The one drummer Ringo Starr called “incredible”

News The one drummer Ringo Starr called “incredible”

Since forming his All-Starr Band, Ringo Starr has shared a stage with a selection of the world’s most technically proficient drummers. While he’s also among the most talented individuals to pick up a pair of drumsticks, Starr has been continually amazed by his collaborators, including one figure he named “incredible”.

For a time with the All-Starr Band, Starr was one of three drummers in the group, which provided a percussive overload to their sound. Over the last several decades, people who have taken up the role include Zac Starkey, Jim Keltner, Simon Kirke, Sheila E, Gregg Bissonette, Todd Rundgren, and special guest Cream’s Ginger Baker.

Baker passed away in 2019 and was a rock ‘n’ roll enigma. During the late 1990s, he made various appearances in Ringo’s outfit, where they performed cuts from his catalogue with Cream, which was always a moment to devour for Starr, who had nothing but admiration for his counterpart.

Famously, Baker was foul-mouthed, and few were free from the vitriol that often rolled off his tongue. Even The Beatles found themselves at the centre of one of his outbursts, where he criticised their playing abilities during the band’s early days, which is a statement they’d be unlikely to argue against.

Speaking to Forbes, Baker said: “Even Paul McCartney needs someone to write it down for him, and he thinks that’s good. There was an article where he said that if he learned to read music, he might not be able to write as well. We used to say about the Beatles in 1963: ‘They don’t know a hatchet from a crotchet.’ A crotchet is what we call a quarter note.”

However, he took things further on another occasion, telling Classic Rock: “George Martin was The Beatles. Without him they’d have been nowhere.”

Nevertheless, despite his comments about the Fab Four, Starr had no problems letting Baker become a sporadic member of his All-Starr Band. Furthermore, the Cream drummer’s decision to accept the invitation shows that he respected Ringo, and his problems with The Beatles didn’t lie with their percussionist.

After a wild career spanning half a century, Baker died in 2019 following a battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which left him hospitalised. While he was a divisive individual in his personal life, nobody in the music industry had an ill word to say about his craftsmanship and aptitude behind a drum kit.

Unsurprisingly, due to their history, Starr was one of the most prominent voices to pay tribute. In a statement, he said: “Ginger Baker was incredible. He was very inventive. If you listen to Cream, you can see there’s something else coming through.”

Ringo’s short but considered analysis highlights the key ingredient that separated Baker from his peers: his unrelenting need to be inventive. A human touch seeped into everything he did, which stopped his work from being robotic like many other technically astute drummers and cemented Baker’s status as a musical anomaly.

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