The 1960s witnessed a musical revolution, and at the forefront were four young men from Liverpool who would become synonymous with the era’s cultural shift: The Beatles. From their early days of matching suits and catchy love songs to their groundbreaking experimentation with sound and instruments, The Beatles’ journey was one of evolution and innovation. While the lion’s share of songwriting fell to the prolific duo of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and George Harrison contributed his own gems, the steady beat of the band was provided by the faithful drummer, Ringo Starr.
Ringo’s Songwriting Journey
For Ringo Starr, songwriting wasn’t his primary focus within The Beatles. Unlike his bandmates, he only penned two songs for the band without collaborative assistance. Yet, his contributions left an indelible mark on the group’s legacy. While McCartney and Lennon drove the songwriting engine, Starr provided an essential foundation, allowing his fellow Beatles to take the reins while offering his ideas when they fit the musical tapestry.
Starr’s Debut Solo Composition
In 1968, Starr made his solo songwriting debut within The Beatles with “Don’t Pass Me By.” This track found its place on the band’s iconic self-titled double album, commonly referred to as The White Album. Recalling the process, Starr shared, “I wrote ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ when I was sitting ’round at home… It was a very exciting time for me.” The song was a testament to his budding songwriting prowess, hinting at the creative potential he held.
The Unforgettable “Octopus’s Garden”
Ringo’s final solo composition for The Beatles, “Octopus’s Garden,” sailed its way onto the band’s album “Abbey Road.” This whimsical track bore the hallmark of Ringo’s childlike wonder and imagination. Inspired by the depths of the sea, Starr envisioned living as simply as an octopus beneath the waves. He shared, “I wanted to get out of it for a while.” The song’s charming simplicity showcased Starr’s ability to convey deep emotions through a lighthearted lens.
Starr’s Collaborative Ventures
While Starr’s solo compositions remain significant, his collaborative efforts were equally vital to The Beatles’ diverse catalog. He participated in joint songwriting with the band, contributing his distinctive flair. Notably, the instrumental “Dig It” and the band’s adaptation of the traditional tune “Maggie Mae” showcased his collaborative spirit, blending seamlessly with his bandmates’ creative energies.
- ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ – The Beatles
- ‘Octopus’s Garden’ – Abbey Road
- ‘What Goes On’ – Rubber Soul ((McCartney/Lennon/Starkey)
- ‘Flying’ – Magical Mystery Tour (McCartney/Lennon/Harrison/Starkey)
- ‘Dig It’ – Let It Be (McCartney/Lennon/Harrison/Starkey)
- ‘Maggie Mae’ – Let It Be (McCartney/Lennon/Harrison/Starkey)