Patrick Berkery in Salon:
Somewhere in the world right now, there’s a drummer in a recording studio or rehearsal room being instructed to “play it like Ringo,” which is to say they’re being tasked with adding to a song the kind of tumbling fills that have a melody of their own (like the tom-tom break in “With a Little Help From My Friends”), give a tune a swinging feel that also rocks (think: “I Saw Her Standing There”), attack a number with psychedelic abandon (“Tomorrow Never Knows”), or perhaps apply all three of those elements to one song (“Rain”).
That parts Ringo Starr played roughly 50 years ago with the Beatles are still being used regularly as rhythmic points of reference and that “play it like Ringo” is a commonly used entry in the musical lexicon speaks to his considerable influence and lasting impact on the art of rock drumming. He was more than just the happy-go-lucky guy that kept steady time for the most important musical group ever, a combo that changed the course of culture in the space of about seven years. Ringo is the most important and influential rock drummer ever.
And now, because of his game-changing contributions to rock drumming, Ringo is getting a plaque of his own in Cleveland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will honor the Beatles drummer with the Award for Musical Excellence on April 18 during induction ceremonies for the class of 2015.
Mock the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame all you want — from opting to induct Bruce Springsteen without the E Street Band because only Bruce’s name appeared on the album covers, to allowing Sammy Hagar to accept the award for Van Halen when original frontman David Lee Roth and the Van Halen brothers didn’t show at the band’s induction, to the institution’s murky induction criteria, we could sit here all week finding fault with the Hall — but they’re getting this one right by enshrining Ringo the drummer, not Ringo the solo artist.