While some accused Ringo Starr of being a clumsy drummer, many more agreed with George Harrison’s assessment: “Ringo’s the best backbeat in the business.” And while many in the wake of the Beatles’ breakup predicted that Starr would be the one without a solo career, he proved them wrong. Not only has he released several LPs (the first came out before the Beatles disbanded) and hit singles, but he’s also the only Beatle to establish a film-acting career for himself outside of the band’s mid-’60s movies.
Starr returned to the studio in the late ’90s. First he reunited with the other surviving Beatles to record two tracks for the Anthology 1 in 1995; he then released Vertical Man (#61, 1998), his most successful album in 20 years. Guests ranged from familiar faces like McCartney and Harrison to newcomers Alanis Morissette and Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland, and the songs included a cover of the Beatles’ “Love Me Do.” The following year Starr recorded his first seasonal album, I Wanna Be Santa Claus. In 2001 he hit the road with a new All Starr Band that included Ian Hunter, Sheila E., Greg Lake, Howard Jones, and Roger Hodgson (Supertramp).