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Song Parodies -> "The Ballad of Richard Starkey"

Original Song Title:


Original Performer:

Lorne Greene

Parody Song Title:

"The Ballad of Richard Starkey"

Parody Written by:


The Lyrics

Here's a nostalgic not-so magical history tour through the rise and fall of the Fab Four via the Wild West, courtesy of the rich baritone of Canadian actor Lorne Greene, best-known for hit TV series 'Bonanza' and 'Battlestar Galactica'. Ironically, the original recording was a top-ten hit in 1964, at the height of Beatlemania.

Richard Starkey, aka Ringo Starr, was much maligned as an outstanding mediocrity, 'the world's luckiest drummer', whose talent was dwarfed by his illustrious bandmates. In fact he was a highly competent and empathetic drummer, and the most professionally experienced of the four as they started out on their meteoric rise. He also brought with him his established Liverpool fanbase, well-earned with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

One of my all-time favorite Lennonisms is appropriate here. A popular magazine surveyed its readership for 'the best drummer in the world'. Ringo won. Lennon was asked for his opinion on the poll result. John: 'He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles!'


Addition to the Fab Four band
He edged out Best (Pete, roundly panned)
He sat behind and bobbed his head
The rest was history, it is said
Young Starkey burned, his sticks went rife
And thus began the moptop life
of Ringo (Ringo)

Those Mersey lads were such a blast
The monster hits came thick and fast
The hearts of young and old they won
'The drummer is the cutest one'
And everybody watched in awe
No skin-pounder could match the draw
Of Ringo (Ringo)

The cynic types thought John the best
Deep George went East, Paul prettiest
But teeny-boppers? Ringo Starr
They screamed his name from near and far
He, smiling coyly, handled fame
Both East and West revered the name
of Ringo (Ringo)

As they matured, the band progressed
For backbeat drummer, quite a test
No matter what strange sounds went down
From 'Strawberry Fields' to movie clown
Our hero never missed a beat
With him the Beatles were complete
Ringo (Ringo)

Lennon-McCartney, next to none
And Harrison's 'Here Comes the Sun'
Creative force none could resist
They even made Queen's honors list
But the drummer needed more
'This straight 4/4 is such a bore'
(said) Ringo (Ringo)

'Yellow Submarine' - goldmine!
'Octopus's Garden' fine
Smiles all round for This Boy, then
'A little help from my fab friends'
Up there with 'Norwegian Wood'
And they all knew: 'That Starkey's good!'
Ringo (Ringo)

The beat went on. So did the heat
And inner tensions spelled defeat
Gurus, pot, and Epstein dead
John and Yoko still in bed.
When the air began to clear
' Yesterday' was yesteryear
for Ringo

He met Barbara, tall and tanned
His charm and fame won her fair hand
Became a movie caveman gay
We laughed but critics had field day
Tank Engine nursed him back to fame
Rescued by Thomas the train
Bingo! (Ringo)

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Original Song: 
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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.1
How Funny: 4.7
Overall Rating: 4.3

Total Votes: 9

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   2
 3   1
 4   0
 5   6

User Comments

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Tommy Turtle - September 07, 2012 - Report this comment
Good concept, and it seems you've nailed the OS link-thing - congrats on that!

Rather than citing line-by-line off-pacing, please sing aloud your own parody to your own linked video. (Unlike many, Greene has a good, clear voice and enunciates very well.) First, third, and fifth lines were off. Not a good start. So was the last (full) line, which is not a good way to end, and not a hard line to pace. Also, "Ringo" is echoed twice, not once, after each verse's ending on that word.

Didn't think it necessary to itemize others on this long song, but will on request. *Please* both count and sing your lines to TOS -- hate to see this talent not being fully used. 253.

TT used a different OS video, with full-color slide show, but the OS pacing is still the same.
AFW - September 07, 2012 - Report this comment
I'll let TT handle the technics..he's spot on, there...I never knew Ringo's name was Richard Starkey...great idea and tribute, here..this is no easy song to do..I did a couple versions, some time ago.
Peregrin - September 07, 2012 - Report this comment
What's said is said! Having said that, which I didn't, I enjoyed. Love the Tank Engine shout out at the end!
Lifeliver - September 08, 2012 - Report this comment
Thanks guys. Criticisms all true. I should have stuck closely to the nuances of the original narration. I ran into problems with the penultimate verse where the tempo slows. And I agree Tommy, the last couplet is a mess. I had to get the tank engine in there which is difficult to fit rhythmically. 'Tank engine shunted in new fame, rescued by an old steam train', something like that. Ah, hindsight. From now on I think I'll let my creations simmer for a day or two before posting. @Tommy, re. pacing probs, email coming soon. Thanks for your abiding interest (and persistence).
Lifeliver - September 08, 2012 - Report this comment
@ Tommy. Just read your version. I am not worthy etc. The comments also had me LLOL. Does it get any better?
Meriadoc - September 08, 2012 - Report this comment
I always liked Ringo 'cus he had enough taste to hang out with Bolan. Nice to see Pete Best worked in there. We fit him into a parody once too, long long ago. Anyway, nice tribute.
Tommy Turtle - September 08, 2012 - Report this comment
LL, thanks for your continuing positive attitude.
"Tank engine shunted in new fame, rescued by an old steam train' doesn't work, either.

But ON his GRAVE they CAN"T ex-PLAIN
Tahk EN-gine SHUNT-ed IN new FAME = perfect fit.

The TAR-nished STAR a-BOVE the NAME
REScued BY an OLD steam TRAIN = 7 syl vs. 8, which also throws all of the stresses off. (and TOS "star" would have been a golden opportunity to pun on "Starr", lol)
  And whatever happened to the word "Of" in the final verse (or a substitute therefor)?

Others have said that if TT takes this much interest in critiquing a writer, it's a compliment, as the mediocre or untalented or unwilling aren't worth the effort. So take the compliment. ;)

"Ah, hindsight. From now on I think I'll let my creations simmer for a day or two before posting."
    Almost always a good idea, except for that (usually short) quickie that gets nailed on the first try. But even if the first version seems to fit very well, I often come up with better or funnier or punnier subs, or more internal rhyming or syllable matching, etc., if I "sleep on it" for a day or two. A few have slowly gelled over weeks or even months, a line being added here and there whenever it strikes the pea-brain.

Someone once said, "Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." (The % changes, depending on who's quoting it or who's being quoted, but the idea is the same.) Thinking up great concepts and scratching out a draft is only the first part. Then, the real work begins. ;-D

It *does* get easier with practice, especially practicing the correct technique, so before e-mailing, I would respectfully suggest again that the time could be better spent reading the two-page method guide, "Tommy Turtle's Tips for Perfect Parody Pacing".

You'll find your own glitches easily, but more importantly, the pattern-recognition becomes automatic, and you start pacing them correctly a lot earlier in the creative process. The usual double-your-money-back guarantee: If not thoroughly satisfied, I'll refund twice what you paid me to read it. ;- D Cheers!
TT p. s. @ Lifeliver - September 08, 2012 - Report this comment
Re: "Just read your version.... The comments also had me LLOL. Does it get any better?"

Maybe. I guess that's for you to decide, should you choose to continue browsing. ;-D

But yes, that s the real joy: not just good feedback, but funny back-and-forth commentary that adds a lot to the song's humor. Don't see quite so much of that these days, though it could come back.
Peregrin - September 09, 2012 - Report this comment
LL: On a separate but yet related note, you may enjoy this M&P parody:

Thomas gets a mention at the end. As you are from my neck of the woods, you may note something familiar in our footnote, if you recall the reference from Fast Forward or The Comedy Company (I cannot recall which one...)
Lifeliver - September 09, 2012 - Report this comment
@ Peregrin - Thanks for the related link. Cute. You'll find another notch of 555s there. Sounds like Melbourne trains all right. Would you believe this: I've lived in Japan for the last 17 years and NEVER seen a late train. Occasionally one is cancelled when a salaryman throws himself on the tracks (world's highest suicide rate). Interesting that the OS is by a Thomas. I don't recall seeing the old comedy link but I know those shows and get the drift. Btw, I followed your tracks to those old Turtle gems - inspiring. A grammar theme is challenging but worth trying - this must be one of the few sites in the world where there's actually an audience for it.
Tommy Turtle - September 09, 2012 - Report this comment
Lifeliver, ONLY because you mentioned the challenge of a grammar theme and the rarity of audiences for them, will mention that this became a TT niche (Phil Alexander and Red Ant were among others to inspire and contribute to the genre), and were generally very well-received:


"Who And Whom (Usage Guide)"

Written on a dare, in the comments to the above, that same evening, and posted the next day:

"Fewer / Less (Usage Guide)"

I see you recently read and commented (and TT replied) at the one that started it all, but in case anyone else is interested (or needs the refresher),

"There, Their, They're (Usage Guide)"

How much do I owe you for the advertising space? ;)
Dave W. - September 09, 2012 - Report this comment
Ringo lingo....Very hip....Man! what a trip.....
Peregrin - September 10, 2012 - Report this comment
Let us not forget the slightly more offbeat:

"I Fought The Schwa"
Patrick - September 10, 2012 - Report this comment
Local old movie channel just ran "One Zillion BC" over the weekend. Funny. Ever hear Lorne Greene perform "Ringo" in French? Nicely articulated. Sounded like a native speaker.
Lifeliver - September 10, 2012 - Report this comment
@ Patrick You mean the Raquel Welch one? That is so funny. They got the paleontology so wrong, like the Flintstones for voyeurs, but the anatomy was spot-on, lol. I thought the anatomy in Caveman was pretty good too, between Barbara Bach and Shelley Long. It was funny too, but for different reasons. Lorne Greene in French? I'd like to check that out.

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