in 1953, Ringo contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium, where he remained for two years. During his stay, the medical staff made an effort to stimulate motor activity and relieve boredom by encouraging their patients to join the hospital band, leading to his first exposure to a percussion instrument: a makeshift mallet made from a cotton bobbin that he used to strike the cabinets next to his bed.
At age six, Ringo developed appendicitis. Following a routine appendectomy, he contracted peritonitis, which caused him to fall into a coma lasting for several days. His recovery spanned twelve months, which he spent away from his family at Liverpool's Myrtle Street children's hospital.
Ringo has said that his favourite drummer is Jim Keltner (an American drummer known primarily for his session work) with whom he first played at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971. The pair subsequently played together as a double-drumming team on some of George Harrison's recordings during the 1970s and several of Ringo's albums. For Ringo's Rotogravure (1976), Starr coined a term to describe their percussive combination, crediting himself as "Thunder" and Keltner as "Lightnin'".
In 1957, Ringo cofounded his first band, Eddie Clayton & the Clayton Squares, a skiffle group that earned several prestigious local bookings before the skiffle craze faded, giving way to American rock and roll in 1958.