Ludwig drums

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“When we got news of the Beatles’ performance in Chicago, I suggested we make a Super-Sensitive 5 x 14” all-metal snare drum, and gold-plate it in 14kt gold to present to Ringo. It was very expensive, but we did it, and when the day came to present it we went to the Ampitheater as we had been granted five tickets to a press conference.

“As we approached the location, I was amazed at the people trudging through the winter weather towards the theater carrying signs bearing slogans of their enthusiasm for the Beatles. I couldn’t believe it! We finally found the heavily guarded door, displayed our tickets, and we ushered up the stairs to a small riser and tables for the press conference. All of a sudden there was a flurry of excitement and in came the Beatles and sat down. Afterwards we were told we could stand with the Beatles to have our picture taken. The Beatles were nicely dressed and very pleasant young fellows, and when it was our turn, I had the drum ready to give to Ringo. When we were all lined-up I said to Ringo, ‘We made up this special gold-plated drum for you in the honor of this occasion.’ He said, 'Oh, that’s nice.’ He held the drum and they took pictures, and I introduced him to my daughter who was sixteen at the time and absolutely astounded by the event. But I’m not really certain if it really hit home with him who I was and what it was all about, because the policeman took the drum away after the photo, and the last I saw of it he had the drum under his arm walking through a door following the Beatles. I rather imagine it got lost in the shuffle.

"We didn’t even get to the concert as we’d only had tickets to the press conference and not the performance. We were ushered out of the press conference and went home; it was a terrible let-down. I never pursued it because he was already so famous, I doubt he cared about what the manufacturers of his drums cared about. But he still insisted on using Ludwig drums with the name on the front of the head, and he always did.”

[William Ludwig II, History of the Ludwig Drum Co, Paul William Schmidt]

William Ludwig II (right, top photo) and company marketing director R.L. Schory (left, top photo) present Ringo with a specially made gold snare drum on behalf of the Ludwig Drum Company in Chicago on the 5th September 1964. The drum was a thank you for all the promotion and attention Ringo had brought to Ludwig. Despite what Mr Ludwig thought, Ringo actually took the gold drum back to England with him and has kept it to this day (as far as I know!) It was loaned by Ringo for exhibitions in 2010 and 2014.