“There’s interesting information here that will get you listening to the Beatles’ music in new ways.”
The legendary Beatlefan magazine has reviewed Ringo Starr And The Beatles Beat –
“From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Buckingham Palace, Ringo Starr is – finally – getting his due.
And this book, first published electronically and now in hardcover, is one of the best tributes of all.
Ringo’s abilities as a drummer have been debated for years. He was stereotyped for years as “just lucky,” a mediocre musician who landed the best gig on earth. Much of this is due to his lack of flashiness as a player – people are impressed by drum solos, even when they’re as musical as a car wreck – and his own self-deprecating personality.
But most people who know anything about playing drums will say, without hesitation, that Ringo was great. And here two drummers detail many of the reasons why.
Cain and McCusker, both Liverpudlians, cover just about every percussion-related topic in Beatles history, including Ringo’s predecessors in the band. There are descriptions and photos of Ringo’s various drum kits and McCusker’s entertaining firsthand recollections of seeing the Beatles in action in the Cavern, including an anecdote about the time Ringo almost ran him over outside the club in his Ford Zephyr.
But the real meat of the book is the song-by-song examination of the Beatles’ catalog and the percussion parts featured on each. Even the songs on which Ringo doesn’t play drums (the most famous case being “Back in the U.S.S.R., featuring Paul pounding the skins) and the songs with no drums at all, such as “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby,” are analyzed for their rhythmic properties.
There’s interesting information here that will get you listening to the Beatles’ music in new ways. I was struck by how, even early on, the band was experimenting with different percussive techniques and instruments. “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” for example, features not just drums, but echo-drenched overdubs of Ringo pounding two drumsticks together, creating an unusual and ear-catching effect. And on “Don’t Bother Me,” Ringo plays an African djembe drum joined by John on tambourine and Paul on woodblock.
Musical notation of Ringo’s drum parts is featured throughout, along with the time signature(s) of each tune. We see how, recording in the days before drum machines, the Beatles’ shortened and stretched the meter of their tunes to accommodate their lyrics, or just make the songs more interesting. The opening bars of “Drive My Car,” for example, are in 9/8, while “Good Day Sunshine” shifts between 4/4, 3/4 and 5/5. Ringo made it all make sense.
And, finally, we also get this perfect description of Ringo’s musicianship, taste and contributions to the Beatles’ songs: “It wasn’t simply what Ringo played, it’s how and when he played. Ringo possesses a sensitivity and empathy that enhances each song without dominating.” Exactly.”
The German Beatles Museum (Halle)
Visiting the Beatles Museum in Halle, Germany? Here’s their review of Ringo Starr And The Beatles Beat –
“An excellent book – even for fans who do not play drums. It is explained very clearly which facts and how they are presented. At the beginning it’s about the music scene of the 1950s and 1960s in and around Liverpool, as well as interesting things about the Cavern Club and the then music scene in Hamburg. The show (with interesting details) of the professional playing drummers for the Quarrymen or Beatles seems complete: Colin Hanton, Michael McCartney, Tommy Moore, Norman Chapman, Johnny “Hutch” Hutchinson, Pete Best and Ringo Starr. Also mentioned are three people who were temporarily sitting on the drums: Andy White, Jimmy Nicol … and Paul McCartney.
For each song there is the following information: when recorded / in which bar played / which rhythm instruments were used / editorial short text. For each album is listed again additionally, which rhythm instruments were used.
And the many photos and pictures! For that reason alone, because Ringo Starr is the subject of the book, he is also the center of almost all photos.
Even if your English is not perfect, you’ll be amazed how much information you have in this book.”
“True Ringo fans rejoice! Sound engineer Alex Cain and scene-contemporary Terry McCusker have put together the absolutely definitive book about Ringo’s drumming with the Fab Four”……..
“A beautiful hardback coffee-table book, well presented over 400-plus pages, with some great photos.” “The stories behind the beats are fascinating and insightful…it’s absolutely vital stuff” ……..
“This fabulous book illustrates in detail Ringo’s approach to dynamics and serving the songs so brilliantly imagined by Lennon and McCartney.”
Rhythm Magazine, July 2017 edition.
Something About The Beatles Podcast
“A phenomenal reference/entertainment book – everything you want to know about Ringo as a drummer in the Beatles.”
“A beautifully presented book, a nice, convenient size, very well laid out, great photos throughout. A book that get’s into Ringo’s musicality and what he contributed to each of the tracks, an easy and accessible read.”
Robert Rodriguez and Richard Buskin (Something About The Beatles Podcast)
The British Beatles Fan Club Review
“At last a book about Ringo and drumming. The authors have both enjoyed careers as drummers, and with a foreword by Don Powell, (the drummer with glam rock band Slade), we have the ideal book for drummers and Ringo fans. Terry McCusker witnessed The Beatles live at the Cavern in the early 1960’s, and along with Alex Cain have put together an appreciation of Ringo and his drumming.
When I first read the book, my initial reaction was that it was targeted for drummers, but as I went further into it, I found myself reading a real appreciation of Ringo. The book begins with a section of how to use drum notation, and what the different parts of a drum kit are, followed by a short piece on Terry’s recollections of Merseybeat and The Cavern.
The book then looks at some of the many drummers The Beatles had before Ringo came along, including Colin Hanton, Mike McCartney, Garston Bottle Works very own Tommy Moore, and, of course, Pete Best.
A mini Ringo biography follows, before we look at the two drummers who played with The Beatles after Ringo had joined- Andy White, Jimmy Nicol and Paul McCartney. Ringo’s styles and kits are then analysed. I found the drum kits especially interesting. The book then looks at recording and the producers and engineers of The Beatles’ records, before we get to the nitty gritty of the book.
Of the 400 pages, 262 look at The Beatles songs, with brief information of each song, and part of the drum notation, so if you own a drum kit, you can play along. When I got to this part, I was tempted to get a drum kit and try it out, but my room is too small!
All in all, a book all drummers should own, and one many Beatle fans, particularly those that love Ringo and have an interest in playing, will thoroughly enjoy.”
I won’t pretend to be able to understand the drumming notation given for the songs, but the details of Ringo’s life, his kit, his technique and how he fitted in to the group are also well worth buying it for.
It’s a beautifully made book, heavy, striking and attractive to look at, and with excellent reproduction of the text and photographs.
All in all, for a different, and I believe quite rare perspective on the greatest single collection of 20th century songs, this is a wonderful book, and I recommend it to you unreservedly.”
This is a weighty tome (2Kg) of exceptional quality.
By Carjack on 18 Jan. 2017 Verified Purchase
“This is a fabulous book, with a unique angle and fresh look at the Beatles music, examining Ringo’s work with the Beatles, and much, much more.
By Flam Control on 18 Jan. 2017 Verified Purchase
Modern Drummer Review of the ebook of Ringo Starr And The Beatles Beat.
“Clearly a labor of love….”
“…. a smartly compiled Ringo one-stop with an emphasis on the drummer’s influential artistry.”
“There’s plenty of informative and entertain Ringophile reading for drummers and non-drummers alike.”
Jeff Potter, Modern Drummer, March 2016.
The following reviews have been posted on various Kindle and iBooks stores worldwide.
Excellent read. A different perspective ★★★★★ by ncl_knight – Sep 5, 2015
I loved this read. Being a drummer might influence this, and being a Beatle nut probably makes this worse, but this is an excellent book that isn’t full of all the same stories rehashed. Rings is a great drummer. Totally underrated, but loved by people who understand his drumming philosophy.
★★★★★ Amazing book! By M. Emerson on September 6, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I stumbled upon this while looking for some Beatles drum sheet music. It’s an amazing review of Ringo’s work with the Beatles. A must purchase for any drummer interested in Beatles drumming and use of percussion.
Ringo Starr and the Beatles Beat ★★★★★by Karlosco – Sep 7, 2015
An absolutely brilliant book, even for non-drummers. A really good insight into the history of the Beatles thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone , bravo!!!