Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: In Defense of Ringo

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Defense of Ringo

I've got to say, I don't understand why there seems to be an undercurrent of Ringo Starr bashing these days. It's not everywhere, but I've seen it in a number of places. The most recent I've experienced, and the impetus of this post, was at Jersey Boys. Mrs. Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk had a couple of tickets, so we went to see it (we'd already seen it a bit over a year ago, too). There are a couple of cracks about the Beatles in the show, which aren't terribly surprising. The Beatles and the British Invasion certainly took a lot of attention away from them (although they continued to have a hefty presence on the charts). A decade and a half ago, I remember reading a column that I believe was in LA Weekly that basically argued that the Beatles had usurped the career and success that rightfully belonged to the Four Seasons. Be all that as it may, you could see how the Beatles might not be the Four Seasons' favorite group. At one point, the good news/bad news dynamic of the Ringo snub is introduced: you're in the Beatles, but you're Ringo.

It's been several decades, I know, and although Ringo had a number of solo hits in the '70s (at one point, I think he was the most commercially successful former Beatle), he didn't exactly hit the heights of artistic achievement. But while the Beatles were an ongoing concern, Ringo was a beloved member of the group. Take a look at any Beatle movie, and you'll see that there wasn't a hierarchy of Beatles, with Ringo bringing up the rear. Ringo was utterly charming and was as charismatic as John or Paul or George, completely holding his own. As a musician, his contribution was also important--the Beatles' music wouldn't be the same if anyone else were behind the skins. He deserves much better than this back-door disparagement that for some reason seems to have come his way.


At 10:03 AM, March 19, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have long believed that there is a confluence of bad reasons for all the Ringo bashing. Bad Reason #1: He's the drummer, and drummers are a traditional target for scorn. For example, the old joke - Q: What do you call a guy who likes to hang around with musicians? A: A drummer. Bad reason #2: He's the least physically attractive member of the group. I know; very subjective. But by common standards, I've always thought it to be true. Bad reason #3 (though not as bad a reason as the other 2): His singing voice always threatens to go a little flat, and often goes there, which can wear on the ears. None of this makes him a bad guy. Quite the contrary, he's always seemed like a very decent chap to me. It probably hasn't helped his cause that his achievements as a songwriter are exceedingly modest compared to his fellow Beatles, even as a solo artist. Still, all in all, I think I'd trade my career for one more like his.

At 5:26 PM, March 19, 2009, Blogger Jason said...

Making fun of Ringo is all well and good, but seriously -- name anyone in the Four Seasons other than Frankie Valli. Let's not be too quick to laugh at Ringo, Jersey Boys.


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