Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey, was the drummer in the Beatles from 1962 to 1970 and thus became one of the most famous musicians of the '60s. Though the least prominent member of the quartet, he distinguished himself as an occasional singer of good-natured material and as an actor. Upon the group's split, Starr went solo with two novelty projects: the first, an album called Sentimental Journey, found him covering pre-rock standards, and the second, Beaucoups of Blues, was a country music collection. Starr then scored Top Ten hits with two non-album singles, "It Don't Come Easy" in 1971 and "Back Off Boogaloo" in 1972. He paired with producer Richard Perry one year later and, with assistance from the three other ex-Beatles, made Ringo, which featured two number one hits, "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen." "Oh My My," a Top Ten hit, was also included, and those three singles helped push the album to platinum certification. Almost as successful was the 1974 follow-up, Goodnight Vienna, which featured the hits "Only You" and "No No Song."
Starr continued to issue widely released albums through 1981, though with diminishing success. His 1983 effort, Old Wave, did not find a U.S. distributor. Starr was also suffering from the excesses of his lifestyle, but by the late '80s he had cleaned up his act and put together a new lineup, the "All-Starr Band," which toured in 1989. Featuring a rotating lineup of high-profile musicians -- Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, and Levon Helm among them -- the "All-Starr Band" went on to tour multiple times during the following two decades. Ringo Starr never forgot about his solo career, however, and in 1992 he signed to Private Music and released a new studio album, Time Takes Time. He also made something of a comeback with 1998's Vertical Man -- his first album for Mercury -- which was released after the surprising success of the Beatles' Anthology project. The world had seemingly rediscovered its love for the Beatles, and Vertical Man cracked the charts in Europe and America, making it Ringo's most commercially successful record since the 1970s. A live album culled from his performance on the VH1 Storytellers series was also released in 1998.
Starr's first seasonal effort, I Wanna Be Santa Claus, appeared in 1999. Two studio records appeared during the early 2000s: Ringorama from 2003 and Choose Love from 2005, both of them released by the Koch label. In 2006 he made a guest appearance on Jerry Lee Lewis' album Last Man Standing and toured with another edition of his All-Starr Band, this time featuring Sheila E. and Edgar Winter. The 2007 release PBS Soundstage Live featured a show recorded two years earlier in Chicago. Also released in 2007 was the definitive Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr.
Ringo toured with his tenth All-Starr ensemble in 2008, populating the lineup with past participants (Colin Hay, Billy Squier, Hamish Stuart, and Edgar Winter) and new additions (keyboardist Gary Wright and drummer Gregg Bissonette). A Surround Sound collection of tracks from Ringorama and Choose Love, 5.1: The Surround Sound Collection, appeared in 2008, as did his 14th studio album, Liverpool 8. Two years later, he returned with Y Not, whose lead single found Ringo duetting with former bandmate Paul McCartney. Ringo 2012, his 17th solo album, appeared in 2012, and featured guest spots from Charlie Haden, Van Dyke Parks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dave Stewart, Benmont Tench, Joe Walsh, Don Was, and Edgar Winter, among others. ~ William Ruhlmann & J. Scott McClintock, Rovi