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Ringo Starr first rose to fame in the early 1960s as the drummer for the legendary rock group the Beatles.
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He was known for his strong drumming talents, but he also assisted in the group’s creative process and provided some of its emotional stability and good humor. Unlike past drummers who remained firmly in the background, Starr was seen an equal part of the Fab Four. His influence would later be seen on future generations of drummers.
In 1966, the Beatles stopped touring,
giving their last concert in August at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. They continued to record together, taking their music in new directions. They created one of rock’s first concept albums with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), which was meant to be listened to in its entirety. Other commercial and critical successes, included The Beatles (often referred to as The White Album) (1968), to which Starr contributed the track “Don’t Pass Me By.”
By this time, personal and creative tensions began to erode the group. Starr spent some time on other projects, starring in the film The Magic Christian (1969) with Peter Sellars. They played their last gig together on top of the Apple Corps, Ltd building in London, in January 1969, which was filmed for the film Let It Be (1970). In April 1970, the Beatles ended with Paul McCartney’s announcement that he was leaving the group. One of the most successful groups in popular music finished their run with more than 45 top forty hits in the United States alone—and leaving an incalculable impression on millions of fans worldwide.
After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Starr pursued a solo career. His first album, Sentimental Journey (1970), was a collection of Tin Pan Alley tunes. For his next effort, Starr went for country with Beaucoup of Blues (1971). Starr found his greatest solo success with Ringo (1973), which featured such hits as “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Photograph,” and “You’re Sixteen.”
In addition to recording, Starr was flourishing in other creative directions at this time. He directed and produced the documentary, Born to Boogie (1972), on influential glam rockers T-Rex. Continuing to act, Starr appeared in such films as 200 Motels (1971), That’ll Be the Day (1973), and Son of Dracula (1974). He also starred in the comedy Caveman (1981) with Barbara Bach, and the two soon fell in love and married.
Starr reteamed with Paul McCartney for the musical drama Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984). On television, he starred in two children’s series as the narrator for Thomas the Tank Engine and later Shining Time Station.
On the musical front, Starr emerged as a bandleader in the late 1980s, touring with the first incarnation of his All Starr Band, which included Joe Walsh from the Eagles, Nils Lofgren and Clarence Clemmons from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Rick Danko and Levon Helm from the Band, and Billy Preston and Dr. John among others. Over the years, Starr has done numerous tours with various artists under the All Starr Band banner and produced several live albums of this continuously changing and evolving collaborative project.
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The Beatles were a legendary rock group that formed in Liverpool, England, in 1960, and went on to transform popular music as a creative, highly commercial art form over the next decade. The Beatles were one of the most popular bands of all time, producing songs like "Yesterday, "Hey Jude," "Penny Lane, "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," "Day Tripper" and "Come Together." Learn more about the "Fab Four"—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr—by exploring our Beatles collection.
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