The moment Buddy Rich heavily criticised Ringo Starr’s drumming

Buddy Rich

It has long been considered that Ringo Starr, The Beatles’ much-loved drummer, was the weakest link in the machine, a musician who was labeled as bang average at what he did, there to serve the rest of the band’s obvious genius. However, this has been proven false over the years, with his sophisticated work on cuts such as ‘Here Comes the Sun‘ – with its movement across multiple time signatures – testifying for itself.

It is arguable that his strange work as an actor in films such as Frank Zappa’s crazed 200 Motels and the 1969 farce The Magic Christian contributed to his dismissal as merely a happy-go-lucky foil to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison.

Those closest to him, his bandmates, have always defended his drumming. “Ringo’s a damn good drummer,” Lennon said in 1980 to Playboy. “He’s always been a good drummer.” Despite his lack of technical prowess, Ringo’s drumming deserves more recognition.

Paul McCartney afterward echoed this opinion while recalling Ringo’s first audition for the band, saying, “The first few minutes that Ringo is playing, I look to the left at George and the right at John, and we didn’t say a word, but I remember thinking, ‘Shit, this is amazing‘.”

It’s not just his bandmates who have always flown his banner; it’s also others he has inspired. Starr has affected everyone from Phil Collins to Dave Grohl, two of the most notable rhythmic heroes of all time, with the latter once proposing: “Define the best drummer in the world? Is it someone technically savvy? Or is it someone who sits in the song and expresses themselves? Ringo was the king of emotion.”

Buddy Rich, on the other hand, was one of his most vocal critics. The American maestro, a great jazz drummer with students like John Bonham, Bill Ward, and Travis Barker, was a notoriously volatile figure. The anecdotes about him are numerous, including Dusty Springfield’s disparaging remarks about him and his long and often violent battle with Frank Sinatra. Rich provided a severe appraisal of Ringo Starr’s drumming that would go down in history: “Ringo Starr was adequate.” That’s all there is to it.”

Rich’s remarks regarding Ringo Starr, understandably, did not go down well, particularly with those closest to him, as Paul McCartney notably implied during a long interview with GQ 2018. At one point during the conversation, the discussion drifted to an earlier interview that year with New York magazine. In that interview, Quincy Jones stunned everyone by saying, “They were the worst musicians in the world.” They were a bunch of scumbags. “Paul was the worst bassist I’d ever heard.”

The journalist then asked Paul McCartney about his old friend’s comments, to which he replied that he didn’t care. At the end of his tale, the former Beatles leader managed to poke fun at Buddy Rich for his remarks about Ringo. “So I get a phone call: ‘Is this Mr. McCartney?'” McCartney explained. ‘Yes.’ ‘Quincy wants to speak with you.’ He’s always worked through security guards. ‘Hey, Quince!’ I exclaimed. ‘How are you doing, Paul?’ ‘I’m fine—how about you, you motherfucker?’ I’m just going along with him. ‘Paul, I didn’t say that—I’m not sure what happened, guy.

I never stated anything like that. You already know how much I adore you!’ ‘If you had said that, you know what I would have said?’ I said. Quincy Jones, fuck you!’ He also laughed. ‘You know what I would say to that: Fuck you, Quincy Jones, you fucking crazy motherfucker!’ I said. So, in reality, we just laughed. And he said, ‘Oh, Paul, you know I love you so much.’ ‘You know I do, Quince.‘”

“But he’s an old man,” he continued. I’m not sure what it was. Honestly, I doubt I’m the worst he’s heard. The man might just lack experience with truly horrible bass playing. He’s talking about jazz and musicality and how he’s an arranger and all that. This is equivalent to Buddy Rich claiming Ringo couldn’t drum. Ringo can’t drum because of Buddy Rich’s sensibility. Buddy Rich, on the other hand, is a jerk in our opinion. However, God bless him.

Interestingly, McCartney told the publication that the phrase “bless him” has been a family euphemism for a long time. It came from an elderly relative who refused to name the man who had harmed him a “fucking cunt” like the rest of the family. Instead, he said “Bless him,” which the clan eventually adopted to designate someone you despise.

So this became the thing,” explained McCartney. “If we ever said, ‘bless him,’ we knew exactly what you meant. It’s fantastic—if you truly despise someone, say, ‘Bless him.’ It was an excellent euphemism for ‘What a cunt.’ So, if you hear me say, ‘Bless him…'”

  1. Buddy Rich could not play Beatles songs. No one cares what that old sour puss had to say. Quincy Jones was jealous.

  2. If you’re referring to Paul as the Beatles’ leader, it shows how little you know about the Beatles. If there was ever a leader, it would have been John, since he formed the band, but they all said that there was no leader. Please don’t refer to Paul that way again. It makes us Beatlephiles shake our heads in wonder as to what you’re doing writing any kind of article about them.

  3. All they had to do is run the fingers through their hair and ask Buddy if his wigs are real hair or nylon.

  4. I always thought Buddy Rich was too egotistical for anyone to accept his opinion of anyone else. I hated him on the Tonight Show. He would do an intro, what seemed like a 5 minute solo, then end a song. Acting like he was the greatest and only drummer in the world.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like