A Beatles Insider Said Ringo Starr’s Secret Skill Was Essential to the Band

Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick said Ringo Starr had a talent for sparking new creative ideas in his bandmates from behind his drum kit.

The Beatles didn’t play sports, but they were a team, and every member had a role. Ringo Starr kept time on his drum kit and came up big on one of the band’s most enduring songs. But drumming wasn’t his only talent. According to someone who worked with the Fab Four, Ringo brought a secret skill to The Beatles that helped them in ways no one could have known.

Ringo Starr had a hidden skill for pushing The Beatles ‘in new directions,’ according to a band insider

Ringo was never the creative center of the Fab Four. He knew it and accepted it. But the drummer still played a crucial role in making the magic.

It’s no secret that The Beatles used drugs during their heyday. It started with Bob Dylan introducing them to marijuana. The quartet later dabbled in other substances. Using drugs became part of their creative routine. The band found a secret, scary spot in Abbey Road Studios to smoke up during their recording sessions. Yet the consumption didn’t always lead to creative breakthroughs.

Geoff Emerick engineered several Beatles records, including the landmark psychedelic album Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the White Album, and Abbey Road. He said Ringo was the one who brought the drugged-up Beatles back down to earth in the studio. Ringo got sick of the sloppy noodling and used his drum kit to get things back on track, writes 150 Glimpses of The Beatles author Craig Brown:

Ringo’s skill in using his drum kit to push Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison in new directions was no faint praise from Emerick. The engineer didn’t hesitate to call the drummer uptight and superficial. So Emerick admitting Ringo was essential to sparking The Beatles’ creativity carried a lot of weight.

The drummer said The Beatles never got high on LSD before entering the studio. But smoking pot was part of the routine, and Ringo had a talent for getting his bandmates to focus on the music.

Ringo’s effect on his bandmates extended beyond The Beatles

Ringo’s talent for pushing The Beatles’ music forward when their jam sessions threatened to unravel was a skill the band needed. It’s not unreasonable to think the band’s late-era greatness wouldn’t have been as memorable without his skill for bringing the band back down to earth while working on songs. He wasn’t a great songwriter like his bandmates, but the drummer had an essential role.

Ringo affected his bandmates so much that they relied on him heavily in their solo careers.

He drummed on John’s early solo albums Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. Lennon returned the favor by contributing to several of Ringo’s solo albums.

George once said Ringo was one of the only drummers he could depend on. He relied on his ex-bandmate throughout his solo career, even though he didn’t recall that Ringo played on most of All Things Must Pass.

Ringo appeared sporadically on Paul’s post-Beatles work. Macca finally invited the drummer to play on some of his solo work in the 1980s. Yet according to longtime Wings member Denny Laine, Ringo heavily influenced Paul’s drumming style.

Ringo Starr brought a secret skill to The Beatles — helping to moor the band when they got too high while jamming. The public couldn’t have known about that talent, but band insider Geoff Emerick, who was never quick to praise the drummer, indicated the band went in new creative directions when Ringo pushed them from behind his kit. It was an essential talent for the band to have. When the Fab Four fractured, the drummer’s ex-bandmates relied on his skills time and again in their solo work.

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