112 77 on 7-7: Ringo Starr and The Beatles Beat 

July 6, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting


In honor of his birthday, Richard and Robert honor Ringo by focusing an entire show on his drumming (as well as that of his predecessor). Aboard for the discussion is Gary Astridge, Ringo’s drum historian and archivist, as well as Alex Cain and Terry McCusker, authors of Ringo Starr and The Beatles Beat. We’ll be exploring the kits he used as well as his evolution as a drummer and percussionist.

Songs include “Boys” and “Dear Prudence.”

Find Alex and Terry’s book here.
Find Gary’s site here
Find Robert’s books here.
Find Richard’s books here.
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    22 Responses to “112 77 on 7-7: Ringo Starr and The Beatles Beat ”

    1. Erick Says:

      Great show. Really liked the 2nd half. I think the portrayal of Ringo in the films and Beatle cartoons as well as Yellow Submarine gave people the idea that he was a simpleton and not capable of being a great artist or drummer, along for the ride etc.. this perception went unchecked for too many years to reverse overnight. Thankfully he has started to get recognition for his skills


    2. Frank Elliott Says:

      My perspective on Ringo as a drummer changed when I was the drummer for an original music band in the 1980s whose songs were all over the map — ranging from power pop to esoteric technica. I called our music “post-New Wave eclectic pop.”

      It as a huge challenge to figure out how I wanted to drum to some of these songs.

      And that’s when I began to appreciate Ringo. As the Beatles continued to push the envelop of rock & roll Ringo had to figure out how to give it a beat. And it’s not like he had any reference point to start with. John and Paul were gleefully, systematically tearing up every rule in the book about rock & roll. But he did come up with the beat, and he did so brilliantly — especially with Sgt. Pepper, on songs like “Getting Better” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” And he took songs that a lesser drummer would have given a conventional beat (and been boring as hell) like “She Said, She Said,” and turned them into something special.

      We all know that technically, Ringo was so-so. But as the drummer for the most creative, rules-breaking band ever, he was bloody brilliant.


    3. The Applesauce Project Says:

      Man, I love how awesomely cheesy the orchestral “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy)” is. George Martin really outdid himself on that one.

      (Great podcast as usual — some neat insight from folks I’d not heard before.)


    4. Ernie Buford Says:

      Ringo did not play drums on Dear Prudence. Do your homework.


    5. Martin Says:

      I think this guy would pass the Ringo audition


    6. Dave Says:

      Love the show, and a regular listener….still, it seems odd to end a show that is focused on Ringo’s drumming with a song that may or may not have had Ringo’s involvement


    7. Matt Demakos Says:

      My favorite drumming moment on any Beatles song is the cymbal crash in Dear Prudence on the word “smile” at about 2:50, a great intro into the African beat that follows. I hear an added bongo too… but it’s the bass!

      Robert: In all good humor, saying “She Loves You” doesn’t have a bridge is like saying your garage doesn’t have a kitchen. Since not many of their verse-chorus songs, which this is, have bridges, it simply isn’t the point. The main point is that it is their first verse-chorus song they released.

      For me, their first verse-chorus songs show a lot of influence from the AABA structure they were more used to. In “She Loves You,” you can see it in the second half of the A section where it sounds chorus-like already (She said she loves you….) They did that in their AABA songs and it is not a usual thing in Verse-Chorus writing. And the chorus itself is only four bars of high energy, with four bars of resolution. It’s kind of quick, like the second part of their A sections in AABA songs. In my view, they seemed to have set out to create an AABA song here but, as I say, it simply got away from them. Songs do that.

      Robert, your defense is this: Since the song has vestiges of an AABA song—you would use a word like “vestiges”—and AABA songs have bridges, they intended to write one. When it became a verse-chorus, they of course didn’t write the bridge and so it became a song without a bridge. Fine, Robert, fine. And besides, this is a show about drumming!

      Okay, calm down.



      • Us Says:

        Matt – you’re putting way more thought into what I made as a simple observation, with no suggestion or inference that, “since the song has vestiges of an AABA song…they intended to write one.” I am not musicologist enough to even make an assertion like that – I was simply pointing out that SLY was a departure from the first four singles in that way; not only did they ditch the harmonica, but also…

        Please don’t overthink the conversations on SATB!



        • Matt Says:

          Robert, I do agree. It’s too off topic. Though I find that topic interesting and my observation worthy in a conversation about Lennon and McCartney developing as song writers. Perhaps I’m trying too hard to get you to devote a whole show to the topic of song structure.

          Actually, I’d rather have a show about songs the Beatles misproduced. They were so good at doing the right thing for each song. But sometimes they did the wrong thing and I would love to hear a show where you each list off your top 5 or so.

          My apologies for STILL being off topic.



    8. WingsFan2012 Says:

      Great show topic guys. Robert see you at the Hyatt for the Fest next month. Hope you have a few chats lined up. In all the Beatles books I have read and 28 years of the Fest, Richard’s thought that Paul was the reason Ringo walked out during the White album is the first time I ever heard that as the reason?????? I have always read it was the tension the others felt about Yoko being omnipresent during the sessions.


      • Pablo Ramon Says:

        Yoko omnipresent? I don’t think so, at this stage. That sounds more like the winter of their discontent-era. Paul’s manner of giving direction was clearly a source of tension in the band (e.g. “I’ll play what you want me to play or I won’t play at all, whatever will pleeeeeease you…”). Surely it contributed to an atmosphere that had grown sour for Ringo. But in the Anthology, Ringo himself says: “I left because I felt two things: I felt I wasn’t playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider… I had a rest and the holiday was great. I knew we were all in a messed-up stage. It wasn’t just me; the whole thing was going down. I had definitely left, I couldn’t take it any more. There was no magic and the relationships were terrible. I’d come to a bad spot in life. It could have been paranoia, but I just didn’t feel good – I felt like an outsider. But then I realized that we were all feeling like outsiders, and it just needed me to go around knocking to bring it to a head.”


      • Colleen Hailey Says:

        I read an article recently (which of course, I don’t have a link to) of a long ago interview with Ringo’s first wife, Mo. She said that he came home in an absolute rage one day and was swearing about McCartney under his breath. He started throwing things in a suitcase and said that they were going on holiday. I suspect that his story in Anthology was putting a little nicer spin on things.

        I have always wondered whether the story of Paul actually getting behind his drum set to show Ringo how he wanted something played was true.


    9. BW Says:

      FINALLY someone mentions the squeaking bass drum pedal! I’ve heard that for years.
      …And the mock “Best” version of “Come Together” has people working around me wondering why I’m giggling out loud in my office as I’m listening to headphones. That gets me every time. This coming from a guy that bought “Hayman’s Green” and enjoyed it.

      Great show.


    10. Martín Says:

      Fantastic first hand memories. One thing else. Where do you get those great mixes and outtakes? Why or how do they sound so deep?

      Abrazo desde Madrid,



    11. Pete Says:

      Great show. I was particularly glad to hear the nod to Ringo’s great work on the Plastic Ono Band. I never thought before about the idea that his peak was 70–71 … but it may be true!


    12. Xavier carter Says:

      Yall bitches don’t know nothing about ringo starr


    13. Rob W Says:

      I think it may be both Paul and Ringo on that LAST verse of Dear Prudence. Whatever the truth the result is absolute brilliance!


    14. Denny Says:

      You guys’ podcast episodes are always so fantastic and well done. I am really thankful for the work you guys do!

      I must say… I am in disbelief that no one has mentioned Ringo’s playing on “Long Tall Sally”!??!??!!! To me, it is the most swinging drum track he ever cut. Phenomenal live “room” sound on Long Tall Sally as well (before they “killed” his tone with all of the deadening/dampening techniques 🙁 ) So… for me… not only is Long Tall Sally an amazing example of Ringo’s “swing”, but it’s also an amazing example of Ringo’s actual “tone”. Anyway, I always point to this track when I try to explain to others how and why Ringo is an amazing drummer. I just wanted to point out this amazing track and was surprised to not hear it mentioned in the podcast or here in these comments anywhere.

      Keep up the fantastic work on the podcast. We’ll be listening.

      Thank you!


      • Us Says:

        Hi Denny,

        Thanks for the kind words! I’m pretty sure that *somewhere* along the line I have mentioned Ringo’s 1-take performance on Long Tall Sally on the podcast. I know I did in my first Beatles book.



    15. Andre Hof Says:

      I’d like to ask you all about this:
      I remember having seen an early beatles live performance, where John is checking on his guitar and ringo gives a certain beat on the drums, and it was the most jazz-like strike he gave…I was amazed that he could even do that..the thing is, I never have seen it again and do not remember what or where …it was early black&white footage…anyone?
      I remember it here as people here stated long tall sally..and it might be around that song…as that has this certain kick…


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