When it comes to legends in the world of music you can’t really get a more iconic and critically acclaimed group than the Beatles. It’s nearly impossible to downplay their contribution to pop music without being immediately subject to incredible criticism. Though while all the Beatles are legends in their own right, there is one who maybe isn’t as acclaimed as the others. Ringo! There are those that argue that this is the classic case of “drummers stay in the background” but when all is said and done, Ringo only contributed to the composing of two Beatle’s songs and only sang on eleven out of the over two hundred songs Released by the fab four. Yet Starr was still inducted as an individual artist into the Rock’N’Roll hall of fame, all be it last out of the Beatles and even the Beatles manager Brian Epstein was considered before Ringo. So why does Ringo still get hailed in the same light as Lennon, McCartney and Harrison despite not having contributed as much as them? Mean Reversion.
Mean Reversion is a concept in financial economics which states that a stock’s price would be expected to deviate in price and then after that deviation, revert back to that of the average stock price over time. In this example from the world of music, we can see a similar pattern with Ringo Starr receiving huge amounts of praise for his own contribution to music due to his association with the other Beatles as opposed to the contribution he himself made to the world of music. It’s not just with the Beatles we see this phenomenon either, in the world of Hip Hop Flavor Flav receives a large amount of praise for Public Enemy’s work and Krist Novoselic receives a large amount of praise for being associated with Nirvana’s work despite the two not having contributed a whole pile to the world of music individually.
Now to give Ringo his dues, he is one of the most respected drummers of all time and his unique style of drumming due to his use of a right-handed kit when he himself is a leftie has influenced some of the world’s greatest drummers like Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Chad Smith and Stewart Copeland. Who can be seen in the below link praising Starr.
Now before people start to think this is an article just bashing Ringo Starr I feel compelled to say that Starr is an all-time hero of mine, and I think in the world of music influence tops efficiency and he certainly influenced a lot of great drummers. It does have to be said though that when you look at his contribution to the Beatles statistically he doesn’t quite rack up the same numbers as the other Three. The graph below shows the spread of songs written by individual Beatles throughout their time in the Beatles.
As can be seen in the graph above, Ringo only wrote two of the Beatles songs which is considerably low given that the next lowest individual contribution was George Harrison who still wrote twenty-two songs, two of which were number ones (Here comes the sun and Something). Now Ringo did manage to contribute a very unique style of rhythm drumming to the world of pop music and he was credited for this when the Beatles were inducted as a group into the Rock’n’Roll hall of fame in 1988, but has he really contributed enough as an individual artist to be inducted into the Rock’N’Roll hall of fame again as a solo artist in 2015 or is it just his association with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison that is getting him this individual praise?
By Daragh O’Leary