Ringo Starr has spent decades working in the music business. His first notable band shared German stages with the Beatles, then he sat down with the band and nailed a drum part that let Paul McCartney know he was the perfect drummer for the band. Ringo and the Beatles developed their skills and sound playing live, so fabricated boy bands don’t make sense to him. Still, Ringo’s disparaging comments about boy bands totally missed the mark.
Ringo Starr Once Called Out Boy Bands: ‘I Don’t Get It’
While promoting his Ringorama solo album, Ringo chatted with Conan O’Brien about the Beatles and the state of the music. O’Brien asked Ringo his opinion on boy bands getting together on casting calls, and the drummer said that forming a band that way didn’t sit well with him.
“I come first to get your instrument, then [start] playing with friends, playing clubs, playing theaters and playing, in our case, stadiums,” Ringo told O’Brien (via YouTube). “I play for the pleasure of playing.
Ringo didn’t stop there, however.
“The ones they put together, I don’t really understand them,” Ringo said. “You put five strangers in a room, you tell them what to sing, a producer will take a line of that one and a line of that one, they’ll come on stage pretending they had something to do with it, and the minute it doesn’t work, they just get dumped.
Ringo is entitled to have a strong opinion of the boy band, but his hypocritical comments missed the mark.
Ringo forgot the Beatles were basically a boy band
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The Beatles came together organically, as Ringo told O’Brien. John Lennon had a band, Paul joined, Paul recruited George Harrison, and Ringo came on board to complete the Fab Four. But the Beatles were technically a boy band.
Boy bands have their professional lives carefully controlled by their managers. The Beatles were no different.
Brian Epstein took things a step further. He booked venues and accommodations during Beatles tour days. He was also very involved in the personal life of the Fab Four. He broke up the band over the holidays to avoid clashes, minimizing friction to keep the music flowing.
People called producer George Martin the fifth Beatle, but Epstein was just as much a part of their lives. George asked her permission to marry Patty Boyd. She once said that Epstein’s influence on the band helped the four Liverpool lads become more cultured. John, who is never one to mince words (good or bad), once said that going anywhere without Epstein was like leaving home without pants.
Ringo had some misfires with his boy band’s comments.
When music fans think of boy bands, bands such as *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and One Direction come to mind. Older generations might think of New Kids on the Block or 98 Degrees. These bands don’t compare musically to the Beatles, but they all had their images and lives controlled by their managers, just like those boy bands. It’s no surprise that when Epstein died, John saw the end of the Beatles looming.
The Beatles Did One Thing Boy Bands Don’t Usually Do
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With their matching costumes, carefully controlled image and strong-willed manager, the Beatles were technically a boy band. Still, Ringo was right that the Fab Four split from what we now think of as boy bands.
First, the Beatles did not come together in an audition process. They played with Liverpool musicians in various bands and came together naturally. And like his bandmate, Ringo had impressive musical talent.
But more importantly, the Fab Four finally wrote their own music, and it changed the world. Guitar-driven pop music would be radically different if it weren’t for albums such as Revolver, sergeant. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bandand Abbey Road. * NSYNC and One Direction achieved huge popularity, and stars such as Justin Timberlake and Harry Styles helped write some of the music, but their songs didn’t catch on.
Ringo missed the mark with his opinion of the boy band. The Beatles started out as a boy band, but became something completely different the moment they went their separate ways.
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