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Ringo Starr was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940. He celebrates his 74th birthday today and, of course, is best known as the drummer of the Beatles. For many, that’s actually all he is famous for, which is unfortunate.
image courtesy of Kirkland/MPI/INFevents.com
Starr’s days as a solo artist are usually dismissed and he really was the one most affected by the break-up. After all, he couldn’t write and he wasn’t much of a singer. During his time with the group, he could do what he did best - which was drum - and his opportunities to sing were generally novelty numbers.
In 1970, that great position crashed and burned. The Beatles were over and Ringo was left with little to do. Obviously, after establishing himself as the greatest drummer for the greatest band in the world, his skills behind the drumkit would be in high demand. But his status as a Beatle allowed him to take on two personal projects in 1970 - Sentimental Journey, an album of standards decades before that would be the usual thing for rock stars to do; and Beaucoups of Blues, a country album recorded in Nashville.
But to the surprise of everyone, Ringo suddenly became a strong singles act. “It Don’t Come Easy” was a smash hit in 1971, with “Back Off Boogaloo” was the same a year later. Then, in 1973, RINGO came out, headlined by “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen.” While 1974’s Goodnight Vienna was a moderate hit, Ringo has never reached the same success as he did from 1971 to 1973. Unlike George Harrison and Paul McCartney, Ringo has never had another brief moment of success since his early days as a solo artist. That means that there’s a lot of music you may be missing that is actually pretty good.