Why Ringo Starr Refuses to Write a Memoir

Ringo Starr revealed why he refused to write a memoir, even though he’s been asked to pen one many times.

The drummer said the idea bored him because he’d be expected to focus on events starting in 1962 when he joined the Beatles.

“That’s all they want to know,” Starr told USA Today in a recent interview. “That’s why I got fed up. They offered me lots of money over the last many years, and I said, ‘I’m not doing a book because it’d be three volumes before I get to that year.’ … I have just never found interest in it. I don’t want to do Ringo the drummer, because we’re all a bit more than that.”

But Starr was happy to look back at some of his earliest group adventures, recalling the time the Beatles opened for English singer Helen Shapiro. “She had a big band behind her,” he said. “I asked one guy in that band how old he was, and he said 40. And I said, ’40 – get off, and you’re still doing it?’ Well, that’s how you feel when you’re younger.”

He went on to recall the Beatles’ final show on the roof of their Apple Corps headquarters in London in 1969. “I love ‘Get Back,’” he said of one of the songs they played. “I never played to the whole song [in the studio]. Anyway, all the bits we were writing, it was regular rock. Up there on the roof, it was this other pattern. I thought, ‘Why did I get to that? How did I get to that?’”

Starr also discussed celebrating his musical achievements with his All Starr Band, which is currently touring North America with further dates in the fall. Noting he was fortunate to be able to recruit members for the group, he added, “I can’t just do songs with me and my drums.”

13. ‘Yellow Submarine’ (1969)
The soundtrack to the animated Beatles movie (which they didn’t provide the voices for, by the way) includes two previously released cuts, a handful of leftover session tracks from the era and an entire side of orchestra music from the film. Completists probably need the four new songs; everyone else can skip them.

12. ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ (1967)
Released as an EP in the U.K. and as an album in the U.S., ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is spotty, especially when compared to the Beatles’ other records from the era. But several of its songs – “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane” and “All You Need Is Love,” especially – rank among the group’s all-time best.

11. ‘Beatles for Sale’ (1964)
Tasked with recording their fourth album in a little more than a year, the Beatlemania-battered quartet quickly shuttled to the studio for a loose set of covers, tossed-off originals and a few gems. Success was taking its toll on the group by now, and the tired, ho-hum ‘Beatles for Sale’ proved it. Just look at their weary faces on the cover.

10. ‘Let It Be’ (1970)
The last album to be released by the Beatles was recorded before ‘Abbey Road,’ but tumultuous sessions and a messy post-production schedule delayed its debut for a year. In a way, ‘Let It Be’ makes a pivotal swan song, with many of the songs coming off as eulogies for a once-great group. They’re still mostly excellent here, but the cracks widened beyond repair.

9. ‘Help!’ (1965)
Ostensibly the soundtrack to their second movie, the Beatles’ fifth album is their first real declaration of independence. They’d launch a creative whirlwind a few months later on ‘Rubber Soul’ that would pretty much last until the end of their career. But that album’s seeds are planted here on songs like “Ticket to Ride,” “Yesterday” and the hit title track.

8. ‘Please Please Me’ (1963)
The Beatles recorded their debut album in one 13-hour session. And it sounds like it. The group is energized as they plow through a stage repertoire of jumpy original tunes (opener “I Saw Her Standing There”) and revitalized covers (closer “Twist and Shout”). They’d get sharper and tighter in the studio, but this is the sound of the band in all of its primal, ragged glory.

7. ‘With the Beatles’ (1963)
The Beatles’ second album was sorta reworked as ‘Meet the Beatles!’ for the group’s U.S. debut, and we prefer that version. But the original U.K. ‘With the Beatles’ stands as the official record these days. And it’s not bad, mixing sprightly originals (“All My Loving”) with well-oiled covers (“Please Mister Postman”). Beatlemania pretty much starts here.

6. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (1964)
The first album to include songs written entirely by the band (well, John Lennon and Paul McCartney), ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ is pretty much 30 minutes of pure Beatlemania. From the shimmering chord that kicks off both the album and the title track, the Beatles never let up. It’s easy to get caught up in their enthusiasm.

5. ‘Rubber Soul’ (1965)
The Beatles responded to Beatlemania, Bob Dylan and pop music in general with their milestone sixth album. It inspired tons of artists – including Brian Wilson, who crafted the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’ in reply; the Beatles, in turn, responded with ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ – to move into a new era, free of commercial expectations and LP filler. They were only just beginning.

4. ‘Abbey Road’ (1969)
The last album recorded by the Beatles (but released before the temporarily shelved ‘Let It Be’), ‘Abbey Road’ presented a briefly reinvigorated group trying one last time to pull it all together. George Harrison delivered two of his best songs (“Something,” “Here Comes the Sun”), John Lennon plugged in and rocked out (“Come Together”) and Paul McCartney checked in with a sprawling centerpiece, the eight-song, 16-minute medley that stands as one of his greatest achievements.

3. The White Album (1968)
The Beatles all but splintered into four solo artists on their messy, epic and brilliant self-titled LP (commonly known as the White Album). It took two records to contain all their ideas – some of them great, some of them maddening, all of them fascinating. It was only a matter of time before they went their separate ways; the White Album, for better or worse, leads the charge.

2. ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967)
Pop music grew up in 1967, when the Beatles forged a masterpiece of sound, texture and melody. Its kaleidoscopic approach to record-making – layer after layer of instruments and voices piled on top of each other until it all blurs into one colorful explosion – would become a marker and pattern for everything that came after it. In many ways, it still hasn’t been topped.

1. ‘Revolver’ (1966)
The Beatles turned themselves inside out on ‘Revolver,’ exercising a creative freedom following their retirement from the road. They used the studio as their playground, turning the record’s 14 songs into the sort of mind-expanding musical template that would influence artists for generations to come. ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ may be the more complete work, but ‘Revolver’ is way more fun.

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