Ringo Starr’s first drumming hero

Contrary to popular belief, Ringo Starr, the drummer for The Beatles, stands as one of the most accomplished percussionists in the music industry, wielding his drumsticks with finesse. However, for Starr, the drums are merely one element within the intricate tapestry of music. In his view, drumming is a collaborative force that contributes to a greater whole.

Unlike many drummers of comparable acclaim who grew up emulating their idols in practice rooms, Ringo’s interest in replicating drummers never took root. He has only ever purchased one instrumental record by a drummer, and apart from that singular release, no other drumming-centric offerings have managed to capture his attention.

Starr’s disinterest in isolating drummers reveals much about his playing style, characterized by a commitment to enhancing the musical landscape rather than seizing the spotlight. While critics may attempt to undermine his skills, this selfless approach played a crucial role in shaping The Beatles’ impeccable legacy.

In a 2019 conversation with Dave Grohl for Rolling Stone, Starr reminisced about the early days of his drumming career as a teenager. He highlighted his first band, where the focus was on the skiffle genre with a makeshift bass created by his friend Roy. However, when Grohl inquired about Starr’s favorite drummers during this transformative period, the former Beatle offered a candid response, indicating that he never sought out drum-centric records.

Starr clarified, Well, Cozy Cole is the only one I ever mention, but anything Little Richard did — people always feel it’s weird, but I never listened just for the drums. I listened for the whole track. In another interview with Rolling Stone in 2020, Starr once again referenced Cozy Cole, citing his appreciation for the drum solo in “Topsy.” Despite his aversion to drum solos with The Beatles, Starr acknowledged the brilliance of Cole’s 1958 release, even though it didn’t directly influence his style.

While Ringo refrained from drum solos during his tenure with The Beatles, aside from a notable exception on ‘The End,’ his refusal to indulge in lengthy drum solos resonated with the band’s ethos. McCartney recalled, “Ringo would never do drum solos. He hated drummers who did lengthy drum solos. We all did.” Despite this stance, Starr recognized and admired the uniqueness of Cozy Cole’s ‘Topsy,’ showcasing his ability to appreciate drumming brilliance even as he forged his distinctive path within The Beatles.

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