The Beatles – Ringo!
Before we speak about the Beatles and, specifically, Ringo Starr, let’s talk briefly about what has been happening in our country since the death of George Floyd. Again, and again situations like this come up, and again and again we are asked the question, “What is mine to do?”
And the response to that question is something that you take into prayer and contemplation. Only you can choose what is yours to do in this and all questions we face.
As people proclaiming to be followers of the teaching of Jesus, one thing we might consider doing is reach out with an open hand and not a closed fist. We cannot be of help with a fist of anger and fear.
If your hand is in a fist, then start with yourself and find your peace to aid in the peace of this world.
This is a topic we will investigate deeper at a later time. Please do some self- discovery to find where you truly stand and where you need to move forward.
If you need to talk about this situation or anything, please remember I am available for counseling and just chatting.
And now, let’s get back to the Beatles. We all know that inspiration can come from many diverse sources. And music in all forms is one of those sources. And that music comes in a wide variety.
For today’s discussion, that comes in the form of rock and roll.
I do not believe anyone would not know at least the name, the Beatles and vaguely know that they were a rock band. They were a very successful rock band, even today, though the band discontinued making music together in 1970. Most consider the Beatles the most influential band of all time.
The Beatles formed in England in 1960 comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best…. yes, no Ringo Starr, not until 1962.
We will be talking about each member these following weeks, starting with Ringo this week. And then the remaining three over the next weeks. I hope you find the information about each one interesting, as I do.
Ringo didn’t have a great childhood. Born Richard Starkey in 1940, Beatles biographer Bob Spitz described his upbringing as “a Dickensian chronicle of misfortune”
Very poor housing & violent crime was an almost constant concern for people living in one of the oldest and poorest inner-city districts in Liverpool, the Dingle.
Ritchie as he was called, didn’t have a father influence in his younger years. His parents divorced when he was 4.
At the age of six, he developed appendicitis. Following a routine appendectomy he contracted peritonitis, causing him to fall into a coma that lasted days. His recovery spanned twelve months, which he spent away from his family at Liverpool’s Myrtle Street children’s hospital.
Upon his discharge, his mother allowed him to stay home instead of attending school. His lack of education contributed to a feeling of alienation when he finally returned to school, which resulted in his regularly playing truant.
However, after several years of twice-weekly tutoring from his surrogate sister and neighbor, Marie Maguire Crawford, Starkey had nearly caught up to his peers academically, but in 1953, then 13, he contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium, where he remained for two years. There he was encouraged to join in the make-shift band and thus, started his love of percussion. He would bang on anything with anything, to add to the ‘music.’
His Mother’s 2nd husband introduced him to more music, mostly big band and their vocalists. So, when he returned home from the sanatorium, he didn’t return to school, but preferred staying home and listening to music.
Eventually, he was old enough to find a job. After trying for several with little to no success, he befriended Roy Trafford, who worked with Starkey in a manufacturing apprentice job.
Roy introduced Ritchie to skiffle, a musical genre with influences from jazz, blues, and American folk music, generally performed with a mixture of manufactured and homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a form in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, it became extremely popular in the United Kingdom in the 1950s,
Trafford recalled: “I played a guitar, and Ritchie just made a noise on a box … Sometimes, he just slapped a biscuit tin with some keys, or banged on the backs of chairs.”
Not soon after, with a second-hand drum kit consisting of a snare drum, bass drum and a makeshift cymbal fashioned from a rubbish bin lid, the lads made their way into clubs playing American rock & roll.
They had some great success, but when the Beatles asked Starkey to join them, the rest is history. Richard Starkey became Ringo Starr, one of the greatest drummers ever. He was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 2002.
In a Rolling Stone article in 2011, readers named him the fifth-greatest drummer of all time. He was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a Beatle in 1988 and as a solo artist in 2015, and appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2018 New Year Honors for services to music, thus becoming Sir Richard Starkey.
Ringo had a great following, and his fans asked that he get to sing more. He usually did have one track on each album, for example: he sang the lead in “Yellow Submarine”, “With a Little Help from My Friends” and their cover of “Act Naturally”
And he wrote and sang the Beatles’ songs “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden” Fun fact – For a little more oceanic panache which Ringo wanted, George blew bubbles with a straw into a glass of milk.
When the Beatles broke up, Ringo did have some success for a time with singles including the US top-ten hit “It Don’t Come Easy”, and number ones “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen”.
Following his rough childhood and his tempestuous early adulthood, Starr has made great leaps in finding inner peace. Not only does he practice meditation daily, he also adopted an active and vegetarian lifestyle.
His beliefs are very Unitic like. One need only follow some of his quotes:
“I feel the older I get, the more I’m learning to handle life. Being on this quest for a long time, it’s all about finding yourself.”
I truly believe this is so true, one must know thyself to move through to knowing the Christ within. Getting to know yourself, you work through all the domestication that you picked up all through your life.
That one leads to this one:
“For me, God is in my life. I don’t hide from that…”
Many people do try to hide that God is in their life, but we can tell, because we connect, we can feel that Divine Spirit in each and every one of us. We have soul shine!
“At the end of the day, I can end up just totally wacky, because I’ve made mountains out of molehills. With meditation, I can keep them as molehills.”
How many of us do this…mountains out of mole hills? We connect to the Universe and they melt away back to small hills, or maybe disappear altogether. Trust in the Divine Spirit…
“I am truly grateful. I’m a grateful human being.”
We all know that gratitude is the answer to so many things. Be grateful for what you have. And this Global Pause has certainly emphasized that for us.