“He was great”: the artist Ringo Starr admitted to seeing “100 times”

News “He was great”: the artist Ringo Starr admitted to seeing “100 times”

The art of following a particular artist has become a lot easier to manage with the rise of the Internet. Compared to the people who would fork over thousands of dollars to breathe the same air as their favourite musicians right now, it’s much easier to keep up to date with them through socials and be fine not having to struggle to pay the rent to see their concert. Then again, the stage has always been where artists do the most damage, and Ringo Starr was a true disciple of Bob Dylan when he first came out.

By the time Dylan started making the rounds across America, anyone who didn’t know the name Ringo Starr was probably either over 40 or dead. The Beatles had become one of the biggest sensations in the world, and even if he wasn’t standing out front with his bandmates, Starr was getting massive fans through his charming demeanour and his everyman attitude when playing the drums.

It would take something greater to get on a Beatle’s radar, but Dylan never tried to play into the sounds of pop music. He was an artist bent on delivering his message to as many people as possible, and no matter when he played, he would put his heart and soul into every single song.

That’s not to say that there weren’t a few flaws. Anyone who has heard Dylan try his hand at singing knows he has a very distinctive, which can occasionally sound like sandpaper to the uninitiated. Once you start paying attention to his lyrics, this wasn’t just some joker with an acoustic guitar trying his hand at singing…this was a man speaking for you.

Compared to other popular singers at the time, Dylan wanted to make music that documented his time period, either taking politicians to task for their wrongdoing or making universal tales about what it means to treat people with respect and fight for the rights of everyone regardless of their background. This was rock and roll history, and Starr couldn’t get enough of it.

When talking about his favourite artists, Starr admitted to obsessively watching Dylan when he came out, telling Howard Stern, “He was great. I’ve seen Bob 100 times, and you get what you get, and you still love it… I saw Bob in the ‘60s when he first came, and he played the Albert Hall … A lot of people in sweaters stood up screaming at him, ‘Traitor! Traitor!’ because he’d gone a bit rock.”

Then again, Starr may have been too accurate in saying you get what you get with a Dylan show. Mr Zimmerman is not a man who puts on heirs whenever he gets onstage, and whenever he entertains a crowd with songs, he’s not marching to anyone else’s tune but his own.

That might be frustrating for fans who just want to hear ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ or ‘Blowin’ In the Wind’, but Dylan should be commended for sticking to his guns. He never went glam in the 1980s or tried his hand at making brooding grunge in the 1990s. He may have periods that were more celebrated than others, but Dylan knew that no artist should have to compromise their performance to suit what the trends are.

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