Richard Starkey is better known as Ringo Starr, the drummer of the Beatles. Born in Liverpool in 1940, Ringo suffered two serious illnesses at age six. First, his appendix ruptured, leaving him in a coma for ten weeks. After six months in recovery, he fell out of the hospital bed, necessitating an additional six-month hospital stay. After spending a total of three years in a hospital, he was considerably behind in school. He dropped out after his last visit to the hospital at age 15, barely able to read or write. While working at an engineering firm, 17-year-old Starkey joined a band and taught himself to play the drums. His stepfather bought him his first real drum set, and Ringo sat in with a variety of bands, eventually joining Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He changed his name to Ringo Starr, joined the Beatles in 1962, and is now one of the best-known drummers in history.