Career In Beats: Ringo Starr's 5 greatest drum beats

(Image credit: Jacques Haillot/Sygma/Corbis)

Today marks drum legend Ringo Starr's 73rd birthday. While he's spreading peace and love, here at Rhythm we're celebrating the occasion the only way we know how, by looking back at Ringo's finest moments behind the kit…

Day Tripper

We kick off with a track that shows up an interesting aspect of Ringo's playing. As he's leftie playing a right-handed set-up his rolls lead from the lower tom, as you can hear in the set of 16th-note tom triplets in this track. Another reason why we love Ringo so much. And it's a stone-cold Beatles classic (did they write anything other than classics?). For a detailed run-through of how to play 'Day Tripper' check out the June 2010 issue of Rhythm.

Come Together

Few songs encapsulate Ringo's style as succinctly as 'Come Together'. By no means a technical masterpiece, but it fits the track perfectly and includes elements that 99 out of 100 drummers wouldn't dream of throwing in. Muddy tom fills and delicate hi-hat placement are just a couple of reasons why we love this one so much. Oh, and it's an absolutely fantastic song as well. That always helps.

Ticket To Ride

Another example of Ringo plumping for a drum part that fits like a glove but isn't just your typical straight beat. Carl Palmer summed it up in Rhythm 138 when he had this to say about the beat: "It's not obvious, it's extremely disjointed as a rhythm, but it happens to work incredibly well." Well said, Mr Palmer.


Another typically-understated outing from Ringo, with a sombre backbeat matching the track's low-key vibe. Halfway through Ringo reminds us that he really can play as he bursts into life with some irresistible hi-hat work that breathes zest into the track, before he strips it right back down again for the closing section. Oh, and check the image above to see that Ringo could pull off a beard as well as any other Beatle. Respect.

All You Need Is Love

Our final choice (which just edges out the fill-laden mid-tempo classic 'Rain') is 'All You Need Is Love', But why? Well how about because it's one of a mind-blowingly select group of successful pop tunes featuring 7/4 timing? Yes, it's understated and yes it fits perfectly. I thought this guy couldn't play? Not even the best drummer in the Beatles? You're having a laugh.

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).