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Friday, 30 November, 2001, 08:38 GMT
Ringo: Starr drummer
Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr: Had four solo UK top 10 singles
Born Richard Starkey in Liverpool in 1940, Ringo Starr established himself as a drummer on the local music scene before being asked to join The Beatles in 1962.

His chance came after original drummer Pete Best was sacked - and the band's popularity began to rocket soon after Ringo joined.

A solid and, some say, underrated drummer, Ringo also sang on a number of tracks including the million-selling Yellow Submarine.

Ringo Starr in The Beatles
He released his first solo album before The Beatles split
He has been considered the least musically gifted of The Beatles' four members - but his solo career began before the group had even officially split up.

Released in early 1970, his first album was full of 30s and 40s cover versions which included Cole Porter's Night and Day and were arranged by Maurice Gibb, George Martin, Quincy Jones and Paul McCartney.

The album, Sentimental Journey, reached the top 10 in Britain - but Starr reportedly only made it to please his parents.

For his second release, he chose another style.

Rock and roll return

Beaucoups of Blues, also released in 1970, was recorded in Nashville, tackled the country genre and also consisted of cover versions.

His next long-player was closer to what Beatles fans were used to.

Simply called Ringo, it enlisted his former bandmates as songwriting partners and musicians, and included the UK top 10 singles It Don't Come Easy, Photograph and You're Sixteen.

Another four albums followed before the end of the decade, but none matched Ringo's success.

And after impressing with his deadpan wit in Beatles films A Hard Day's Night and Help!, Starr also carved a sideline in acting.

The Pope

He took roles in 1968's Candy, which also starred Marlon Brando and Richard Burton, and Peter Sellers' The Magic Christian the following year.

Other roles included starring alongside David Essex in acclaimed drama That'll Be The Day and as The Pope in Ken Russell's 1975 "erotic, exotic electrifying rock fantasy" Lisztomania.

Ringo
Ringo married Barbara Bach in 1981
Starr's scouse tones became known to a new generation when he became narrator for children's animated TV series Thomas the Tank Engine in 1984.

Apart from that, the 1980s were not happy times for Starr.

The 1983 album Old Wave did not see the light of day, and nor did an abandoned album, recorded with producer Chips Moman in 1987.

But Starr resurrected his musical career at the end of the 1980s, putting together his All-Starr band for a successful tour.

Further tours followed in 1992, 1995 and 1997, and Starr collaborated with the other remaining Beatles for 1995's Anthology album.

With an All-Starr Band live album recently released to mark his 60th birthday, Starr has not hung up his drumsticks yet.

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