No, Ringo is not dead, but the truth about him has remained lifeless and buried for decades. And that truth is…
Ringo was a great drummer.
When asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world, John Lennon famously, but falsely, replied, “He isn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles.” But as history is often unkind, so is it constantly rewritten.
It’s true. Ringo was, and is, a great drummer, and his contribution is finally getting the shrift it deserves. Two years ago, he was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yoko Ono recently referred to him as the most influential Beatle—a claim that is as debatable as it is unexpected—and what’s more, countless rock stars agree and gathered to film this video, a tribute to how Ringo’s 8 years (seriously, only 8 years) as a Beatle shaped the work of virtually every drummer thereafter. The video was released in early July of 2015, a day before his 75th birthday.
If that isn’t enough, take it from the cute one himself: Sir Paul McCartney.
He remembers when he and Lennon first encountered Ringo in Hamburg, “drinking bourbon and seven.” They saw him as “a grown-up musician”:
I remember the moment, standing there and looking at John and then looking at George, and the look on our faces was like …what is this? And that was the moment, that was the beginning, really, of the Beatles.
Say what you will about Ringo, he’s having the last laugh (in an actual octopus’s garden in the shade, which he built with the change he found tucked into an old pair of Chelsea boots.)