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Starr Ringo

Musicians or bands:

The Beatles, Ringo’s All-Star Band

Biography and commentary:

Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey (born in 1940 in Liverpool)) is probably the first real pop music drummer in history, with a simple and original playing at the same time. While most of the time drummers were content to accompany the singer slavishly and mechanically, Ringo initiates with the Beatles (first album "Please please me," 1963), a new drumset style where each piece is an opportunity to special rhythmic and mnemonic breaks, “fills” (the basic recipe of popular composition). Representative examples: "Ticket to Ride" (1965) with a break beat very hard rock before the letter with flams and bass drum kicks alternating, or the repetitive break of "Come Together" (1969) with triplets which pass from the hi-hat to the drums. So the success of the Beatles is not a coincidence and their compositions are still plenty of times covered and serve as models for many pop bands (especially in England of course). Their main genius idea is to has been inspired brilliantly by classical and medieval European music. There is even a melody taken literally from Johann Sebastian Bach, the archetype of European classicism ("Blackbird" ("The Beatles”, " White Album") in 1968, inspired by the" Bourrée in E minor "(BWV 996) JS Bach). Polyphonic choirs are also a “hallmark” of the Beatles, which the American Beach Boys or Supremes are certainly the inspirers and the best followers, the Bee Gees (Brothers Gibb). The American influence goes from the blues to mambo (Ringo Starr sometimes uses bongos, and double the snare afterbeats one time out of two, as the Cuban rumba played on congas (swung: "Love Me Do", first single, 1962) typical also of Rhythm'n Blues (Chuck Berry, etc.) or cymbals ornamentation on the model of maracas ("I Feel Fine" 1964) that is reminiscent of the Mexican rock of a Ritchie Valens ( "La Bamba" 1958)). The Beatles were among the first to incorporate traditional Indian music in a pop song ("Love you to" Revolver album, 1966). Ringo can alternate between a square rock binary playing, a ternary swing ("folk blues" or "half time shuffle", one of the first to use this concept with Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and Bernard Purdie ("Cold Coffee" Galt Mc Dermot "Shapes of Rhythm”, 1966) at the same time (" A Day in the Life" Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ”, 1967)) or in-between which is remininding Steve Gadd playing later. The "half time shuffle" will later make the celebrity of Jeff Porcaro (Toto) and John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). "Sergeant Pepper" is also considered by some historians as the starting point of the "progressive rock". To reduce the Beatles to Rock'n Roll is a nonsense and the beautiful and avant-gardist film "A Hard Days Night" where they play themselves their own role with a deep sense of self-derision, shows how they feel more victims than profiteers of the "Star System". The Beatles nevertheless accumulate the global and historical records of popularity such as sales record all medias combined (over 1 billion!) or the number of albums ranked number 1 of International Sales.

Marc De Douvan, publication in French: January 3, 2006 (for the translation in English: July 12, 2015)

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© 2005 Marc de Douvan Crédits Mentions légales