Ringo had the least amount of formal education of the four Beatles. As a child he came close to losing his life twice, at the age of 7, and again at the age of 14. First with appendicitis that resulted in peritonitis, and later tuberculosis. But for one so unlikely to succeed, Ringo was the first of the four to play in a successful band, buy his first car and actually make a living as a musician.
Richard Starkey, born July 7, 1940 is the oldest of the four Beatles. He was co-founder of the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group in 1957. He went on to be the drummer of the most popular Liverpool band - Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Like his friends the Beatles, Rory and Ritchie also played Hamburg, Germany. where he first met his future band mates at the KaiserKeller in 1960.
In August of 1962 Ringo joined the Beatles replacing drummer Pete Best. Growing up, Ringo had fantasized about playing the London Palladium; he knew with the Beatles his chances would be much better. Unlike Best, as a drummer, Ringo was rock solid. Also, unlike Best, Ringo clicked with the other three. In "A Hard Day's Night," (one of many memorable phrases he coined), it's Ringo that emerges as the actor. Comedic and melancholy, Ringo's break away scene in the film set to George Martin rearrangement of "This Boy" is one of the most memorable.
A blues, and country wester fan, Ringo generally had a song on each album. His sole songwriting contribution to the Beatles was written as early as 1962, "Don't Pass Me By", but not recorded until 1968 for the Beatles "White Album".
As a kid, I remember relating to Ringo. He always seemed a little awkward and out of place, which is how I felt in grammar school. As he says in the "Beatles Anthology", he loved being a in the band and the whole "peace and love" vibe of the 60's. He coined the phrases "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Eight Days A Week" and he is proudest of his drumming on the Beatle single "Rain". Not a fancy drummer, he disliked drum solos and was reluctant to record his one and only as part of "The End" on Abbey Road. On the early Beatle records, and particularly on the BBC sessions, he really could rock - "he had a back beat you can't lose it". On the later recordings, his loping style and unique fills in tandem with McCartney's, melodic bass were central to the Beatle sound.