Drummers are some of the most mythologized and mysterious of all musicians. They sit behind their big kits, a little unseen by the audience, lending a song its spine and strength but rarely seeking the centerstage, physically or metaphorically.
The mything-up of drummers is well-deserved in a few cases, for sure, with prominent, beloved, and forever-and-ever famous example: Ringo Starr. And the Beatle is about to get his big due, an unprecedented, large-scale exhibit devoted to his life, career, and his dedication to promoting messages of peace and love.
Bob Santelli, the executive director of the Grammy Museum, called Mr. Starr "the most important drummer in history" a day ahead of the exhibit's opening. And it's true. Figure that while many fans will admire a musician's general oeuvre, millions can cite specific drum beats within a Beatles's song -- say "Oh! Darling" or "She Said She Said" as important to them. (Us? We're fond of the double "dun dun" that opens "Glass Onion.")
Ringo's inimitable style gets its due in the exhibit, which features a number of Starkey family photos and letters, a few kits (including the drum kit used on "The White Album," "Abbey Road," and "Let It Be" -- whoa), the red jacket he donned for The Beatles's famous rooftop concert, and his Sgt. Pepper outfit.
That's pretty much top-tier in music memorabilia terms, yes? What's above Ringo Starr's Sgt. Pepper outfit? Not to pit music treasure-against-treasure, but still. We feel pretty right on this one, we're certain.
Beatles fans from Southern California are likely to see Fab Fourists journey from points all over to check this one out. It's big, it's Beatle-y, and it has Ringo Starr's quintessential zing and a dab of zany throughout.
Not to mention his snare-tight craftsmanship, a sound that went onto influence basically every sound that came after. When a simple "dun dun" at the start of a tune can be so striking, the man, and the legend he created, should be honored.
Ringo Starr, we're raising our drumsticks in tribute.
"Ringo: Peace & Love" is at the Grammy Museum from Wednesday, June 12 through March 2014.