It's only a month, more or less, that I have had the chance to "travel" the Internet, and I have begun by visiting all the sites and links about my favourite musicians and composers, the Beatles.
In nearly all the writings about the Beatles I have read until now, where they explain and tell about the composition and the creation of their songs, for the most part they seem to consider as marginal and not so important the place that drummer Ringo Starr had.
On the contrary, I think that - and I don't believe this is an exaggeration - the Beatles music would not be as we know and love it today, without his particular work and role. In particular, I believe that his importance is deep, not only as a musician, but maybe even more as an human being; he represents and shows the emotional, human side of Beatle history. To Ringo, who is not a genius, but a man, belong the feelings, the happiness, the sorrows, the humanity of Beatles and all their frailty and weakness. It's easy to realize this truth, from looking at all the movies, where Ringo always has a role of concentration of Bealtes emotions and emotional conditions. For example in Help!, he is the "victim" of the situation, the one who actually needs the "help", and a lot of symbolic situations in the movie reinforce this. The humanity of the Beatles (evident in A Hard Day's Night, and how about in Yellow Submarine?) is always in danger in situations where they are always running and running, directed by someone else to another part or place, much too fast and without the chance to stop and think about what they are doing in their lives. I mean - their human, true lives as men, not as musical geniuses.
This is actually how they lived in real life. Anyone can easily see this looking the Beatles' Anthology videos - where actually Ringo is the more human, the one who is not so involved in the creative musical process, but prefers to talk about human relations and friendships, about emotions and memories of four friends, as they actually were.
Writing about this reminds me of aspects of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his life. He remains the greatest genius in the world of music, and his life, because of his music and the emotional energy of communication that it has, has became a myth for everyone. We can hardly tell today what is legend and what the truth about his personality and his daily life, because everything about Mozart is coloured by deep influence of the collective subconscious. This today is occurring with the Beatles.
Everyone wants to identify something of themselves in Mozart, and the truth is, (with such complex genius as Mozart had) that everyone is right. It is true that there is something of Mozart in all of us, because his music touches the very heart of the humanity through all time; the inner "something" in common, the secret of life.
The same happens for Lennon and McCartney music; but in the Beatles' life, there is always Ringo, who reminds us that they were human beings, subject to mistakes, to feelings, to sweetness, to need to love and be loved, to humanity.
Musically speaking, it seems that the majority of the people who write and talk about the Beatles suggest negatively that Ringo simply (!) put in practice what the composers wanted in the songs. On the contrary; the art of interpretation (and interpreting means always putting in something of ourselves; let's not forget that!) is one of the more important and difficult challenges that musicians can face. It's like saying that Glenn Gould was nothing because he played Bach's music, and not his own, or even that Callas was nothing, because she sang Verdi and Bellini's music, and never composed music of her own!
To compose and to interpret are very distinct and different aspects of creative expression, and both have creative elements, even if they are different in many ways.
Ringo makes an interpretation of Lennon's and McCartney's music, and his interpretation, together with the creative skills of the composers, made the Beatles songs what they are; the songs we have learned to love. Don't forget that everything the composers will have told him to do passed through his feelings and his heart and his brain, and what we listen to is actually his personal way of arriving at what the composers wanted to achieve. It's just like when we listen to Glenn Gould playing The Goldberg Variations of Bach; he knows where Bach wanted to go, and what Bach wants to express with his music, and he give this to us as a gift, but all Bach's intentions pass via Gould's heart and intellect. He gives Bach to us in his personal way, as another pianist would do in his way.
But Ringo is Ringo in the Beatles' inner rhythm and harmony; and his interpretation is work of truly creative quality, and different from that of the composers. But without his interpretations, their songs would not have the energy of communication they actually have, and that they'll have forever. Reading Beatles' sites and links, I often feel Ringo's talent is seen as a commodity. Maybe people see themselves as "experts" talking in a superficial way about Ringo's role inside the Beatles.
It is those who really know and feel music who understand how important he is.