Happy Birthday Ringo Starr: Beatles Isolated Drum Tracks

Ringo Starr celebrates his 81st birthday today. The beloved drummer and Beatle was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940 in Liverpool, England. As a child, Ringo suffered from a number of maladies that often left him hospitalized for extended periods of time. It was during one of these hospital stays in 1953 — which lasted for two years due to a tuberculosis diagnosis — that Starkey was introduced to music as patients were encouraged to join the hospital band to stimulate motor activity and combat boredom.

“I was in the hospital band,” Ringo said in The Beatles Anthology. “That’s where I really started playing. I never wanted anything else from there on … My grandparents gave me a mandolin and a banjo, but I didn’t want them. My grandfather gave me a harmonica … we had a piano – nothing. Only the drums.”

Ringo went on to become one of the most famous and influential drummers of all time as a member of The Beatles. His trusty beat served The Beatles well especially when they could barely hear themselves over screaming fans. While Starr was never one for a theatrical style of drumming, his sound and style are nonetheless all his own, characterized by his use of cymbals and toms as well as his knack for picking out unique beats. To celebrate Ringo Starr’s birthday, JamBase takes a look at five isolated drum tracks from five iconic Beatles songs.

I Feel Fine

Released as a single at the end of 1964, “I Feel Fine” can be pointed to as a pivotal moment in The Beatles’ career as they began experimenting, with the song featuring the first known use of feedback in a popular music recording. Ringo’s beat highlights the aforementioned use of tom and cymbals, mostly ride during the verse, and was inspired by Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.”

Ticket To Ride

“Ticket To Ride” appears on The Beatles’ 1965 album Help! The song was innovative in a number of ways and Ringo’s unique beat showcases his deft use of snare and toms.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Coming at the height of The Beatles’ experimental era, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” appears on one of the greatest albums ever made, 1967 Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. As the psychedelic classic sees experimentation on all fronts, Ringo’s interesting use of just ride cymbal and kick on the verse adds to the overall genius of the song.

Something

Appearing on the last album the Beatles recorded, 1969’s Abbey Road, “Something” is one of George Harrison’s finest songs. It’s also one of Ringo’s best drum sound achievements complete with skilled use of toms as well as malleted cymbals.

Here Comes The Sun

Another one of Harrison’s best songs, “Here Comes The Sun” kicks off the iconic side two of Abbey Road. Ringo delivers a tight beat on the verse and amazing fills throughout the song.