The Beatles appeared on three consecutive Sundays in February 1964 to great anticipation and fanfare as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” had swiftly risen to No. 1 in the charts. Their first appearance on February 9 is considered a milestone in American pop culture and the beginning of the British Invasion in music. The broadcast drew an estimated 73 million viewers, at the time a record for US television. The Beatles followed Ed’s show opening intro, performing “All My Loving“; “Till There Was You“, which featured the names of the group members superimposed on closeup shots, including the famous “Sorry girls, he’s married” caption on John Lennon; and “She Loves You“. The act that followed Beatles in the broadcast was pre-recorded, rather than having someone perform live on stage amidst the pandemonium that occurred in the studio after the Beatles performed their first songs. The group returned later in the program to perform “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Anyone staring at what became the most iconic drum head and logo in history, also knew the Ludwig name. The two were inseparable.
And still are today. You cannot think of Ringo’s drum head, and not think of Ludwig Drums. It’s been an amazing collaboration between the two and now going on over 50 years. Pretty incredible.
If you collect Beatles and Ringo memorabilia as I do, it’s hard to ignore and not also be interested in vintage drums and related items. Promotional displays, advertising and sales material. And in Ringo’s case, Ludwig Drums and Zildjian Cymbals.
Here’s a quote from Armand Zildjian on The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and how it impacted Zildjian’s business.
Peace and Love.
Above a rare Ringo Ludwig promotional photo and ad that ran in the Summer of Stars 65 program, using the same photo. The promo photo was likely sent to music stores that sold Ludwig. They either gave them out or it hung on a wall.
I’ve seen several framed that probably came right off the wall of the music store.
In this historic photo, William F. Ludwig II (right) presents famed Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr (center), with a gold-plated Ludwig snare drum in 1962. The Ludwig logo was prominently featured on the bass drum of Ringo’s drumset throughout the Beatles’ career. Pictured with Ludwig and Starr is R. L. Schory, Ludwig’s director of marketing.
The Ludwig drum company’s main office was located in Chicago, Illinois. Ringo Starr played Ludwig drums and the name “Ludwig” was seen prominently on the Beatles drum head. To honor Ringo for the advertising and publicity, William Ludwig Jr. presented Ringo with a special gold snare drum. This snare drum was a one of a kind made especially for Ringo. It had a special plaque that said, “Ringo Starr, the Beatles” on it.
Before the Chicago concert of 1964, a presentation was made where William Ludwig Jr. said this;
“I have never known a drummer more widely acclaimed and publicized than you, Ringo Starr. Your millions of fans have honored you and the other members of The Beatles by their overwhelming acceptance of your recordings and concert appearances. On behalf of the employees and management of the Ludwig Drum Company, I would like to thank you for choosing our instruments and for the major role you are playing in the music world today.”
Ringo took his gold drum back to England after the tour and has had it in his possession every since.
In 2010, Ringo allowed the Met in New York City to borrow the gold drum for a special exhibit and many fans had the chance to see the famed drum. It appeared again at the Grammy’s special Ringo Starr exhibit at their L.A. museum last year.
Early 60’s drum sticks. These included a small photo of Ringo.
Some incredible photos of an early drum shop promotion with Ludwig. No doubt post Sullivan show. You can see a Beatle wig being worn by one of the owners or participants. The Ludwig store sign predominantly displayed.
Fast forward……Above a Ludwig branded drum head from the Ringo tour with a classic crest and the ad celebrating their relationship.
There were several toys produced during the 60’s that were either Ringo drums or were toys with Ringo and a drum.