Well, one particular element of each of them, anyway: the drummers. Wait, don't scoff, just listen to the music. First, "Come Together" on Abbey Road. Many people may be unaware, or have forgotten, "Come Together" was the first single from the album. It's also the first Beatles single I remember hearing (which should give you an idea of my age), but this isn't an exercise in nostalgia. No, listen to the track, and concentrate on Ringo. Hear that? He's got a jazz feel, and a pretty darn good one, at that. Now, listen to the rest of Abbey Road, and listen to the drums. Maybe it's because the songs on this album are more rhythmically oriented than the band's earlier output, or maybe it's just that there's more space for him in the way the songs were arranged and recorded, but whatever the reason, I think Ringo's playing made a large contribution to the artistic success of Abbey Road. Other, earlier Beatles recordings where Ringo is clearly a significant contributor include "I Am the Walrus" (again, listen to the jazz feel) and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except for Me and My Monkey)" (I presume Ringo is the one playing the maniacal cowbell part).
Next, haul out the Stones' Some Girls. I know, it's tough to admit today that you liked it in 1978, but just ignore the lyrics (amazing how stuff that once seemed so edgy and entertaining can turn out to have been so insipid) and listen to, well, just about any of the tracks, but how about "Respectable." Charlie is driving the band, and they're displaying more energy than they had for years before this album. Several other tracks on this album also showcase Charlie as a solid, forceful player, even though (or perhaps because?) it seems at times as if his drum set consists of only bass drum, snare drum and high hat, nary a tom tom or cymbal to be heard.
As you might know, Charlie later made some critically acclaimed jazz records, while Ringo married Barbara Bach and was the narrator for the Thomas the Tank Engine series. Achievements of a lifetime, to be sure.
1/7/2011 04:32:21 am
Ringo is my favorite Beatle because he never seemed to take himself too seriously and, of course, because he was the original Mr. Conductor. I'm actually not a Beatles fan, but I'll try to listen to those songs sometime to pay attention to his drum playing.
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A lawyer who likes to write music commentary.