Between May and October of 1968, The Beatles were hard at work recording their self-titled album. Commonly known as The White Album, it was a famously experimental record for the group, owing in part to the constant presence of John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, during the recording sessions.
However, these recording sessions got so tense that in August of that year, drummer Ringo Starr decided to quit the band.
Leaving while in the process of recording ‘Back In The U.S.S.R.’, Ringo cited constant criticism by Paul McCartney as part of his decision, while also noting that he felt his role in the band was overshadowed by the other members.
“I felt I wasn’t playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider,” Ringo explained years later. “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!'”
Despite his departure, the public were kept in the dark, and it wasn’t until some time later that Starr’s absence from the group became public knowledge.
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During his time apart from the group, Ringo Starr borrowed a yacht belonging to actor and friend Peter Sellers, and travelled to Sardinia, where he ended up writing ‘Octopus’s Garden’.
Following his brief period away from The Beatles, Ringo received a telegram from his band members pleading for his return, and he made his official return to the group on September 4th, just in time to record the promotional videos for ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Revolution’