Drummers are the Rodney Dangerfields of the music world. They don't get no respect.

Take Ringo.


(See how easy that was?)

But, seriously, folks. I am here to say that Richard Starkey of Liverpool, England, drummer for the popular 1960s rock band the Beatles, is a genius.

I'm not kidding.

Back in the '60s, "Clapton Is God" was spray-painted on a wall of the London subway. I'll not make the same case for Ringo. Let me just say that if I did, it would be less absurd.

I'm not saying that Ringo is history's best drummer or even, for that matter, a technically great drummer, or that Ringo is more of a virtuoso on drums than Clapton is on guitar. Just the opposite.

I'm just saying that Ringo had more impact on his instrument - indeed, on music - than Clapton.

That's all I'm saying.

Q: How do you know when a drummer's at the door?
A: His knocking speeds up, and he doesn't know when to come in.

Ringo never sped up, and he always knew precisely when to come in, even if it wasn't the exact "right" time. On "Let It Be," Ringo keeps just a simple hi-hat beat through Paul's somber, gospel-inflected opening piano and vocals, adding a dash of brightness, of hope, before kicking the song into a comforting solemnity with drums that tumble into the song like a rumble of thunder from heaven.

Q: What does a cheap cup of black coffee have in common with Ginger Baker?
A: They're both awful without Cream.