Monday, October 24, 2011

The Ringo Kid

October 24, 1961

Richard Starkey (aka Ringo) is entertaining thoughts of his future.  Right now, he's is drumming for one of the most popular of the Mersey side bands, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.  (Some great reminiscences from Johhny "Guitar" Bryne of the Hurricanes here.)  Like John Lennon, Ringo is 21 years old and is wondering how long this music lark can last. 

The Ringo nickname is a result of the English craze for anything American and in those days "American" was represented in the popular imagination as "Western", as in "cowboy". (John Wayne played the Ringo Kid in the 1939 movie "Stagecoach".  Maybe Ritchie should have been more realistic about the whole idea, like Kris Kristofferson in a later version of the same story.  Yeah, that's Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, not to mention cowboy movie standby Andy Devine, on board.)

As he ponders what the future might bring, a natural attraction would be the wide open spaces of the American West.  Who can know what images ran through his head of maybe signing on to a cattle drive from Laredo to Kansas City with a couple of thousand head of Texas longhorn.  In any case, Ringo writes to the Houston, Texas Chamber of Commerce for information on immigration to the states.  Today, the chamber sends off a reply to Ringo, complete with a list of employment agencies.  For whatever reason, he decides against making the move across the Atlantic just yet.  But he's keeping his options open.

Imagine how different the history of music would have been if he had decided differently.

No comments:

Post a Comment