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Why Ringo Played Drums - a story of encouragement!

by vaughn skow January 23, 2023 3 min read

How a life-threatening illness made Ringo Starr learn drums

Ringo Starr rocking at age 80

Back to our boy, Ringo.  He was a "sicking" child, or so his parents said, he contracted peritonitis aged six following an appendectomy and spent several days in a COMA. As a result, he had a twelve-month stay in Liverpool’s Myrtle Street children’s hospital, dramatically affecting every aspect of his life.  Yep, one full YEAR in the hospital.  That's big-time at the age when you should be in first grade, getting your school legs under you.

Ringo fell behind the other kids at this pivotal age, making him feel like seriously crappy, like he was inferior.  And ... When he finally recovered, and almost caught up academically, travesty struck once more when he caught tuberculosis.  HyCarumba!  Dude couldn't catch a break ... okay, not yet, we all know that would come later ... big time!

One seriously awesome thing to come out of this ordeal was his exposure to drums for the first time. Starr was part of the hospital band, which was created as an activity to relieve the children of boredom, and it didn’t take him long to become obsessed with the instrument.  Reflecting on this time with CBC, Starr remembered: “This woman would come in … and to keep us busy, she came in with percussive maracas, triangles, little drums and sticks, and she would point to the red dot, and you’d hit the drum, and she pointed the yellow dot, and you’d hit the triangle or the maraca.”  He continued: “That’s when I fell in love with drums, and I only wanted to be a drummer from then on. But of course, I had to work on the railways, I had to work on the boats, and I had to work in a factory for several years before it all came true.”   For the first time in his life, Starr felt like he had a purpose once he stepped behind the drum kit. After recovering from tuberculosis, he began playing with skiffle groups around Liverpool and began to make a name for himself on the circuit. While the virus nearly killed him, it also gifted Ringo with a passion that would sow the seed for the life he leads to this very day ... so many decades later.


What does this mean for you and me?  Simple:  when life knocks you down, get back up again, and again and again!  And as you do get up, for God's sake, learn to play an instrument, sure you could sit around and feel sorry for yourself and go on to live a crappy life.  Or, you just might become one of the worlds most well known guitar players, drummers, singers, and so on.

SIDEBAR:

How to play drums like Ringo Starr

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