Home » Paul McCartney Describes Ringo Starr’s Concerns About His Drumming Abilities

Paul McCartney Describes Ringo Starr’s Concerns About His Drumming Abilities

Paul McCartney has consistently admired Ringo Starr’s drumming prowess, yet he sensed a lack of confidence in Starr himself. Despite McCartney’s praise, Starr found himself at the center of press jokes, with rumors circulating, including one suggesting that John Lennon claimed Starr wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles. McCartney later addressed why he believed Starr harbored a sense of paranoia about his drumming abilities.

Paul McCartney Expresses Ringo Starr’s Lack of Self-Confidence in His Abilities

Over the years, numerous voices, including The Beatles themselves and various drummers, have praised Ringo Starr’s drumming skills. However, Paul McCartney believed that Starr’s self-doubt stemmed from his reluctance to perform drum solos.

In The Beatles Anthology, McCartney shared, “I think Ringo was always paranoid that he wasn’t a great drummer because he never used to solo. He hated those guys who went on and on, incessantly banging while the band goes off and has a cup of tea or something.” Until Abbey Road, The Beatles never incorporated a drum solo into their performances, leading some drummers to question Starr’s technical proficiency despite appreciating his style.

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McCartney acknowledged that the band could have done more to dispel these notions. Despite Starr’s aversion to solos, McCartney firmly believed it didn’t diminish his drumming prowess. “I think his feel and soul and the way he was rock solid with his tempo was a great attribute,” McCartney stated. “Rock’n’roll is all about feel, really, and sound. So at that time we had to reassure him that we did think he was great.”

Frustration Led the Drummer to Depart from The Beatles

Despite McCartney’s efforts to reassure Starr, there were times when the drummer didn’t feel valued by his bandmates. A notable instance occurred during the recording of the White Album when Starr decided to leave the band.

“I left because I felt two things: I felt I wasn’t playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider,” Starr explained. Seeking solace, he visited John, who had been residing in his apartment in Montagu Square with Yoko since leaving Kenwood. Starr expressed his reasons for leaving: “I’m not playing well, and I feel unloved and out of it, and you three are really close.” To his surprise, John responded, “I thought it was you three!” Frustrated and seeking a break, Starr took his family on vacation to Sardinia to decompress.

Paul McCartney Discusses The Beatles’ Expression of Gratitude towards Ringo Starr

While the other Beatles pressed on with the album in Starr’s absence, they were eager for his return and expressed their sentiments through a heartfelt telegram.  Starr recalled, “I got a telegram saying, ‘You’re the best rock’n’roll drummer in the world. Come on home, we love you.’ And so I came back. We all needed that little shake-up.” McCartney acknowledged that, although they had always valued Starr, they hadn’t conveyed it enough. Upon his return, they made a concerted effort to rectify this oversight.

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“You go through life, and you never stop and say: ‘Hey, you know what? I think you’re great.’ You don’t always tell your favorite drummer that he’s your favorite,” McCartney reflected. Recognizing Starr’s insecurity and departure, the band reassured him, “Look, man, you are the best drummer in the world for us. (I still think that.)” The gesture was met with gratitude from Starr, and to celebrate his return to the studio, they orchestrated a grand celebration with millions of flowers.  Starr attested that this show of appreciation significantly lifted his spirits.

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