Ringo Starr’s journey with The Beatles was a remarkable transformation that changed his life forever. Joining the iconic band brought about a level of success and influence beyond his wildest dreams. The missing piece of the puzzle for the Fab Four, Ringo’s inclusion in the group solidified their lineup and set the stage for their unparalleled achievements in the music industry.
The Hamburg Connection: A Fortuitous Encounter
Prior to formally joining The Beatles, Ringo Starr was already an established name within the Merseyside music scene. His band, Rory Storm and The Hurricanes, had the opportunity to share the stage with The Beatles during their residencies in Hamburg. These intense and physically demanding performances became the testing ground for both bands. The Beatles, having gained invaluable stage time, recognized Starr’s exceptional drumming skills during these encounters.
The Transition: From Rory Storm to The Beatles
As the relationship between The Beatles and their previous drummer, Pete Best, deteriorated, Brian Epstein extended an invitation to Ringo Starr to perform with the band at The Cavern in Liverpool. Given their prior connection and the impression he had made, it was a natural and straightforward decision to bring Starr into the fold. Soon after officially joining The Beatles, Ringo entered the studio with the band to record his first song, ‘Love Me Do’.
‘Love Me Do’: A Career-Defining Moment
For Ringo Starr, ‘Love Me Do’ holds a special place in his heart as his most “career-defining” song. The track became The Beatles’ first hit and put them on the map. Although it didn’t reach the top of the UK charts, it marked the beginning of their cultural takeover and laid the foundation for their future success. Starr reflects on the significance of the song, stating:
“Because it was the first song, my answer is ‘Love Me Do’. We were on vinyl. We made a record. Even though when I got to the studio, George Martin had a session guy for the drums, Andy White, but I played on it anyway. He played it, I played it — he’s on the album, I think, and I’m on the single, so go figure.”
Magical Moments and Unforeseen Changes
The recording of ‘Love Me Do’ held a sense of magic for The Beatles. Ringo fondly remembers the excitement of hearing their song on the radio and the thrill of being on a vinyl record. Despite the fact that session drummer Andy White played the drums for the album version while Ringo played on the single, the significance of the recording remains unchanged. Starr cherishes the organic nature of the ‘Love Me Do’ arrangement, born out of the band’s intuitive musicality and their shared passion for their craft.
The George Martin Connection
Ringo Starr recalls the moments shared with legendary producer George Martin, who initially had no knowledge of their change in drummers. Starr remembers Martin’s apology whenever they met after recording ‘Love Me Do’, but the authenticity and energy captured in that first recording remained unmatched. The song stands as a testament to The Beatles’ artistry and their ability to captivate audiences without formal musical training. ‘Love Me Do’ encapsulates the essence of their early days as buskers, making music straight from their hearts.