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Ringo didn't authorize this book, so I will. Michael Seth Starr has done something most Beatles biographers don't do: He's taken Ringo from behind the kit and placed him center stage.
This is an enjoyable, fast-paced account of the drummer's life and work, from his Liverpool birth to his and Paul's appearance on the 2014 TV show commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.
If you've read Beatles' bios, then you're not going to be surprised by the first half of the book. The author covers well-trod ground and he doesn't spend a lot of time on any event or album. So if you really love Sgt Pepper's and wanted to get an in-depth read on "With a Little Help from My Friends," it's not here.
The book really hits its stride at the midway point when the author takes on the story of Ringo's post-Beatles life. This story hasn't been told in detail, at least not in audio, and there's a lot more to that period than Ringo's drunken binges with Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon, Marc Bolan, John Bonham and John Lennon.
Michael Seth Starr shows a man struggling to redefine himself after the group that shaped his identity falls apart. But out of that chaos comes a slew of acting gigs, creative collaborations, albums and songs like "You're Sixteen", "Goodnight Vienna", "It Don't Come Easy" and "Photograph." Ultimately, Ringo rocks back from divorce, the deaths of Lennon and Harrison and alcoholism to mount several successful tours with his All-Starr Band and comes to terms with a public that will forever see him as a Mop Top.
I would've loved to hear more about Ringo as a musician--what he did on certain songs that made him such an admired figure in the drumming community. At the very end, the author does provide interviews with four drummers on Ringo's influence. Just would've liked more.
The narrator Peter Berkrot is a good reader but he doesn't do a Liverpool accent. But not many Americans can do that well.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Like a million other guys I was that 5th Beatle "born" February 9, 1964 as I watched mesmerized as these so called mop tops enchanted us from the Ed Sullivan theater. I've read many histories of the Beatles and have many books but listening to this account which focuses on the groups talented timekeeper, was an absolute delight. I believe the author tells us in the very beginning that Ringo did not give him his endorsement so it is unauthorized and yet I have to think if he listened to this, he would give him a thumbs up or at least his trademark two fingered peace sign. Thank you Ringo for your place in rock history. And thank you Michael Seth Starr for showing us the depth of this multifaceted human being, warts and all, who has the heart to care about all who he has influenced.
I'm a Beatles fan and there doesn't seem to be a lot around about Ringo so a natural choice for me.
Maybe it's because I'm from Liverpool that the narrator's awful impersonation of Ringo annoyed me so much but it really really did. It wasn't even as bad as the old Beatles cartoon voices which would have been more than acceptable.
I would receommend this book though for anyone interested in Ringo or The Beatles
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
love the book, an excellent insight - but can't tell if the narrator thinks Ringo is Irish or Mexican, judging by the accent.
all in all, worth the purchase!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful