Happy Birthday to the Beatles‘ Ringo Starr, who turns 82-years-old today (July 7th)!!!
At 12 noon, Ringo and wife Barbara Bach Starkey will be joined in L.A. by members of the current All Starr Band — Steve Lukather, Edgar Winter, Colin Hay, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette — as well as friends Benmont Tench, Jim Keltner, Richard Marx, Matt Sorum, Ed Begley Jr., Linda Perry, Diane Warren, Roy Jr. and Alex Orbison for the festivities.
The gang is set to gather for Ringo’s annual “Peace & Love Birthday” event, and at 12 Noon give the traditional “Peace and Love!” exclamation. The Artemis Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas will beam Ringo’s message and music; his 2021 single release “Let’s Change The World” and his “Star Song” — the music the stars made upon his birth as mapped out by Artemis — to the International Space Station (ISS), where it will orbit around the Earth, passing over many countries and much of the Earth’s population and beaming back down messages of peace and love while also traveling out to distant stars.
On June 2nd, Ringo was on hand at Boston’s Berklee College of Music to accept an honorary doctorate from the prestigious institution. The students played a selection of Ringo’s hits during the ceremony, before opening remarks by All Starr Band drummer Gregg Bissonette and Berklee President Erica Muhl.
2021 saw a pair of new EP’s from Ringo — Zoom In and Change The World — featuring contributions from such notables as Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Robby Krieger, Steve Lukather, Linda Perry, Diane Warren, and Nathan East.
In 2019, 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 set featured 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 Paul 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.
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.
Available now is Ringo Starr’s latest Beatles-related photo book, titled, Lifted – Fab Images And Memories In My Life With The Beatles From Across The Universe. The limited-edition hardcover book includes, “rare, unseen and newly discovered images alongside Ringo’s unique perspective on the Beatles phenomenon as he offers a modern, intimate and loving look at his illustrious and precious time as one of the ‘Fab Four.'”
All proceeds of the book sales will benefit the Starr’s charity, The Lotus Foundation, whose mission funds supports, participates in and promotes charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare in diverse areas including, but not limited to substance abuse, cerebral palsy, brain tumors, cancer, battered women and their children, homelessness, and animals in need.
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.
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 original 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)
- Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band tour dates (subject to change):
September 5 – Lenox MA – Tanglewood
September 6, 7 – Baltimore MD – The Lyric
September 9 – Easton, PA – State Theater
September 10 – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Arena
September 11 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met
September 15 – St. Augustine, FL – The Amp
September 16 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall
September 17 – Hollywood, FL – Hard Rock
September 19 – Atlanta, GA – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
September 20 – Richmond, VA – Virginia Credit Union Live
September 22 – Providence, RI – PPAC
September 23 – Bridgeport, CT – Hartford Healthcare Amp
September 24 – Atlantic City, NJ – Hard Rock Etess Arena
September 26 – Montreal, QB – Place Bell
September 27 – Kingston, ON – Leon’s Centre
September 30 – Mt Pleasant, MI – Soaring Eagle Casino
October 1 – New Buffalo, MI – Four Winds Casino
October 2 – Prior Lake, MN – Mystic Lake Casino
October 4 – Winnipeg, MB – Canada Life Centre
October 5 – Saskatoon, SK – Sasktel Centre
October 6 – Lethbridge, AB – Enmax Centre
October 8 – Abbotsford, BC – Abbotsford Centre
October 9 – Penticton, BC – South Okanagon Events Centre
October 11 – Seattle, WA – Benaroya Hall
October 12 – Portland, OR – Arlene Schnitzer Hall
October 14 – San Jose, CA – San Jose Civic Center
October 15 – Paso Robles, CA – Vina Robles Amp
October 16 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theater
October 19, 20 – Mexico City, Mexico – Auditorio Nacional
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, 55-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.
- Ringo Starr has released 20 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.”