlemania, Ringo got more fan mail than any of his band mates.

* When The Fabs were on tour, John always roomed with Ringo to keep Paul and George from squabbling over who would get to room with him….

* The songs John and Paul wrote for Ringo are among the most charming and quirky in their canon: “Yellow Submarine,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “A Little Help….”

* Ringo is the oldest Beatle….

* Ringo was the last member to join the band….

* The only solo album on which all four Beatles played after the band’s breakup was Ringo’s 1973 solo album titled, appropriately enough, Ringo.

ringo2.jpgI could go on and on, but by now you’ve grasped the obvious….

Everyone agrees that 7/07/07 is the luckiest day of the millenium. Whose birthday would it be but the luckiest guy in the history of rock?

Happy Birthday, Richie Starkey….

10 replies »

  1. Ringo was the fun one, I guess?

    And while I fully agree with your assessment of The Pussycat Dolls, you do hate to see so many talented artists get tainted by association. Today saw the long-awaited reunion of Spinal Tap and a set that concluded with “Big Bottom” – as they were joined on stage by about half the musicians at the venue, all playing bass.

    Transcendent stuff….

  2. Uh, Spinal Tap isn’t a real band, Sam. They’re comedians making fun of rock musicians. I’m not sure that satire is rock authenticity. Unless maybe it’s a Frank Zappa memorial show…?

    Live Earth is bullshit – you know, I know it, and the American (and world’s) people know it. Al Gore’s a fool to associate himself with it. Credibility hit that….

    And Dave Matthews, et al, would play a “charity” show benefiting Lucks Beans “Save the Farts” campaign. Their social capital is so far in the red the World Bank couldn’t bail them out….

    And why won’t Karen Duffy just go away? Her 15 minutes were up eons ago in transient “MTV fame” time measurement….

  3. So you don’t think all these artists drawing attention to a cause like this is worthwhile? And what do you mean “associate himself with it”? Wasn’t it his idea?

    As for Tap, they may be comedians making fun of musicians, but they’re also significantly better MUSICIANS than a number of the acts on display today.

    On a completely unrelated note, somebody want to explain to me again what the big deal is over Fall Out Boy?

  4. Jim, it may be musical bullshit. I don’t know; I consider myself ignorant of anything past Stravinsky. But it’s political and psychological smartness, I think, because it brands consciousness of the dangers of global warming as something that is cool, that musicians and young people want to be associated with, that may even be a way of rebelling against the old people who got us into this mess.

    And as for Tap, well they may be past Stravinsky, but anything Harry Shearer does is OK by me.

  5. Well, let’s look at all the other international song fests and how much they’ve done for the world… hmmm. I think I will 😉

  6. Steve,

    Stu’s the Unknown Beatle….I’ll do a piece on him soon. He’s a great artist – visual artist, as I’m sure you know….


    Maybe Al was influential in making this Live Earth about global heating, but the whole business is way too tied up with Rolling Stone and MTV for me to think of it in an benevolent terms. I give more credence to something like Farm Aid where Willie, Mellencamp and Neil Young have been founder/supporters for decades now.

    Again, if comedians are better musicians than the real star musicians, what’s that saying? Nothing good….. Fallout Boy? Proof that kids are dumber today – and their parents have let them down by not smartening them up….

    Finally, no, I don’t think holding a concert raises consciousness in any significant way these days. Rock stars should speak about this and try to do what they can to “tour green” – i.e., MODEL responsibility – don’t just show up and have huge energy using concerts.

    Spectacle doesn’t always = action. Sometimes action = spectacle (March on Washington comes to mind because of our banner rogue). Sometimes spectacle = action (Bangladesh/Live Aid).

    But the vibe that radiates from Live Earth is Spectacle = Spectacle. I wonder if the celebrity culture – or the lack of musician heroes – is the problem. Maybe it’s the corporate involvement that makes the shows more about promoting Pussycat Dolls, et al, rather than about the issues.

    In any case, it doesn’t impress me as really meaningful as those other benefits did….