Ringo Starr

Richard Starkey was a popular Merseyside, Liverpool drummer who didn't know he was in the market for a new band at the exact moment the Beatles were seriously in the market for a new drummer. Pete Best had been the Beatles' drummer for the now-famous Hamburg gigs but was unceremoniously booted from the band in '62 for reasons still unconfirmed and barely healed, and Starr, playing with Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, joined that September in time to record the Beatle's first single, "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You." With that record and the one that followed, "Please, Please Me," the Beatles was launched and everyone on board went galactic. Starr was an inventive drummer and acceptable singer who was perceived to be the most grounded, sensitive, funny and amiable of the Fab Four. His look was unique and his antics confined to the drum set, and when the Beatles disbanded he set off on his own to develop a career. The seventies saw the lion's share of his work, including his first two albums Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups of Blues and '73's Ringo, an album that established his format of including musician friends in the mix. Old Wave in '83 was an unfortunate match of his vocal skills with the material, but 1990 saw a comfortable outing in All-Starr Band, the tour album of his now dangerously-close-to-retro-star friends MC'd by Starr. Vertical Man in '98 included old and new friends, and I Wanna Be Santa in '99 was as close as the Beatles got to a Christmas album. The All-Starr Band has enjoyed many incarnations and tours in the 21st century, playing to fan-packed venues and still-screaming ladies. The bangs are long gone, but for Starr, the bang is "... playing as a band, playing drums, playing in front of an audience... that's the drug of it."

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