Alright, I'm a drummer. I've been playing this instrument for multiple decades now, and although I'm not afforded the opportunity to spend hours in a practice room as I was in my younger days, I know what means to be a student of this instrument. I've seen live and studied the likes of Buddy, Dave, Steve, Vinnie, Dennis, Neil, and many other game-changers in this field, and I understand what good drummers do. And I get aggravated when I hear people try to downplay Ringo's playing or his contribution to the world of drumming.
Some are other drummers; some are players of other instruments, but for too many people it seems that Ringo is their easy target. While its true that once the band stopped touring in '66, his sudden lack of time behind the kit began to show on the recordings, that was factually an unanticipated result of their gargantuan success. It was that infernal screaming--They simply couldn't play concerts anymore because nobody could hear them and they couldn't hear each other. They had played so well they had worked themselves right out of a steady gig.
Keep in mind, Ringo was not somebody's little brother that was allowed to stay on out of some sort of obligation. In the early days, The Beatles knew of him and went to watch him play every night with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes in Hamburg, Germany. Ringo was the best player in the Liverpool circle, and the fact is that they recruited him. And he had power, solid time, and chops--some of which, I still aspire to achieve in my own playing, and I dare say others would agree.
Now I have a certain amount of compassion on those uninformed detractors, merely because a great deal of my appreciation for what he did came AFTER I had to learn how to play his parts. Most drummers start with a basic pattern from which they stretch out and find ways to express and impress. But after 1966, Ringo didn't start from such a home base. His parts were consistently unusual, and frankly, awkward in that they didn't start from familiar territory and branch outward; they started on foreign soil. The creativity displayed in his playing would throw even the most seasoned players for a loop just trying to figure out how he came up with some of those parts.
Ultimately, the fact that we're still discussing him a full 40 years since the last number one record he played on should be evidence of something great. None of his detractors (nor I) will share a similar legacy. Ringo was, without doubt, a game-changer.
Rant over -- Rock on.