15 minutes … and then some

So Ringo Starr was on the radio a few days ago complaining that interviewers ask too many questions about the Beatles and don’t focus enough on his post-Beatle career. “I’ve recorded 17 solo albums since the Beatles broke up … so let’s talk about that.”

I think my exact response in the car was, “Oh for the lovuh … [expletive].” Of course - of course - it must get old talking about something for the rest of your life that you did for in your twenties as if it was the defining moment in your professional existence. I get that. Really. In some ways most of us can only attempt to try to imagine what it must be like. Except that … for a professional musician, being a member of the effing Beatles is pretty much … well, The Defining Moment In Your Professional Existence.

But then as I continued to listen to the interview, it was hard to not like the guy and have a little sympathy for his complaint, or at least, hard not to appreciate his sense of humor about the whole thing.

“I was asked many times to write my autobiography, but basically, people only want the eight years I was in The Beatles. They’re not really interested in my before life or after life,” Starr says. “There would be 10 volumes before I got to The Beatles.”

I don’t really think many people, probably including Ringo Starr, think that anyone, anywhere would be saying anything at this point in the history of Anglo-American pop music about Ringo Starr if it weren’t for his stint with the Beatles. Not asking about the Beatles in a Starr interview would be like Peg McKamey not turning on the audience at some point and drawling out at them about how “lahf is eeeezie … when yer up on the mowntin.” And yet … I guess it’s a sign of old age, maybe, or going soft or something, but I can’t really begrudge Starr getting his 15 minutes and then some. I just hope the McKameys don’t stop singing “Gawd on the Mountain.”

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  1. irishlad wrote:

    Be even funnier to hear Peggy do it w/a Liverpudlian accent.
    Ringo could always talk about his voice- over for “Thomas the Tank Engine” children series(probably his biggest claim to fame since the Beatles)..or the fact that Rolling Stone voted him the 5th best drummer of all time.Surely there’d be enough there to fill the last 10 chapters. :)

  2. Wade wrote:

    Amen Bother Dr. DH… I do not like the McKameys that much but if I went to see them and they did not sing, “GAWD on The Mtn” … I’d be PISSED…. especially if I’d PAID!!

  3. QwertyJuan wrote:

    I heard an interview with William Shatner a few months back. He said the same thing about Captain Kirk. He said he was sooo sick and tired of hearing about Captain Kirk back in the late ’90s that he had refused to talk about it. He said that is ALL people wanted to talk about.

    Then he said something changed when he went and interviewed Patrick Stewart for a book he was wanting to write about the captains of Star Trek. He said all Stewart could say was that his ambition in life was to be the Captain! It wasn’t something that happened, it was his life’s goal.

    He then realized the fact that his role as Captain Kirk was to be embraced as an achievement, and not the launching of his career as he had always thought.

  4. Videoguy wrote:

    It must be horrible to have been afflicted with success. Sorry, not one iota of pity here. Dance with the one that brung ‘ya.

  5. Ed Butler wrote:

    Quick…name one song on the 17 albums Ringo has cut since the Beatles! His career, perhaps unfornately for him; was defined by the Beatle years…

    Likewise, other than a relatively brief flash of life with Perfect Heart, Danny Funderburk will always be remembered for the Cathedrals. But many, including Scott Fowler, Roger Bennett, Ernie Haase, Gerald Wolfe & Mark Trammell (and perhaps a couple more) have or had wonderful careers defined by much more than the Cathedral years…

    Great topic…



  6. NG wrote:

    Ringo did quite well on the charts as a solo artist. On the US Billboard chart he had seven top ten songs between 1971 and 1975. Two of them made it to #1 — Phonograph and You’re Sixteen. Some of his albums from that period were also commercially successfuly.

  7. Hector Luna wrote:

    I remember Rick Stanley, a prominent evangelist in the 90s (and still travels) and Elvis Presley’s step brother comment about how nobody cared about him other than the fact that he was Elvis’ “little brother”. He went on about how he was tired of living in the shadow of Elvis, and wished people would hear his message because it was inspiring or gospel-centered or whatever.

    My pastor at the time looked at him like he was crazy. That was his platform. He would just be an “ordinary” evangelist or pastor if not for Elvis. Maybe God sovereignly placed him there for that purpose.

    Of course that’s from a ministry mindset, yet the principle still applies. It’s kind of a grey area. I halfway lament with Ringo, Stanley, and others. But then you consider Paul about being in prison, and he was still preaching.

    Ringo’s not gonna be preaching, spitting, and hacking. But regardless, he will defined for being a Beatle. That revolution makes him relevant, even today. I know 12 year olds who have heard of Ringo Starr. I don’t know many 12 year olds who have heard of Brad Delp, or Steve Perry, Bruce Hornsby, and Robert Plant, and so on, as great as they were (and are).

  8. RF wrote:

    Just for the record, Ringo had several hits with Richard Perry producing with Harry Nilsson. But the point is well taken. Ringo has a hard time remembering that it was his former group made that possible. And we won’t get into the talent thing, which Roger, Scott and others didn’t have a problem with. Remember “Son of Dracula?”. I didn’t think so.

  9. observor wrote:

    “ya got to pay the dues if ya want to sing the blues and you know it just aint easy…”

  10. Ode wrote:

    Goy boy has a weak grip on reality- what gave him an idea he can shamelessly take people’s time to share the mundane, boring details of his bio and 17 mediocrely popular albums? Bellygazing market has been cornered by Facebook, it traffics in enough exhibitionism. Everyday drivel from relatives is a pretty effective repellent…..

    But he got two things going for him: ex-Beatle, still alive. If he hires a ghostwriter,provides him with few cute anecdotes ,life wisdoms and gossip inducing vagueness … voilà, Ringo, you got what you admittedly crave, a chance to talk about your beloved self in a book and at promo tour’s TV shots. Any celebrity can get it’s life story squeezed into a sellable bio nowadays. If a pass-out partier, conservative Christian unwed teen mother B.Palin got her memoirs realeased at the ripe old age of 21, Ringo practically owes himself a nice ego tickling experience.

    Avery, why don’t you also write something non-academic? In a “feel good”, nostalgic, religious pop culture fashion that’s so dear to most SGM fans’ hearts. The best ‘d be a musical, methinks. “~Raindrops on buses and whiskers on tenors ~ SS and Ernie with ladylike manners~Bass singers swinging and ….ok, the rest is hidden, so nobody whines I bring down AFL’s morale :) ~ These are a few of my favorite things..

  11. nb'er wrote:

    #4 You’re 16 and Photograph are the only two I know.

  12. nb'er wrote:

    Er, that should’ve been #5

  13. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    Well, let’s be honest. How many folks can say that they’ve had the success that Ringo has enjoyed? I understand that he wants to be appreciated for something other than his “Beatles” affiliation, but then again, some folks never get being a greeter at Wal-Mart. (and there’s nothing wrong with being a greeter…..just a point being made)

    It has been proven time and time again. Most celebrities (music, movies and TV) with the exception of a very few, have a short run at mind-blowing success. Unless it’s Clint Eastwood, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin or Dolly Parton, many of them have their heyday and then they had better invest their money wisely.

    And then again, some like Madonna need to sit down already……like twenty years ago. Instead, we’re afflicted with her Egyptian-Babylonian circus act at the Super Bowl.

  14. irishlad wrote:

    I suppose with Bios you have to be interested/intrigued with the person before you’d buy the book or borrow from the library even. Personally Keith Richards ticks the boxes for me more than Ringo…a much more “interesting” character, the massive spliff hangin’ out of his mouth on the front cover was enough for me.

  15. William Boen wrote:

    Just what does Ringo Starr have to do with southern gospel.

  16. irishlad wrote:

    15…he co-wrote Champion of Love with Phil Cross. Happy now?

  17. irishlad wrote:

    An interesting aside to the topic: Macca has been honoured with a star on the H.W.F. whereupon he paid tribute to the other “three boys” in The Beatles.(nice of him).Along with son James and new wife Nancy he said Ringo would’ve joined them only he was “a little under the weather”(toasting Sir Paul,or drowning his sorrows?).
    Sir Paul continued,”I couldn’t have done it without three boys so i want to thank those guys: John,George and Ringo.

  18. Ode wrote:


    Well, little willie… the same that your post has to do with good manners, godliness, understanding, respect, and proper English punctuation - absolutely nothing.

  19. Wade wrote:

    LoL;-)) @ Ode # 18

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