Ringo Starr Said People Read ‘Madness’ Into The Beatles’ Songs
Ringo Starr was aware that fans read a lot into The Beatles’ songs. In response, he described his band as just a bunch of buskers. John Lennon made similar comments about The Beatles’ music. He analyzed the Fab Four’s appeal — while also claiming music had medicinal properties!
Ringo Starr said The Beatles didn’t get what music critics were talking about
During a 1981 interview with Rolling Stone, Ringo recalled the way people interpreted The Beatles’ songs. “Anyway, we used to get freaked out by what everyone thought our songs were about, because they’d make up all this madness,” he recalled. “The Sunday Times in London brought all this analyzing into the establishment when someone wrote an article about the ‘decading solances’ [Aeolian cadences] in our music and things like that.” An Aeolian cadence is when a tune composed in a major key resolves on the VI chord.
“We didn’t know what the s*** they were talking about,” Ringo continued. “We just play guitar and drums. We’re buskers.”
Ringo Starr downplayed his musical talents
Ringo had a very humble attitude towards The Beatles’ music. “We don’t read music,” he said. “We just make it up, and if it feels good and sounds good, then fine. And if you learn a new chord, you put it in.
The “It Don’t Come Easy” singer said he didn’t even know many chords. “I only played three chords, so I’d give a song to George, and he’d put in four more,” he remembered. “Which is all right. He’s my friend, and we help each other.” It’s interesting that the most famous drummer ever is so keen to dismiss his own abilities!
John Lennon felt that The Beatles’ appeal had nothing to do with intellect
The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono includes an interview for 1980. In it, John discussed Aeolian cadences. He recalled a writer from The London Times noticing Aeolian cadences in the Fab Four’s song “It Won’t Be Long.” In John’s eyes, that review was the moment middle-class audiences started seeing The Beatles as intellectuals.
The “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” singer said he didn’t even know what an Aeolian cadence was. In his opinion, Aeolian cadences sounded like exotic birds. He downplayed the band’s intelligence, saying the appeal of The Beatles was music and not intellectualism.
John dismissed intellectualism in music. He said pop music was just another language, a language understood by the public. John said academics failed to reach the broader public because they don’t speak the language.
In his opinion, pop music isn’t supposed to be cerebral. Instead, it’s supposed to connect to people on an emotional level. John also said music is powerful because it can heal illnesses and dispel negative forces. He didn’t elaborate on that.
Some listeners tune into The Beatles to hear layered lyrics and Aeolian cadence. Others just like a good beat. Regardless, both types of fans are in awe of the Fab Four’s immense talents.