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Originally known as Richard Starkey, Jr., Ringo Starr made a name for himself when he replaced Pete Best in 1962 as drummer for The Beatles. Although he's sometimes ridiculed as the weakest link in the band's chain, Starr made significant contributions to the musicality of The Beatles.
Not only did he lend his baritone voice to classic songs like “Yellow Submarine” and “With a Little Help from My Friends,” he also penned “Octopus's Garden,” among others. Starr's unusual verbiage, dubbed 'Ringoisms,' even formed the basis of “A Hard Day's Night.”
Paul McCartney once said of his interesting way with words, "Ringo would do these little malapropisms, he would say things slightly wrong, like people do, but his were always wonderful, very lyrical... they were sort of magic...".
And though he was limited technically as a southpaw drummer playing a right-handed kit, Starr has been credited with lifting the perception of drummers' roles in bands to that of equal artistic contributor. Being a self-proclaimed "basic offbeat drummer with funny fills" actually helped Starr create interesting rhythmic parts for the band's songs.
George Martin offered this appraisal: "Ringo hit good and hard and used the tom-tom well, even though he couldn't do a roll to save his life.” Later, he added, "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."
In his post-Beatles musical life, Starr's solo work has seen moderate, sustained success including two number one songs in the U.S. He also collaborated with each of his former bandmates on their solo projects at least once.
In July 1989, a year after undergoing treatment for alcoholism, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band debuted in Dallas in front of an audience 10,000 strong. In 2002, Starr was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame where he keeps company with legendary players like Buddy Rich.
Having been bitten by the acting bug in several Beatles' films, Starr also ventured further into that terrain, appearing in various movies, TV shows, and documentaries. He even provided narration for the hit children's series Thomas the Tank Engine & His Friends.
January, 2010, saw the release of Starr's 15th studio album, Y Not. Performances on The Daily Show, The Jay Leno Show, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon followed suit, as did an appearance at the Grammy Awards.
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