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Paul McCartney has long praised Ringo Starr’s skill as a drummer, but he didn’t think Starr always felt confident in himself. Starr was often the butt of jokes in the press; a rumor that John Lennon said Starr wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles circulated. McCartney eventually spoke about why he thought Starr was paranoid about his abilities. 

Paul McCartney said Ringo Starr didn’t seem to trust in his abilities

For years, members of The Beatles and countless other drummers have spoken about Starr’s skill. McCartney thought Starr doubted his abilities because he didn’t do drum solos, though. 

“I think Ringo was always paranoid that he wasn’t a great drummer because he never used to solo,” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology. “He hated those guys who went on and on, incessantly banging while the band goes off and has a cup of tea or something. Until Abbey Road, there was never a drum solo in The Beatles’ act, and consequently other drummers would say that although they liked his style, Ringo wasn’t technically a very good drummer.”

McCartney admitted that the other Beatles should have done more to shut down these types of conversations. Starr did not like doing solos, but McCartney didn’t think this made him a lesser drummer.

“I think his feel and soul and the way he was rock solid with his tempo was a great attribute,” McCartney said. “I always say if you can leave a drummer and turn your back on him, then you’re very lucky. You could how it went and leave him — there was always this great steady tempo coming from behind you. Rock’n’roll is all about feel, really, and sound. So at that time we had to reassure him that we did think he was great.”

The drummer left The Beatles out of frustration 

Though McCartney said they worked to reassure Starr, he didn’t always feel appreciated by his bandmates. While recording the White Album, Starr even left the band

“I left because I felt two things: I felt I wasn’t playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider,” Starr said, adding, “I went to see John, who had been living in my apartment in Montagu Square with Yoko since he moved out of Kenwood. I said, ‘I’m leaving the group because I’m not playing well and I feel unloved and out of it, and you three are really close.’ And John said, ‘I thought it was you three!'”

Frustrated, Starr took his family on vacation to Sardinia and tried to decompress.

Paul McCartney shared how the rest of The Beatles showed their appreciation of Ringo Starr

While the other Beatles continued working on the album without Starr, they wanted him to return. They sent him a telegram expressing their appreciation of him.

“I got a telegram saying, ‘You’re the best rock’n’roll drummer in the world. Come on home, we love you,'” Starr said. “And so I came back. We all needed that little shake-up.”


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McCartney said that while they had always appreciated Starr, they didn’t do enough to show it. When he returned, they tried to make up for this.

“You go through life and you never stop and say: ‘Hey, you know what? I think you’re great.’ You don’t always tell your favorite drummer that he’s your favorite. Ringo felt insecure and he left, so we told him, ‘Look, man, you are the best drummer in the world for us.’ (I still think that.) He said ‘thank you,’ and I think he was pleased to hear it. We ordered millions of flowers and there was a big celebration to welcome him back to the studio.”

Starr said this significantly improved his mood.