Ringo Starr’s first band missed their chance to split a bill with Eddie Cochran, but it might have saved the Beatles


Before The Beatles added Ringo Starr as their drummer and made their mark on the music world, they were inspired by American musicians. Artists like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Little Richard influenced the Fab Four and countless English musicians. Another influence on the development of English rock stars was Eddie Cochran. Ringo’s first band missed the opportunity to share the same bill with the legendary rocker, and that might have saved The Beatles as we know them.

Ringo Starr (front) and George Harrison (rear, from left), Paul McCartney and John Lennon | Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Ringo Starr and the Beatles were influenced by 1950s American rock

Before they took on the world, The Beatles were teenagers, founding bands and playing around Liverpool. Burgeoning songwriters found inspiration by listening to American rock ‘n’ roll music.

Buddy Holly was almost universally adored. Little Richard and Chuck Berry influenced several notable English bands formed in the 1960s. Ringo once said that his favorite song was a little known piece by Ray Charles. Paul McCartney said the Isley Brothers changed the Beatles’ lives for the better. John Lennon said there would have been no Fab Four without Elvis, and The King may have inspired one of the Beatles’ early hits.

Cochran crossed the pond to tour England in 1960. As Ringo once recalled, his first band was to split a bill with the singers of “Summertime Blue” and “C’mon Everybody,” but they didn’t. never had this chance.

How Ringo’s first band missed their chance to split a bill with Eddie Cochran

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In due time, Ringo and the Beatles could have asked any artist to split a bill with them and received an unqualified yes. But the former Richard Starkey didn’t have that kind of influence when Cochran toured England in 1960.

Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, Ringo’s first band before he instantly impressed Paul and joined the Beatles, were still hot. Playing a Bill with Eddie Cochran in 1960 was a big deal. But as Ringo told Conan O’Brien (via Youtube), they never had this chance:

“Eddie Cochran came to play [England]. It was him and Gene Vincent and somebody else touring England, and they were going to play against Liverpool. With Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, we were going to be on the same poster as Eddie Cochran. Anyway, God rest his soul, he died before he got to Liverpool. We didn’t think, ‘Oh my God.’ We thought: “He could have waited until he played against Liverpool.”

Ringo Starr explains how his first band missed playing with Eddie Cochran

According to the drummer, Cochran’s untimely death in a car accident robbed Ringo of his chance to perform with the rock ‘n’ roll legend. It could have been a blessing for the Beatles and saved the band as we know it.

The Beatles Could Have Been Very Different Had Ringo Played Alongside Cochran

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Cochran’s death could very well have allowed the Beatles as we know them to be formed (at least in this version of revisionist history).

Rory Storm & the Hurricanes were not an anonymous band in Liverpool in 1960. However, sharing a stage with Cochran could have skyrocketed their stock. Perhaps they start touring outside of Liverpool and headlining across England due to the notoriety gained from their gig in Cochran. Suddenly, Ringo is the timekeeper of a group that is rapidly gaining popularity in England.

In this version of the story, Ringo is already part of a successful band and earns more money than he ever had growing up in working class Liverpool. If John, Paul and George Harrison had asked him to join the Beatles in 1962, could they have matched his salary by playing with a suddenly successful Rory Storm? Would he say yes and take a pay cut? Would the Beatles have become the group that redefined pop music without Ringo’s impressive drumming skills?

Luckily for music fans, we don’t have to live in that reality. Ringo Starr’s first band missed their chance to play alongside Eddie Cochran in 1960, he joined the Beatles in 1962, and the rest is history.

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