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© PETER KOLLANYI/epa/Corbis
Sure, he was in a pretty good group, but it can be strongly argued that without Ringo Starr's ever-inventive drumming, lovable personality, droll humor, and yes, his unique way of singing - no, owning - a song, The Beatles wouldn't have reshaped the world as we know it.
He was, quite simply, the missing piece of the puzzle, that essential and almost undefinable element that creates a compound.
Beatles history is a full-time occupation for millions of people across the globe, so no need to even go into a Cliffnotes version here. As the saying goes, we'll cut to the chase: Ringo Starr's profoundly creative drumming, that one-of-a-kind, only-Ringo-can-play-it swing, is impossible to separate from the music of The Beatles.
When it came to singing, all Starr had to do was be himself. His range barely spanned an octave, but what he could do with those few notes was astonishing. When called for, he could rock your socks off (and damn near destroy his kit in the process), but most of the time he crooned - beautifully. Hearing Starr's voice was like getting a phone call from an old friend. It was familiar, comforting - you felt as if you were home when you heard him.
Whether singing the compositions of John Lennon and Paul McCartney or even one of his own, Starr did something very few drummers - and very few singers, for that matter - have ever done: He put himself in the song. He owned it. If Ringo sang you a tune, that tune became his.
And he's still doing it. In 2011, Starr hit the road with the latest lineup of his All-Starr Band. May we see many more tours, and much more of Ringo Starr, in the years ahead.