Skip to main content

Ringo: With A Little Help by Michael Seth Starr review

Drumming is his middle name

Cover art for Ringo: With A Little Help by Michael Seth Starr review

Author Starr (no relation) received zero co-operation from his subject. Indeed, Ringo posted, “I’m not participating with it at all.” Starr has done a fair cut-and-paste job though.

While the nitty-gritty history is a rehash, there are sections about the pugnacious lad’s Butlins days with Rory Storm to entertain, and plenty about his relationship with Harry Nilsson to remind one of the mischief these rock blokes used to enjoy. Starr’s acting career also takes centre stage. He was surprisingly driven in that area – just as well considering how awful Candy and Sextette were – but the book never fails to point his ambitions elsewhere.

If investigations into the drumming circle aren’t your cup of tea then there’s a host of A-list tales to pique interest. Turns out that Ringo was “the sociable one”, though in latter years he became a grouch.

And don’t be eating garlic anywhere near him. Broccoli is fine – he has it for breakfast. It’s the minor details that keep the writer’s narrative ticking over. Résumés of the All-Starr Band can be skipped over in favour of Ringo’s ongoing battle to stay sober, and how Thomas & Friends saved his bacon.

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.