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While all of The Beatles wrote at least one song for the group, Ringo Starr did not write much of what he sang. Instead, his bandmates wrote songs they thought would suit the drummer. Even to this day, Starr has a strong association with songs like “Yellow Submarine,” which he did not write. Starr joked that his bandmates ruined his career by writing such enduring songs for him.

Ringo Starr joked that the other Beatles ‘ruined’ his music career

Over six decades after he joined The Beatles, Starr is still touring and performing to large crowds. He plays with his All-Starr Band, but his audiences expect to hear Beatles hits when they see him. Starr said that the songs his bandmates wrote for him changed the trajectory of his career. 

“John [Lennon] wrote several songs for me over the years, and George [Harrison] too,” Starr told AARP in 2023. “I used to be a rock drummer, and then they ruined my whole career. [Laughs.] ‘With a Little Help’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ are the reasons I’m onstage every night.”

Starr acknowledged that the songwriting was an act of love, though. He saw his bandmates as brothers.

“Yeah, they know me,” he said. “Paul [McCartney] loves me as much as I love him. He’s the brother I never had. As an only child, suddenly I got three brothers. We looked out for each other. We all went mad at different times. You can’t imagine what it was like, being in the Beatles. It got bigger and crazier.”

Paul McCartney said it was a challenge to write for the drummer

McCartney wrote several songs for Starr in The Beatles and his solo career. He said that writing for the drummer was always a challenge for him

“It was pretty much co-written, John and I doing a work song for Ringo, a little craft job,” McCartney said of “With a Little Help From My Friends” in the book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles. “I always saw those as the equivalent of writing a James Bond film theme. It was a challenge, it was something out of the ordinary for us because we actually had to write in a key for Ringo and you had to be a little tongue in cheek.”

Still, McCartney enjoyed writing for Starr. He recalled laughing with Lennon as they wrote songs like “Yellow Submarine.”

What Beatles songs did Ringo Starr write?

Starr received joint writing credit on four songs for The Beatles. He received credit with Lennon and McCartney for the Rubber Soul song “What Goes On.” All four Beatles received credit for “Flying,” “Dig It,” and “Maggie Mae.”

Starr only received solo writing credit for two Beatles songs: “Octopus’s Garden” and “Don’t Pass Me By.” He wrote more songs in his solo career, but Starr still asked his former bandmates to help him write. McCartney even wrote him the song “Feeling the Sunlight” for his most recent album.