Happy Birthday to the Beatles‘ Ringo Starr, who turns 80-years-old today (July 7th)!!! As always, Ringo has asked his friends and fans to celebrate the occasion, wherever they may be, at 12 noon local time, to flash the peace sign and declare Ringo’s signature phrase out loud — “Peace and love!”
Airing today at on Ringo’s YouTube channel at 2 pm ET is “Ringo’s Big Birthday Show” a broadcast to benefit four charities — the Black Lives Matter Global Network; the David Lynch Foundation; MusiCares; and WaterAid. The show will include unique home performances as well as never before seen concert footage from Ringo and his All Starr Band, Paul McCartney and Joe Walsh — as well as Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Sheila E. and Ben Harper, with more artists still to be announced.
The broadcast will also feature the premiere of a guest star version of Ringo’s “Give More Love” that was created to benefit MusiCares and features Jeff Bridges, Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnette, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, and Willie Nelson.
Additionally there will be a playlist of unique tribute performances on Ringo’s YouTube channel. This will include musicians who have previously recorded Ringo’s songs, performances from past birthday celebrations as well as some new versions which artists will be posting on their socials. Fans should be on the look-out for musical tributes from Elvis Costello, Peter Frampton, Gregg Rolie, Ben Folds, Ben Dickey, Bettye LaVette, Colin Hay, Judy Collins, Richard Marx, Steve Earle, Steve Lukather, and many more.
Last October 25th, Ringo released his 20th solo studio album, titled What’s My Name — a tip of the hat to the Beatles drummer’s long time in-concert shout-out to the audience. The highlight of the new set features him and Paul McCartney teaming up on one of John Lennon‘s final songs, “Grow Old With Me,” which was originally released in 1984 in demo form on the posthumous Lennon album, Milk And Honey.
The 2019 version of “Grow Old With Me,” which was produced by Ringo, features McCartney on bass and backing vocals, with Lennon’s Double Fantasy producer, the legendary Jack Douglas, having supplied the orchestration for the track. Back in 1994, Yoko Ono gave the surviving Beatles one of Lennon’s demos of the song as a possible choice for their Anthology reunion tracks, but the group passed on it at the time.
Among the other high-profile musicians on What’s My Name are such friends and/or All Starr Band alumnus as Ringo’s brother-in-law Joe Walsh, Toto‘s Steve Lukather, Men At Work‘s Colin Hay — who wrote the album’s title track, the Eurythmics‘ Dave Stewart, Edgar Winter, Mr. Mister‘s Richard Page, Nathan East, and the Heartbreakers‘ Benmont Tench, among others. The album also features a cover of Barrett Strong‘s early-Motown classic “Money (That’s What I Want),” which the Beatles recorded back in 1963.
On March 20th, 2018 Ringo Starr — or Sir Richard Starkey — became the second Beatle knighted. Royal honors are awarded twice yearly — on the Queen’s official birthday and at the New Year. Ringo is the latest in a growing line of rock legends becoming Knights of the Realm, including his fellow Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Ray Davies, legendary “Fab Four” producer George Martin, and British pop legend Cliff Richard.
Out now is Ringo’s latest photo book, Another Day In The Life, which will be published through the exclusive Genesis Publications. The book follows Ringo’s two previous tomes — 2003’s Postcards From The Boys and 2013’s Photograph — and is described as being “a previously unpublished collection of his photographs, captioned with his own thoughts and anecdotes.”
The press release for Another Day In The Life reads in part: “Reflecting his love of music, travel and nature, Another Day In The Life shows us the world as seen through Ringo’s eyes. From Los Angeles to Tokyo and everywhere in between, many of Ringo’s observational images celebrate the quirkiness of life. Other photographs are taken behind the scenes during historic events, such as Ringo’s acceptance of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and his return to New York’s Plaza Hotel, 50 years after the Beatles first visited the USA. Joined by Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh and a host of All-Starr friends, in Another Day In The Life Ringo Starr shares personal moments from a legendary life in music, and offers a unique and inspiring look at the world around us.”
In April 2018, Ringo signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with BMG. The agreement covers his Beatles and solo catalog spanning nearly 50 years, as well as future compositions. In the press release announcing the new deal, the recently Knighted drummer said, “I love making music and the song writing process — and putting new music out there to play along side the old. How great to be working with BMG who are excited to have my entire catalogue.”
In April 2015, Ringo Starr was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Paul McCartney. That December, Ringo scored a $9.2 million payday with his massive “The Collection of Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach” auction via Juliens Auctions in Beverly Hills. A portion of the sales went to benefit the Lotus Foundation charity, which “funds, supports, participates in and promotes charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare in diverse areas.”
The biggest seller in the auction was Ringo’s first 1963 Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl drum kit, purchased by Indiana Colts owned Jim Irsay, who paid a whopping $2.25 million for the set. The three-piece drum kit used in more than 200 performances between May of 1963 and February of 1964 — including such Beatles classics as “She Loves You,” “Roll Over Beethoven” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “This Boy,” “All My Loving,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and many others. The kit was also used by Paul McCartney during sessions for his 1970 solo debut, McCartney.
With numerous All Starr Band tours and nine studio albums under his belt over the past 30 years, Ringo told us that he’s happy at how his solo career has shaped up over the years: [“I’m sort of in a groove. So I do the record, I do the tour, I do the record, do the tour. And as I said before, as long as I can sit behind (the drums) and stand up and do the gig — I’m on.”] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC: . . . gig I’m on)
Back in 2008, on his 68th birthday, during his appearance to CNN’s Larry King Live, Yoko Ono called in to serenade the legendary Beatles drummer with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” She ended the song wither her signature vibrato “Yoko voice” which Ringo lightheartedly imitated. [“(sings) Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Ringo. Happy birthday to you. And many more.”] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC: . . . and many more)
Ringo Starr was born Richard Starkey in Liverpool, England on July 7th, 1940. His father, a local baker, left the family when he was only three-years-old. Always a sickly child, Ringo was in and out of hospitals most of his early life, suffering at various times from pleurisy, a ruptured appendix, and, at the age of six, even falling into a coma for several days. He recovered, however, and by 1960 he was the top drummer in Liverpool, playing with Rory Storm & The Hurricanes.
Ringo told us that unlike other musicians who took their time to gravitate towards their ultimate instrument, over 60 years ago, that wasn’t the case with him: [“I only ever wanted to play the drums. My grandparents used to play the banjo and mandolin, and they gave me one of each, and I had no interest. We had a piano at home, which I walked on. There was nothing else from when I was 13 — I just wanted to play the drums. This burning desire to be a musician and to be a drummer. Just the drums.”] SOUNDCUE (:20 OC: . . . just the drums)
Ringo explained how he got his world famous nickname: [“Where I come from, in Liverpool, people get nicknames. And I was wearing a lot of rings. And first of all, they started calling me ‘Rings.’ And then when we went to Butlins Holiday Camp, we changed our names, we all took cowboy names, and I thought ‘Ringo Starkey’ wasn’t quite cowboy enough, so I started calling myself ‘Ringo Starr.’ And I’ve been Ringo ever since.”] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . Ringo ever since)
In August 1962 he joined the Beatles, becoming one of rock’s most influential drummers. He also sang lead on a dozen Beatles songs, including “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Act Naturally,” “Yellow Submarine,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and “Octopus’s Garden.”
Shortly before his 2016 death, legendary Beatles producer George Martin recalled slighting Ringo the first time he met him, by insisting that session drummer Alan White drum on the Beatles’ debut single, “Love Me Do”: [“I didn’t even know the guy was coming. I’d had this fellow, Pete Best, and I didn’t. . . I thought we could do better and I booked a good session drummer (Andy White) to replace him, and then the boys turn up with a fellow called ‘Ringo Starr.’ And they say, ‘He’s our new drummer.’ And I said, ‘No, no he’s not. I booked this fellow. We’re paying good money for this chap. I’ll let your fellow in later on, but I want to be sure of this track.'”] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC: . . . of this track)
Paul McCartney recalled that having a Ringo vocal on a Beatles album was done for the love of his fans: [“We always wanted to include him in it, because, see, with the Beatles, we all had our little group of fans. And so we always thought it was a good idea to try and include at least one song from Ringo for his fans. We did have to sort of encourage him and say ‘Come on, man, y’know. . .’ And he got into it after a while. He was always very disparaging about his own singing, But, y’know, we’d write something like, ‘With A little Help From My Friends,’ and he’d. . . it’s only Ringo that can sing that.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . can sing that)
Ringo says that during the Beatles’ whirlwind career, there was never a point where he paused to consider the long-term effect of the band on either his or their fans’ lives: [“Even though we felt ‘Yes, we’re established and we’ve conquered all these countries, and we’re sellin’ a lot of records and they all love us,’ it was not a thought (that) it’s going to end tomorrow — (or) it’s going to go on forever. I never had that thought. It was just happening now, y’know? It wasn’t like making plans for the future. It was just on this roll and we were all in our early-20’s and we were just going with it.”] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . going with it)
Legendary producer Don Was, who first worked with Ringo during the sessions for the former Beatle’s 1992 Time Takes Time collection, told us that he always jumps at the chance to play with Ringo: [“As a musician, when you finally get to play music with him, it’s one of the most distinctive feels, y’know? His feel is just, it’s such a unique fingerprint of where to lay the beat and where to play it. And, like, in the first few minutes of the first few songs, I thought, ‘Oh man! You couldn’t have had those Beatles records without this guy.’ There’s a musical personality that’s so strong. I think he’s one of the great rock n’ roll drummers of all time.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . of all time)
Ringo Starr was initially the most successful of the solo Beatles after the band broke up, enjoying seven straight Top 10 hits, including the 1973 Number Ones “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen.”
Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney all contributed songs to Ringo’s solo career, he says it was he and George Harrison who shared the most intimate creative connection: [“We did ‘It Don’t Come Easy,’ and ‘Back Off Boogaloo,’ and ‘Photograph’ all in a similar time. It was great! I mean, I was sellin’ records, and makin’ good music, and hanging out with a lot of good musicians, but everyone was like ‘Oh! My God — Ringo’s Number One!’ Y’know, ’cause they’re all like ‘Oh, John’s Number One’ — fine, it’s expected. But ‘Ringo’s Number One?!’ It was really funny in its way because I was just out there doing music.”] SOUNDCUE (:26 OC: . . . there doing music)
George’s widow Olivia Harrison says that George and Ringo shared a truly deep and loving relationship: [“If you were his friend, you were his friend, and he gave everything. Y’know, you weren’t sort of a friend, or y’know, kind of a friend. If you were in his world, that was it, you had the ‘A’ key to everything. But of course Ringo was probably his best friend.”] SOUNDCUE (:14 OC: . . . his best friend)
During his 2015 induction speech for Ringo at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Paul McCartney recalled the “eureka” moment when all the pieces fit and the Beatles found the missing like that made them the “Fab Four”: [“One night, our drummer then, Pete Best, uh, wasn’t available (applause) and, um, so Ringo sat in. And I remember the moment. I mean, Pete was great and we, we had a great time with him, but, me John (Lennon), and George (Harrison), God bless ’em (applause). . . Yeah! Me, John, and George were on the frontline, singing, as we usually were, and now behind us we had this guy that we’d never played with before. And I remember the moment when he started playing and I think it was Ray Charles’ ‘What’d I Say.’ And most of the drummers couldn’t nail the drum part — it was a little difficult to do — but Ringo nailed it. So. . . . (applause) Yeah! (Laughs) Ringo nailed it!!! (Applause) Woo! And I remember the moment just standing there and looking at John and then looking at George, and that was ‘the moment.’ Y’know, that was the beginning, really, of the Beatles. Anyway (applause).”] SOUNDCUE (1:18 OC: . . . Beatles anyway (applause))
Ringo brought the crowd back to the late-’50s when rock was in its most primitive stages: [“Y’know, we started off with a radio, it was the first amp we had. Anyway, things got going a lot better and we ended up playing a lot in Liverpool and a lot around Liverpool. We never really made it anywhere else. But while that was going on, I was working in a factory (laughter). Ay, yeah. Yeah, yeah. After the things I’ve sat through tonight!!! (Laughter) Blah, blah, blah!!! I’ve got some stories. Anyway. . . (applause).”] SOUNDCUE (:49 OC: . . . some stories anyway (applause))
Ringo spoke about the closeness the four Beatles shared throughout their time on the road: [“It’s been an incredible journey for me with these three guys, who, y’know, wrote these songs. We were taking just the other night. Paul would come in and strum some song to us, and that’s the first we’d heard of it and we’d play it and we’d get it done in a really good shape in and hour-and-a-half, it’d be the record. Y’know, we didn’t spend a lot of time. And there was a lot of joy. And he’s talking about, we. . . The Beatles, y’know, they were so big and so famous that shared rooms, y’know? Every hotel — when we got in hotels — when we got to hotels, we always got two rooms. And it didn’t matter who was with who, we were pals, and we hung out. And I’m telling any band in the room, you really get to know your other players. And the other tip I’ve got for all bands who are starting out; if you’re in the van and you fart — own up (laughter), because it’ll cause hell!!! ‘Cause if you don’t own up, everyone’s blamin’ everyone else. So, y’know, we made a pact, in the van: ‘Okay, if we fart, we’ll say it was me.’ (laughter). And that’s what we did and that’s how we get on so well.”] SOUNDCUE (1:10 OC: . . . on so well)
DID YOU KNOW???
- Ringo Starr was the only Beatle to perform on solo albums by all the other former Beatles, adding percussion to John Lennon‘s 1969’s single “Give Peace A Chance,” and drumming on both the ’69 followup “Cold Turkey” and his 1970 John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album. Ringo went on to play on four of Paul McCartney‘s albums, and on seven of George Harrison‘s solo albums.
- Ringo was the focal point of the Beatles’ first two movies, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965), and embarked on a solo acting career in 1967 and eventually appeared in 10 films, including The Magic Christian (1969), That’ll Be The Day (1973), and Caveman (1981). He teamed up with McCartney again for the short The Cooler (1981) and McCartney’s 1984 big-budget flop Give My Regards To Broad Street (1984).
- In 1984 Ringo Starr became a star to a whole new generation, thanks to his role of “Mr. Conductor” on the PBS children’s program Thomas The Tank Engine And Friends.
- After years of substance abuse, Ringo entered rehab in 1989, returning to the road later that year with his ever-changing All Starr Band. He has toured regularly ever since.
- In 1995 he reunited with Paul McCartney and George Harrison for The Beatles Anthology.
- He has been married twice, first to Liverpool hairdresser Maureen Cox, from 1965 to 1975. The couple had three children, Zak, Jason, and daughter Lee. His oldest son, 54-year-old Zak Starkey, has drummed for the Who since 1996 and is considered among the top rock drummers of his generation.
- In April 1981 Ringo married actress Barbara Bach, who co-starred with him in Caveman. Bach’s sister Marjorie is currently married to Ringo’s close friend, former producer, and original All Starr Band-mate Joe Walsh.
- Starr has released 17 solo studio albums since 1970.
- His 1976 album, Ringo’s Rotogravure, was the last album to feature all-new material written by all four ex-Beatles. The album also marked the last time that John Lennon entered a recording studio prior to his five-year retirement to become a “house husband.”