The Real Reason Ringo Starr Quit The Beatles

Sometimes musicians get a little steam and start to believe that they're bigger than the group, like when the green Wiggle got a big head, burned his bandmates, and went solo. His name was Marvin Gaye, and we might be making that up.

It would be easy to assume that Ringo Starr decided to leave the Beatles due to ego. After all, while Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison were churning out little-remembered pop standards like "Imagine," "Here Comes The Sun," and "Hey Jude," Starr had perfected the art of songwriting with "Octopus's Garden" and, presumably, some other ones.

Shockingly, it wasn't ego that drove Ringo to leave the Fab Four mid-recording session on August 22nd, 1968. To hear it described by those involved, it was the opposite: he didn't feel good enough.

According to Ultimate Rock Guitar, the tension between the Beatles was already nearing its flashpoint, and Starr was concerned for a couple of reasons. He thought that he wasn't talented enough, rarely ever being singled out for solos. Combined with the enormous pressure of being part of the most successful band in the world, he saw the interpersonal strain between the others as being his own fault.

Four is the loneliest number

Starr summed up the experience in The Beatles Anthology, stating "I felt I wasn't playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider. I went to see John, who had been living in my apartment in Montagu Square with Yoko since he moved out of Kenwood. I said, 'I'm leaving the group because I'm not playing well and I feel unloved and out of it, and you three are really close.' And John said, 'I thought it was you three!' So then I went over to Paul's and knocked on his door. I said the same thing: 'I'm leaving the band. I feel you three guys are really close and I'm out of it.' And Paul said, 'I thought it was you three!'"

Ringo wound up taking a hiatus that lasted all of a couple of weeks, borrowing Peter Sellers' yacht and travelling to Sardinia, as one does. He returned to find his drum kit adorned with a floral arrangement reading "Welcome Back Ringo," and then the Beatles stayed together forever.