Nearing Golden Oldies Status, Ringo Starr Lends Golden Drum to the Met

Nearing Golden Oldies Status, Ringo Starr Lends Golden Drum to the Met

Sometimes the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts exhibitions that are just a little more lowbrow than their usual fare (recall “The Model as Muse,” a show that might as well have been called “Models! Neat!”). Now, to balance out its stuffy-sounding “Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered,” it will host some pop-cultural gold: Ringo Starrs gilded drum set.

As one would imagine, the perks of being a Beatle were great. So great, it turns out, that product placement by one of the Fab Four in their heyday was repaid with literal gold. Ringo Starr — who boosted Ludwig sales when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 playing that company’s logo-emblazoned oyster black pearl drum set — was presented in Chicago, during the band’s first U.S. tour later that year, with a one-of-a-kind gold “Super-Sensitive” drum by William F. Ludwig, Jr.

 

In honor of his upcoming 70th birthday on July 7, the pleasantly dopey musician has decided to loan this snare drum — which bears a plaque that reads “Ringo Starr, The Beatles — to the Met, to remain on display until December of this year. Declared a “culturally significant object” by the State Department (a common occurrence for high-profile exhibits, although it sounds quite thrilling), the drum was described by associate curator of the Met’s musical instrument department Jayson Kerr Dobney as “the highest-end production of the most important drum manufacturer of the 20th century.”

Starr will perform on the day of his birth at Radio City Music Hall (on a drum made of humbler materials, one can only assume), and a taped broadcast of the drummer (along with Ben Harper and Joan Osborne) performing at the Met will be aired on June 9th as a part of the PBS series “Live from the Artists Den.” Perhaps the museum will take the drum set out from behind the Plexiglas to let Ringo thwack it a few times in honor of this special event.