I’m so tired of people criticising Ringo
Every little thing he drummed was important
I’ve noticed a trend recently, and I assume some of it is based on the amount of media coverage he received last year. George Harrison, in a manner that reflects his popularity during their heydey, has become the world’s favourite Beatle. McCartney’s presence at the great British events of last summer has led to a grand dismissal of him as a talent going forward. Lennon has been criticised in places retrospectively for his demons. So Harrison gets given credit and love. As much as I love George Harrison, just as I like McCartney (even now) and Lennon, I have a problem with how people think about The Beatles.
Much like the plot of A Hard Day’s Night, everyone’s forgotten about poor Ringo.
Ringo is a bit of a joke in certain spheres. Who can forget the Family Guy scene in which McCartney patronisingly puts Ringo’s song on the fridge, where everyone can see it? The happy Octopus’s Garden is a maligned part of Abbey Road, considered unfit for duty, when most bands would be considered lucky to have it as part of their output. Ringo even gets unjustly blamed for Yellow Submarine, a song he only sung, a song he had no part in writing.
Then we get to the drumming, and people start speaking with vitriol. They talk about how awful Ringo’s drumming was and is. They suggest that with another drummer, The Beatles could have been greater.
Here’s the first problem with that notion: if there was genuinely something wrong with Ringo’s drumming, The Beatles would be unlistenable. As a four-piece band, The Beatles were an excellent display of collective music, and the importance of each part. Ringo’s drumming is imperative to the tempo of each piece, and without him blistering his fingers, the music would have sounded completely different. Best was dismissed, as much as anything, because Ringo was an already established quality drummer.
The second issue with Ringo criticism is one that will cast me as insane in the eyes of many, and that is that I see Ringo as one of the better drummers in music. I’ll name three songs, which ideally you’ll go listen to with headphones on: Tomorrow Never Knows, Something and Helter Skelter. Focus only on Ringo’s drumming and report back to me.
Thinking only about Tomorrow Never Knows, Ringo’s drumming carries the piece. Ringo’s beat is more modern than anything heard at the time The Beatles recorded. You can listen exclusively to the drums and sense what makes the song so revolutionary.
Ringo is unjustly criticised, and without him The Beatles would have sounded completely different. It is easy to remember his failures since they split, but never forget his successes as a Beatle. Ringo was as important as any of the others, and you’d be a fool not to admit it.