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Starr, Ringo (7th July 1940-Present)

He is a drummer, musician and singer-songwriter born Richard Starkey in Liverpool, England. As a child he went into a coma, spending three years in hospital. He missed much of his schooling and when he left he was still finding reading and writing difficult.

In 1957 he formed the group The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group with Eddie Miles and then joined the Raving Texans in 1959. It was then that he was given the name Ringo as he wore several rings as well as being named after the character The Ringo Kid who was played by John Wayne in the movie Stagecoach. The name Starr came so that when he did his solo spots it could be billed as “Starr Time”.

While performing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes in Hamburg he first met The Beatles and sat in for their drummer Pete Best on several occasions. He was asked to join them in 1962 which caused controversy with Pete Best fans who held vigils at his home and fought at the Cavern Club.

His style of drumming has influenced many artists including Phil Collins and Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel’s Band, and he is noted for being left handed but playing a right-handed kit and leading with his left hand. The other members of The Beatles all said that he was “the best rock and roll drummer in the world”. He left the band for two weeks in 1969 following a row with John Lennon and spent two weeks on a yacht with Peter Sellers but all the members asked him to come back.

He sang on each studio album and Lennon and McCartney wrote these songs especially for him to suit his range. He also wrote his own songs such as “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden” and co-wrote many other songs with the other members of the group.

After The Beatles disbanded in 1970 he released two albums with the assistance of George Martin, Paul McCartney and Quincy Jones. He achieved chart success in the US with his No. 1 hits “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen” although he is the only Beatle never to have topped the British charts as a solo artist.

He continued to work with the members of The Beatles in their individual careers, appearing at George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh and also drumming for Yoko Ono in her early solo work.

He moved into film and aside from appearing in The Beatles films he has appeared in ones including Son of Dracula, That’ll Be the Day and Caveman where he met his second wife, the actress Barbara Bach. His first release as a director was a documentary called Born to Boogie on the band T. Rex and he has narrated the children’s series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends as well as featuring on The Point by Harry Nilsson and appearing as himself on The Simpsons .

George Harrison wrote the song “All Those Years Ago” for him to sing on his album Stop and Smell the Roses but he took it back and sang a re-written version himself featuring Ringo, Paul and Linda McCartney following John Lennon’s death.

Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band does a yearly series of concerts where he appears with well known musicians that cover various music eras. In 2001 he and George Harrison were guest musicians on the Electric Light Orchestra’s album Zoom and in 2002 he was inducted into the Percussive Hall of Fame.

In 2005 it was announced that he would be collaborating with the comic book creator Stan Lee to produce an animated musical superhero based on him. The minor planet 4150 that was discovered in 1984 was named in his honour.

Beatles Recordings
If I Fell (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
Got to Get You into My Life (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
And I Love Her (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
Helter Skelter (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

Paul McCartney Recordings
Take It Away (Paul McCartney)