They are the world’s most famous percussion instrument.
The Black Oyster Pearl, Ludwig Super Classic drum set that bears the name of the most famous band in our history, The Beatles. Certainly no other drum kit is as well known.
It is believed that Ringo may still have this original Ludwig kit.
The Ludwig drums and the Beatles logo became the centerpiece of the Beatles stage set from mid 1963 through August of 1966. Amazingly, not much has been written about Ringo’s drums.
Ringo didn’t always play Ludwig drums. In fact his first drum kit was a used set that was purchased for him as a Christmas gift. Up until this time, Ringo had been playing biscuit tins and pieces of firewood.
In February 1957, Ringo started playing in a band. All of the guys in the group worked at the same factory and played for their fellow workmen in a cellar during lunch. They started playing all the freebies that they could get, such as weddings and clubs. Ringo was becoming a semi-professional. He was an Engineer at the factory by day, and at night he played drums. He would play dances with Eddie Miles and some other groups. Later he would play with Rory Storm, which is where Ringo’s career really got started. He played and practiced with a lot of the groups in Liverpool.
Ringo’s drum kit was old and it was time to step up to something a bit newer. In the summer of 1958 Ringo borrowed £46 from his grandfather, went to Frank Hessy’s Music store, and bought an Ajax single headed kit. The appeal may have been that it looked similar to a Ludwig kit that he had seen.
While playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes in Hamburg, Germany, in 1960, Ringo purchased a set of Premier drums. On the front bass drum head was the “Premier” logo and “Ringo Starr” just below it.
When Ringo was asked to join The Beatles, he still had the Premier kit. Many of the early recordings were made with this kit. Sometime between September 4, 1962, and February 17, 1963, Ringo’s name was replaced by a Beatles logo. The logo that appeared on Ringo’s Premier drum kit was based on Paul’s doodles. Terry Tex O’Hara, a Liverpool artist, designed the actual logo. It is a script type font with a “B” that has beetle-like antenna and a tiny “THE” above it. The logo was printed on a cloth banner that was stretched across the drumhead and was held in place by the drums rim. The banner also provided some muffling for the drum. This was one of many of the logo designs to come.