Happy Birthday Ringo Starr

Happy Birthday to Ringo Starr MBE (born Richard Starkey; 7 July 1940). He is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. On most of the band's albums, he sang lead vocals for one song, including "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Yellow Submarine" and their cover of "Act Naturally". He also wrote the Beatles' songs "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden", and is credited as a co-writer of others, such as "What Goes On" and "Flying".

In 1957, he cofounded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, and they earned several prestigious local bookings before the fad succumbed to American rock and roll by early 1958.

When the Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. After achieving moderate success with them in the UK and Hamburg, he quit the Hurricanes and joined the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best. Starr played key roles in the Beatles' films and appeared in numerous others. After their break-up in 1970, he released several successful singles including the US number four hit "It Don't Come Easy", and number ones "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen". In 1972, he released his most successful UK single, "Back Off Boogaloo", which peaked at number two. He achieved commercial and critical success with his 1973 album Ringo, which was a top ten release in both the UK and the US. Although he continued to record and remained a familiar celebrity presence, by 1975 his solo career had diminished in importance. He has been featured in a number of documentaries, hosted television shows, narrated the first two seasons of the children's television series Thomas & Friends and portrayed "Mr Conductor" during the first season of the PBS children's television series Shining Time Station. Since 1989, he has successfully toured with twelve variations of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.

Starr's creative contribution to music has received praise from drummers such as Phil Collins and Steve Smith, who commented: "Before Ringo, drum stars were measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity. Ringo's popularity brought forth a new paradigm ... we started to see the drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect ... His parts are so signature to the songs that you can listen to a Ringo drum part without the rest of the music and still identify the song." In 2011, Rolling Stone readers named Starr the fifth-greatest drummer of all time.

Artwork by Ringo Starr

Watch Ringo Starr - "Back Off Boogaloo"