Written by Lindsay Lowe
Edition, adaptation and comments by Toni Basanta from Fairfax, Vermont, USA
George Harrison may have been the ‘quiet Beatle,’ but Ringo Starr was probably the group’s most underrated member.
While the other three sang or played guitar front and center, Ringo tended to stay in the background. Still, he largely defined the Beatles’ signature sound and revolutionized the role of the drummer in the Modern Rock Band.
“Before Ringo, drum stars were measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity,”
legendary JOURNEY drummer Steve Smith and leader of his Vital Information Rock Jazz Fusion Band said in an interview with the Percussive Arts Society.
S.S. : “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 very unique and 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.”
While Ringo mainly stuck to the drums, he did take the spotlight every now and then. He wrote a handful of songs for the Beatles and sang lead vocals on a few memorable tracks, including “Yellow Submarine” and “Octopus’s Garden.”
In honor of Ringo’s 77th birthday on July 7, here are five of his Best Beatles Songs :
1. “Octopus’s Garden” (Abbey Road, 1969)
This is one of the rare Beatles songs featuring Ringo as the lead vocalist.
Starr also wrote the quirky song, George Harrison revealed.
“It’s only the second song Ringo has written, mind you, and it’s lovely,” Harrison said. “The song gets very deep into your consciousness…because it’s so peaceful.”
Here is Ringo performing the classic song in 2005:
2. “Don’t Pass Me By” (The Beatles, 1968)
This was the first song that Ringo penned for the Beatles. Here he is performing the classic tune in 2005 :
3. “Yellow Submarine” (Revolver, 1966)
Starr took a rare turn as the lead singer on this classic Beatles track. Paul McCartney and John Lennon, who wrote the song, provided background vocals, guitar and sound effects. Ringo’s 2005 performance of the song takes us straight back to his trademark vocals on the 1966 record.
4. “Act Naturally” (Help!, 1965)
This 1965 hit was actually a cover of a song recorded by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos two years earlier. Ringo handled lead vocals on the Beatles’ version, and it’s still a crowd favorite on his solo tours. Here’s Ringo performing the song live in 1965 in Blackpool, England.
5. “With a Little Help from My Friends”
(Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
Lennon and McCartney wrote this song specifically for Ringo. Here’s Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band performing the hit single in 2010.