In My Life

I heard the news today, oh boy. Ringo Starr will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the 2015 class of selected performers to achieve this honor. Congratulations to you Ringo from this fan that experienced three life-changing events in my life when I saw you and the lads’ first exit the plane at JFK airport on your first visit to the U.S., watched you perform on all the Ed Sullivan shows on TV and then seeing the Beatles perform live at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. You and the lads certainly have had an impact on my life.

Given all the contributions that Ringo has made to rock history and his continuous touring as a successful solo act with an all-star supporting cast, I wonder why it has taken the voters at the R’n’R Hall to take so long to induct Mr. Starkey. Recently, Beatles manager, the late Brian Epstein was inducted. So John, Paul, George and Brian got in before Ringo? I don’t think that inducting Brian before Ringo was correct, but given some of the previous decisions as to who gets in and who waits certainly has caused some doubt as to the rationale behind the selection process. (See Deep Purple, Procol Harum, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, who are still waiting to get in, just to name a few.)

Within the realm of rock and roll drummers, Ringo certainly has his place in history. He takes his place next to Ginger Baker of Cream who probably was the best at his craft and whose skills have yet to be duplicated by anyone else. To this day, Ginger seems to be a difficult man to deal with, but his mastery over the drums can only be described as masterful. Charlie Watts from the Stones was and continues to arguably be the steadiest drummer in the business. He meticulously works at his craft, not to mention being able to have unbelievably survived the circus atmosphere surrounding the group. Then there’s Max Weinberg from the E-Street band whose driving beat helped propel Bruce Springsteen to superstardom. Of course, you cannot overlook Neil Peart from Rush who was recently inducted.

Is Ringo just as good a drummer as Ginger, Charlie, Max and Neil? Some suggest not. And yet, while in the Beatles, Ringo had the unique ability to meld perfectly with three superstars and never overshadow them, yet at the same time be a complement to their work and in actuality, improve their finished product. The proof of John, Paul and George’s incredible respect and admiration of his work lies in the fact that Ringo has played on every solo album of his mates after the Beatles disbanded. If you’re good enough to record with John, Paul and George, you must be something very special. He was and he still is!

Sure, Ringo should have gotten inducted a long time ago. And quite frankly some of the choices for induction are puzzling, but at least Ringo is taking his rightful place both individually and collectively with the three other guys who singlehandedly changed the course of musical history. When asked about the wait for him to get in, Ringo simply smiled and said how thankful he was to be in the Hall.