The following biography
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Richard Starkey, MBE (born 7 July
1940) better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician and
actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. When the band
formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the
Hurricanes. He became the Beatles' drummer in August 1962, taking the place of
Pete Best. In addition to his contribution as drummer, Starr featured as lead
vocals on a number of successful Beatles songs (in particular, 'With a Little
Help from My Friends', 'Yellow Submarine', and the Beatles version of 'Act
Naturally'), as co-writer with the song 'What Goes On' and writer with 'Don't
Pass Me By' and 'Octopus's Garden'.
As drummer for the
Beatles, Starr was musically creative, and his
contribution to the band's music has received high praise from notable drummers
in more recent times. Starr described himself as 'your basic offbeat drummer
with funny fills', technically limited by being a left-handed person playing a
right-handed kit. Drummer Steve Smith said that Starr's popularity 'brought
forth a new paradigm' where 'we started to see the drummer as an equal
participant in the compositional aspect' and that Starr 'composed unique,
stylistic drum parts for The Beatles songs'. In 2011, Starr was picked as the
fifth-best drummer of all-time by Rolling Stone readers.
Starr is the most documented and
critically acclaimed actor-Beatle, playing a central role in several Beatles
films, and appearing in numerous other films, both during and after his career
with the Beatles. After the Beatles' break-up in 1970, Starr achieved solo
musical success with several singles and albums, and recorded with each of his
fellow ex-Beatles as they too developed their post-Beatle musical careers. He
has also been featured in a number of TV documentaries, hosted TV shows,
narrated the first two series of the children's television series Thomas the
Tank Engine & Friends and portrayed 'Mr. Conductor' during the first season of
the PBS children's television series Shining Time Station. Since 1989, Starr has
toured with eleven variations of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.
Richard Starkey Jr.
Also known as
Ringo Starr, Billy Shears
7 July 1940 (age 71)
Rock, pop, psychedelic rock, world
Musician, singer, actor
Vocals, drums, percussion, piano,
Parlophone, United Artists,
Capitol, Apple, Swan, Vee-Jay,
Tollie, Atlantic, RCA, Mercury,
Private Music, Boardwalk, Rykodisc
The Beatles, Rory Storm and the
Hurricanes, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Plastic Ono Band
Ludwig Super Classic Drumset
Ludwig Black Oyster Pearl Drumset
Ringo Starr was born Richard
Starkey on 7 July 1940 at 9 Madryn Street, Dingle, Liverpool, Lancashire,
England, the son of Elsie (née Gleave) and Richard Starkey, a
confectioner. His paternal grandfather was born with the surname
'Parkin', and later adopted his stepfather's surname, 'Starkey'. Starr's
parents split up when he was three years old, and his mother subsequently
married Harry Graves, who encouraged his interest in music. Starr's
family moved when he was three years old to a smaller home at 10 Admiral Grove.
Starr attended an Evangelical Anglican church during his childhood. He was
afflicted by illness for much of his early years. When aged six, he had
appendicitis, which developed complications, causing him to fall into a
coma. At thirteen, he developed chronic pleurisy and was admitted to a
sanatorium for two years. After this extended hospital visit he did not
return to school. The periods of hospitalisation left him behind
scholastically, and as a result he was ineligible to attend a grammar school or
even sit its Eleven plus qualifying examination. Earlier, Starr attended St
Silas, a Church of England primary school in High Park Street, close to his home
in Admiral Grove; singer Billy Fury attended the school at the same time.
Later, Starr attended Dingle Vale Secondary Modern School (now Shorefields
Technology College), leaving in 1955. While there, he showed an aptitude for
art and drama as well as practical subjects including mechanics. Starr's
health problems had another enduring effect in the form of allergies and
sensitivities to food, and when the Beatles travelled to India in 1968, he took
his own food with him.
Like John Lennon, Paul McCartney
and George Harrison, Starr became caught up in Liverpool's skiffle craze. In
1957, he and his friend Eddie Miles formed the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group.
In 1959, he joined the Raving Texans, now adopting the stage name 'Ringo
Starr' because of the rings he wore and because it sounded 'cowboyish', and
his drum solos were billed as 'Starr Time'. By October 1960, the band was
renamed Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and while they were performing in
Hamburg, Starr met the Beatles. On 16 October 1960 he drummed in Hamburg
with Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, recording with them for the first time to
back Hurricanes' singer Lu Walters.
After returning to the UK, Starr
sat in for Pete Best as the Beatles' drummer on 18 August 1961 and 5 February
1962. The Beatles removed Best as their drummer on 16 August 1962, after
Best had played in the early recording sessions at EMI Studios.
Starr's first performance as a full
Beatle was on 18 August 1962 at a Horticultural Society dance at Port
Sunlight. After his appearance at the Cavern Club performance as a full
Beatle the following day, Best's fans were upset at his sacking, holding vigils
outside Best's house and fighting at the club, shouting 'Pete forever! Ringo
never!' George Harrison received a black eye from one of the fans.
When he arrived at EMI Studios for
the second time on 11 September, Starr was shocked to find another drummer
there, session drummer Andy White who was commissioned by producer George
Martin. Using sessions drummers familiar with studio techniques was a normal
procedure for studio recordings in those days. Starr's view at the time was that
Andy White was brought in because he thought George Martin viewed him as crazy.
Of the 4 September rehearsal session, Starr stated, 'He [George Martin] thought
I was crazy and couldn't play. Because when we were doing 'Please Please Me', I
was actually playing the kit and in one hand I had a tambourine and a maracas in
the other, because I was trying to play the percussion and the drums at the same
time, because we were just a four piece band'. Starr also stated, 'I
thought, 'That’s the end, they’re doing a Pete Best on me.''
The Beatles: 1962–1970
Starr generally sang at least one
song on each studio album as part of an attempt to establish the vocal
personality of all four members. In some cases, Lennon or McCartney wrote the
lyrics and melody especially for him, as they did for 'Yellow Submarine' from
Revolver and 'With a Little Help from My Friends' on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts
Club Band. These melodies were tailored to Starr's baritone vocal range.
Starr's backing vocals are heard on songs such as 'Carry That Weight', and
'The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill'.
The Beatles used Starr's unusual
turns of phrase, or 'Ringoisms' as they became known, such as 'a hard day's
night' and 'tomorrow never knows', and turned them into songs. Recalling
this, McCartney said, 'Ringo would do these little malapropisms, he would say
things slightly wrong, like people do, but his were always wonderful, very
lyrical... they were sort of magic'. As well as inspiring his bandmates'
creativity in this way, Starr occasionally contributed his own lyrics to
unfinished Lennon and McCartney songs, such as the line 'darning his socks in
the night when there's nobody there' in 'Eleanor Rigby'. Frustrated at times
of being the odd man out in the group in regard to songwriting, Starr commented
in The Beatles Anthology that when he presented a song to the Beatles, it would
often sound to the other three Beatles like a popular song of the day. Starr did
eventually begin composing, and is credited with 'Don't Pass Me By' (on The
White Album) and 'Octopus's Garden' (on Abbey Road) as sole
His disgust with the band's
tensions and boredom at waiting around to contribute during the sessions for the
White Album caused him to quit the group temporarily. He spent two weeks with
actor Peter Sellers on the latter's yacht, Amelfis, in Piraeus, where he wrote
'Octopus's Garden'. He did not return for two weeks, even though the other
Beatles urged him to come back: Lennon sent telegrams, and Harrison set up
flowers all over the studio for Starr's return saying 'Welcome home'.
Starr's name also appears as a co-writer for the Rubber Soul track 'What Goes
On' along with Lennon and McCartney, while the songs 'Flying' (on the
Magical Mystery Tour album) and 'Dig It' (on Let It Be) are listed as
being written by the entire group. On issued material after the break-up, Starr
wrote 'Taking a Trip to Carolina' from the second 'bonus' CD of Let It Be...
Naked, and received joint songwriting credits with the other three Beatles for
'12-Bar Original', 'Los Paranoias', 'Christmas Time (Is Here Again)', 'Suzy
Parker' (heard in the Let It Be film), 'Jessie's Dream' (heard in the Magical
Mystery Tour film) and The Beatles' version of 'Free as a Bird'.
In June 1964, the Beatles were
scheduled to tour Denmark, the Netherlands, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
On 3 June, the day before the tour, Starr collapsed during an early morning
photo session for the Saturday Evening Post at a portrait studio in Barnes,
London. Stricken with a 102-degree fever and tonsillitis, he was rushed to the
hospital. This bout with tonsillitis necessitated a stay in hospital and a few
days of recuperation at home. During this time, Starr was temporarily replaced
for the Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Adelaide concert dates
by 24-year-old session drummer Jimmie Nicol. Beatles producer George Martin
suggested Nicol because he had recently recorded at EMI with Tommy Quickly and
recently became familiar with Beatles numbers while drumming on a recording
session for an album called Beatlemania. At first, Harrison did not want Starr
replaced and refused to go on the tour without Starr, but Brian Epstein and
George Martin convinced Harrison to begin the tour. Starr was discharged from
the hospital on 11 June, and he rejoined the group in Melbourne on 15 June 1964.
Ultimately, Starr had his tonsils removed during the Beatles' Christmas holiday
period later in the year. Starr later admitted that he feared that he would be
permanently replaced during his illness.
While Starr himself has been the
first to acknowledge the technical limitations of his drumming for the Beatles,
the overall effect of his contribution has received high praise from notable
drummers. Starr said, 'Whenever I hear another drummer I know I'm no good. I'm
no good on the technical things [...] I'm your basic offbeat drummer with funny
fills. The fills were funny because I'm really left-handed playing a
right-handed kit. I can't roll around the drums because of that.' Martin's
version was, 'Ringo hit good and hard and used the tom-tom well, even though he
couldn't do a roll to save his life', although Martin later added, 'He's got
tremendous feel. He always helped us to hit the right tempo for a song, and gave
it that support — that rock-solid back-beat — that made the recording of all The
Beatles' songs that much easier.' In 1968, Martin praised Starr's
drumming on Sgt. Pepper, calling him 'probably ... the finest rock drummer in
the world today.' Lennon, when asked if Starr was the best drummer in the
world, jokingly replied, 'He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles!'
(on account of McCartney filling in for Starr on drums on several songs, such as
'Back in the USSR', 'Dear Prudence' and 'Martha My Dear'), but also said,
'Ringo's a damn good drummer. He always was a good drummer. He's not technically
good, but I think Ringo's drumming is underrated the same way as Paul's bass
playing is underrated.' McCartney sent Starr a postcard on 31 January 1969
(the day after the band's performance on the roof of Apple Studios), stating:
'You are the greatest drummer in the world. Really.' This postcard is included
in Starr's book Postcards from the Boys.
Drummer Steve Smith extolled
Starr's qualities beyond the technical, in terms of his musical contribution as
“Before Ringo, drum stars were
measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity. Ringo's popularity brought
forth a new paradigm in how the public saw drummers. We started to see the
drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect. One of Ringo's
great qualities was that he composed unique, stylistic drum parts for the
Beatles' songs. His parts are so signature to the songs that you can listen to a
Ringo drum part without the rest of the music and still identify the song.”
Phil Collins, the drummer for
Genesis, who was himself influenced by Starr, said:
“Starr is vastly underrated. The
drum fills on the song 'A Day in the Life' are very complex things. You could
take a great drummer today and say, 'I want it like that.' He wouldn't know what
In September 1980, John Lennon had
this to say about Starr:
“Ringo was a star in his own right
in Liverpool before we even met. He was a professional drummer who sang and
performed and had Ringo Starr-time and he was in one of the top groups in
Britain but especially in Liverpool before we even had a drummer. So Ringo's
talent would have come out one way or the other as something or other. I don't
know what he would have ended up as, but whatever that spark is in Ringo that we
all know but can't put our finger on — whether it is acting, drumming or singing
I don't know — there is something in him that is projectable and he would have
surfaced with or without the Beatles. Ringo is a damn good drummer.”
Many drummers acknowledge Starr as
an influence, including Steve Gorman of the Black Crowes, Dave Grohl of Nirvana,
Jen Ledger of Skillet, Max Weinberg of the E Street Band, Danny Carey of Tool,
Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel's band, Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden, Eric Carr of
Kiss, Phil Rudd of AC/DC, Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós, the former Dream
Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Pedro Andreu of Heroes del Silencio and
In his extensive survey of the
Beatles' recording sessions, Mark Lewisohn confirmed that Starr was both
proficient and remarkably reliable and consistent. According to Lewisohn, there
were fewer than a dozen occasions in the Beatles' eight-year recording career
where session 'breakdowns' were caused by Starr making a mistake, while the vast
majority of takes were stopped owing to mistakes by the other three members.
Starr is considered to have influenced various modern drumming techniques, such
as the matched grip, placing the drums on high risers for visibility as part of
the band, tuning the drums lower, and using muffling devices on tonal rings.
For the band's second recording
session with Starr as a member on 11 September 1962, producer George Martin
replaced the studio-inexperienced Starr with session drummer Andy White to
record takes for what would be the two sides of the Beatles' first single, 'Love
Me Do' backed with 'P.S. I Love You'. Starr played tambourine on 'Love Me
Do' and maracas on 'P.S. I Love You' for this session. McCartney took over
the drums on 'Back in the U.S.S.R.' and 'Dear Prudence' from the White Album
(1968) after Starr had walked out, and also played the drums on 'The Ballad
of John and Yoko', recorded on 14 April 1969, since only he and Lennon were
immediately available to record the song. Starr commented that he was lucky
in being 'surrounded by three frustrated drummers' who could only drum in one
After the Beatles
After the announcement of the
break-up of the Beatles on 10 April 1970, Starr released two albums before the
end of that year. Sentimental Journey featured Starr's renditions of many
pre-rock standards and included the arranger talents of Quincy Jones, Maurice
Gibb, George Martin and McCartney, among others. His next album, Beaucoups of
Blues, put Starr in a country context, and included renowned Nashville session
musician Pete Drake. He scored hit singles with 'It Don't Come Easy' (1971)
(U.S. No.4) and 'Back Off Boogaloo' (1972) (U.S. No.9), the latter of which was
his biggest UK hit, peaking at No.2. He achieved two No.1 hits in the U.S., with
'Photograph' (co-written with Harrison) and 'You're Sixteen' (written by the
Sherman Brothers of Mary Poppins fame).
He participated in the Concert for
Bangladesh organised by Harrison in 1971, as well as drumming on Harrison's All
Things Must Pass and Living in the Material World, Lennon's John Lennon/Plastic
Ono Band, and Yoko Ono's early solo work. Starr then made his debut as a film
director with the T. Rex documentary Born to Boogie. Starr became firm friends
with T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan and during the period of filming the
documentary, Starr released the single 'Back Off Boogaloo'.
In 1971, he started a furniture
company with designer Robin Cruikshank. Starr's own avant-garde designs included
a flower-shaped table with adjustable petal seats and a donut-shaped
The 1973 album Ringo, produced by
Richard Perry, with participation by the other three former Beatles on different
tracks, was commercially successful. The album Goodnight Vienna followed the
next year and was also successful. Hits and notable tracks from these two albums
included 'Photograph' and 'You're Sixteen' both reaching number one on the US
charts, 'Oh My My' (US No.5) and 'I'm the Greatest' (written by Lennon) from
Ringo, and 'Only You (And You Alone)' (US No.6) and 'No No Song' (US No.3) from
1974's Goodnight Vienna. In late 1975, these singles and others were collected
for Starr's first greatest hits compilation, Blast from Your Past, which was the
last album released on Apple Records. During this period he became
romantically involved with Lynsey de Paul. He played tambourine on a song
she wrote and produced for Vera Lynn, 'Don't You Remember When', and he inspired
another De Paul song, 'If I Don't Get You the Next One Will', which she
described as being about revenge after he missed a dinner appointment with her
because he was asleep in his office.
Starr's recording career
subsequently diminished in commercial impact, although he continued to record
and remained a familiar celebrity presence. Starr signed with Atlantic Records
in the mid-1970s, and in 1976 the album Ringo's Rotogravure was released.
Although yielding two minor hit singles, 'A Dose of Rock 'n' Roll' (US No.26)
and a cover of 'Hey! Baby' (US No.74) the album achieved moderate sales but
reached a respectable No.28. This caused the label to revamp Starr's formula;
the results were a curious blend of disco and 1970s pop. The album Ringo the 4th
(1977) was a commercial disaster, reaching no higher than No.162 on the charts.
Afterward, Starr soon signed with Portrait Records. His stint with Portrait
began on a promising note: 1978 saw the release of Bad Boy, as well as a network
TV special. However, neither were very popular, with Bad Boy reaching a
disappointing No.129 on the US charts. Consequently, Starr did not release
another album with Portrait Records.
In 1975, Starr founded his own
record label called Ring O'Records, and four albums were released on the label
between 1975 and 1978 (Startling Music by David Hentschel, Graham Bonnet by
Graham Bonnet, Restless by Rab Noakes and a re-release of an Apple Records
album, The Whale by John Tavener) as well as 16 singles by artists such as:
Bobby Keys, Carl Grossman, Colonel Doug Bogie, David Hentschel, Graham Bonnet,
Suzanne, Johnny Warman, Rab Noakes and Dirk & Stig (the last being names of
characters from the Beatles' pastiche band 'the Rutles', created by Eric Idle
and Neil Innes).
In 1980, Harrison wrote 'All Those
Years Ago' for Starr to sing on his album Can't Fight Lightning, later released
as Stop and Smell the Roses. Harrison sang a rewritten version himself,
including it on his 1981 album Somewhere in England following Lennon's murder.
Starr, along with Paul and Linda McCartney, played on Harrison's version. Ronnie
Wood from the Rolling Stones also collaborated with Starr while recording Stop
and Smell the Roses, at Cherokee Studios, adding guitar, bass, saxophone,
keyboards, and back-up vocals. Starr was interviewed by Rolling Stone and
Musician around this time. Stop and Smell the Roses was a well-regarded album,
but again did not sell particularly well. During recording of 'Stop and Smell
the Roses', Lennon had offered Starr a pair of songs to use on Roses: 'Nobody
Told Me' and 'Life Begins at 40'. However, following Lennon's murder, Starr did
not feel comfortable recording them; the former was released posthumously under
Lennon's name on the album Milk and Honey, while the latter's painfully ironic
lyrics kept it unissued until 1998's John Lennon Anthology.
After Lennon was murdered in 1980,
Starr and his girlfriend Barbara Bach flew to New York City to comfort Lennon's
widow Yoko Ono.
In 1984 and 1986, Starr narrated
the children's series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, a Britt Allcroft
production, which was first shown on Central Television and subsequently across
the ITV network. He was unsure about taking the role at first, having never
previously read the books by Reverend Awdry, and at the time he felt that
children would be more interested in 'dinosaurs with lasers.' Nevertheless, he
had a change of heart and took the role, narrating the first two series. Starr
also portrayed the character Mr. Conductor in the programme's American spin-off
Shining Time Station, which debuted in 1989 on PBS. Starr left after the first
In 1985, he performed, with his son
Zak Starkey, as part of Artists United Against Apartheid on the recording Sun
In 1987, Starr drummed on the
George Harrison song 'When We Was Fab' from his album Cloud Nine. The song,
co-written by Harrison and Jeff Lynne, charted in the Top 30 in both the UK and
the USA. The same year, Starr, Harrison and Lynne joined Eric Clapton, Elton
John, Phil Collins and Ray Cooper in a performance for the Prince's Trust
In October 1988, Starr and Bach
attended a detox clinic in Tucson, Arizona, each receiving a six-week treatment
for alcoholism. Starr later complained that it had been difficult to recover
with the 'press flying overhead' on a constant basis. On 23 July 1989,
'Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band' gave their first performance to an audience
of ten thousand in Dallas, Texas. The band consisted of Starr and a varying
assortment of musicians who had been successful in their own right with popular
songs at different times. The concerts interchanged Starr's singing,
including selections of his Beatles and solo songs, with performances of each of
the other artists' well-known material, the latter incorporating either Starr or
another musician as drummer. The eighth All-Starr Band tour took place in
In 1989 Starr and his daughter Lee
appeared together in a TV ad as part of the 'New Generation of Olds' campaign
featuring the catchphrase 'This is not your father's Oldsmobile.'
The success of the initial
All-Starr tour led to the release of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, a
compilation of live performances from the tour, in the fall of 1990. In the same
year, Starr recorded a version of the song 'I Call Your Name' for a television
special marking the 10th anniversary of John Lennon's death and the 50th
anniversary of his birth. The track, produced by Jeff Lynne, features a
supergroup composed of Lynne, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh and Jim Keltner.
In 1991, he made an animated
appearance as himself in the Simpsons episode 'Brush with Greatness' and
contributed an original song, 'You Never Know', to the soundtrack of the John
Hughes film Curly Sue. Starr released his first studio album in nine years,
1992's Time Takes Time. The album was produced by four of the top producers in
music: Phil Ramone, Don Was, Jeff Lynne and Peter Asher, and featured guest
appearances by various stars including Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson. In 1995,
Starr appeared with Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork of the Monkees in a
Pizza Hut commercial. In the commercial, he claims he is trying to reunite 'the
lads.' The commercial ends with the three Monkees joining Starr. He looks into
the camera and says 'wrong lads.'
In 1997, Starr guested on drums on
two songs on the McCartney album Flaming Pie. McCartney had written a song about
Starr's ex-wife Maureen Starkey Tigrett ('Little Willow') and asked Starr if
he'd play on another ('Beautiful Night'). The day after the 'Beautiful Night'
session, the two recorded a jam session, which developed into another Flaming
Pie song, 'Really Love You,' notable for being the first song ever credited to
McCartney/Starkey and officially released on an album. In 1998, he released
two albums on the Mercury label. The studio album Vertical Man marked the
beginning of a nine-year 'partnership' with Mark Hudson, who produced the album
and, with his band the Roundheads, formed the core of the backing group for the
album. In addition, many 'famous guests' joined on various tracks, including
Martin, McCartney, and—in his final appearance on a Starr album before his
death—Harrison. Most of the songs were written by Starr and the band. The
Roundheads and Joe Walsh joined Starr for his appearance on VH1 Storytellers,
which was released as an album under the same name. On the show, he performed
greatest hits and new songs, and told anecdotes relating to them.
In 2000, he appeared in a
television commercial for Charles Schwab Investments. As he sits with a group of
young musicians trying to find a word that rhymes with 'elation', Ringo suggests
such financial terms as 'dividend reinvestment participation', 'market
capitalisation' and 'asset allocation'. As the song 'Money' plays in the
background, the musicians stare at him in confusion. He finally says, 'What? Too
In 2002, Starr was inducted into
the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame joining an elite group of percussive
inductees, which includes Buddy Rich and William F. Ludwig, Sr. and Jr.
On 29 November 2002 (the first
anniversary of George Harrison's death), Starr performed 'Photograph' and a
cover of Carl Perkins' 'Honey Don't' at the Concert for George held in the Royal
Albert Hall, London. According to the official Concert for George website,
'Ringo Starr caught everyone with a tear in their eye with a rendition of
'Photograph', a composition he wrote with George, which seemed to sum up how
everyone felt.' The song includes the lines, 'Every time I see your face / it
reminds me of the places we used to go / But all I've got is a photograph / and
I realise you're not coming back any more'.
In 2003, Starr formed Pumkinhead
Records with All-Starr Band member Mark Hudson. The label was not prolific,
but their first signing was Liam Lynch, who produced a 2003 LP entitled Fake
Starr was an 'honorary Santa
Tracker' and voice over for the London stop in Father Christmas's annual
Christmas Eve journey in 2003 and 2004 as depicted in the annual NORAD tracks
Santa program. According to NORAD officials, he was 'a Starr in the east' who
helped guide North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa-tracking
In September 2005, Liverpool City
Council decided to bulldoze 9 Madryn Street, Starr's birthplace, as it had 'no
historical significance', despite a previous reprieve back in July. The
LCC later announced that the building would be taken apart brick by brick and
preserved after all.
In 2006, Starr featured on the
Jerry Lee Lewis duet album, Last Man Standing; he performed a cover, with Lewis,
of Chuck Berry's 'Sweet Little Sixteen'. It was also announced he would be
the star in a Pow! Entertainment animated film and comic book produced by comics
creator Stan Lee.
In the 24 December 2007 issue of
Time (European edition), Starr was profiled in a three-page article focusing on
his happiness in life and his music. The article mentioned the Liverpool 8
album, but only briefly. It also stated that Starr and Dave Stewart were
collaborating on writing a musical, to be called The Hole in the Fence, and
discussed Starr's then-upcoming performance in Liverpool on 11 January 2008.
In January 2008, the studio album
Liverpool 8, produced by Dave Stewart, Mark Hudson and Starr himself, was
released. Mark Hudson was the initial producer of the record but was replaced by
Stewart after a falling out with Starr. (The album's production credits read,
'Produced by Ringo Starr and Mark Hudson; Re-Produced by Ringo Starr and David
Stewart.' All of the songs but one were written with members of the Roundheads,
although Stewart also has several co-writing credits.) Starr's attorney Bruce
Grakal told journalist Peter Palmiere that the partnership between Hudson and
Starr was over and they would never work together again. This happened after
Hudson dropped out of the 2006 tour as musical director to do the TV show The
One: Making a Music Star. According to Palmiere, Hudson now claims that the
split was over Starr's insistence on using synthesised sounds, for which Stewart
is known, whereas Hudson wanted real guitars, pianos, strings etc.
On 10 October 2008, Starr posted a
video on his website stating that he will not be signing autographs after 20
October 2008. He stated that he is too busy and that anything after that date
sent to any address will not be signed.
On 4 April 2009, Starr reunited
with McCartney at the David Lynch 'Change Begins Within' Benefit Concert at
Radio City Music Hall. After separate performances from Starr and other artists,
McCartney's set came last, and towards the end he announced 'Billy Shears',
whereupon Starr joined him to perform 'With a Little Help from My Friends' and,
with all performers, 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'Cosmically Conscious'.
In late May 2009, it was announced that Starr will collaborate with Bob Dylan
and Paul McCartney to record some new tracks to record an entire
Starr appeared on-stage at
Microsoft's 1 June 2009 E3 press conference with Yoko Ono, McCartney and Olivia
Harrison to promote The Beatles: Rock Band video game.
Starr remains the only Beatle not
to top the UK singles charts as a solo artist, although he did chart two number
one singles in the US. He is also the only Beatle not to top the UK album
listings, his highest position being No.7, achieved in the UK with both
Sentimental Journey and Ringo; the latter reached No.2 in the US charts, giving
Starr his highest album position there. In the USA, Starr's Apple singles fared
rather well. Of all four members of the Beatles - in their respective solo
careers - he has the second most consecutive top ten singles in the US with
seven in a row: 'It Don't Come Easy' (No.4), 'Back Off Boogaloo' (No.9),
'Photograph' (No.1), 'You're Sixteen' (No.1), 'Oh My My' (No.5), 'Only You (And
You Alone)' (No.6) and 'No No Song' (No.3). McCartney has the most with eight in
In November 2009, Starr once again
performed the voice of Thomas the Tank Engine for 'The Official BBC Children in
Need Medley'. This is the first No.1 UK hit Starr has been involved in since the
Beatles disbanded in 1970 (not counting guest appearances on other singles by
On 12 January 2010, he released his
fifteenth studio album Y Not. On 13 January 2010, Starr and his band performed
'Walk With You' from the album on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and closed out
the show with a rousing rendition of 'With a Little Help from My Friends'. Starr
also appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, performing with Ben Harper. Starr
was also featured on The Jay Leno Show, where he played 'The Other Side of
Liverpool'. On 22 January 2010, Starr appeared on Hope for Haiti Now: A Global
Benefit for Earthquake Relief as a Celebrity phone operator. Starr appeared
at the 52nd Grammy Awards with Norah Jones to present 'Record Of The Year' to
Kings Of Leon on 31 January 2010 .
On 11 April 2010, Starr appeared on
Weekend Wogan, a live radio show on BBC 2 Radio presented by Sir Terry Wogan, to
promote his album Y Not in the UK and on 12 April 2010 he appeared on Loose
Women, a lunchtime chat show on ITV. On 13 April 2010 Starr appeared on CNN's
Connect the World on CNN International. On 7 July 2010, Starr celebrated his
70th birthday at Radio City Music Hall, New York with another All-Starr Band
concert, topped with friends and family joining him on stage including Yoko Ono
and his son Zak, and Paul McCartney as a surprise guest.
On 13 May 2011, Starr appeared on
The One Show on BBC One, where he announced that he was working on a new album
featuring a song called 'In Liverpool'.
Starr contributed a cover of Buddy
Holly's 'Think It Over' for the tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, which
was released on 6 September 2011.
On 30 January 2012, he released the
album, Ringo 2012.
Starr married Maureen Cox on 11
February 1965 and they had three children Zak (b. 13 September 1965), Jason
(b. 19 August 1967) and Lee (b. 11 November 1970); the couple divorced in
1975, and Cox died in 1994. In 1980, on the set of the film Caveman,
he met actress Barbara Bach, well known for her role as Major Anya Amasova
(female lead and main 'Bond girl') in The Spy Who Loved Me. They were married on
27 April 1981, just a few weeks after the release of Caveman. In 1985,
Starr was the first of the Beatles to become a grandfather upon the birth of
Zak's daughter, Tatia Jayne Starkey.
Zak Starkey is also a drummer, who
until August 2008 was a semi-official member of Oasis—one of the many bands
influenced by the Beatles. Starr arranged for Zak to receive drumming
instruction from Zak's idol, the Who's drummer Keith Moon, who was Zak's
godfather and a close friend of Starr's. Zak also performs with the Who
live (such as during the Super Bowl XLIV Halftime show in 2010) and sometimes in
the studio. Zak has performed with his father during some All-Starr Band
Like fellow ex-Beatle McCartney,
Starr is a vegetarian, albeit for different reasons. McCartney is
vegetarian for ethical reasons, but in Starr's case it is because of stomach
problems he had in the past. As a child, Starr was left-handed until he
became ambidextrous when his grandmother forced him to write with his right
In the Sunday Times Rich List 2011
Starr was listed at number 56 with an estimated personal wealth of £150m.
Starr and Bach split their time between homes in Cranleigh, Surrey; Los
Angeles; and Monte Carlo.
Aside from the Beatles' films A
Hard Day's Night (1964), Help! (1965), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), Yellow
Submarine (1968), Let It Be (1970), Starr has acted in several films such as
Candy (1968), The Magic Christian (1969) (alongside Peter Sellers), Blindman
(1971), Son of Dracula (1974) and Caveman (1981). Starr directed and appeared in
Born to Boogie (1972), a concert film featuring Marc Bolan and T.Rex. For the
1979 documentary film on the Who, The Kids Are Alright, Starr appeared in
interview segments with fellow drummer Keith Moon. He starred as Larry the Dwarf
in Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (1971). His voice is also featured in Harry
Nilsson's animated film The Point! (1971). He appeared in The Last Waltz, the
Martin Scorsese film about the 1976 farewell concert of the Band, a favourite of
the Beatles. He co-starred in That'll Be the Day (1973) as a Teddy Boy. He
played 'The Pope' in Ken Russell's Lisztomania (1975), and a fictionalised
version of himself in the Paul McCartney-penned Give My Regards to Broad Street
Awards and recognition
In the Queen's Birthday Honours of
12 June 1965, Starr and the three other Beatles were appointed Members of the
Order of the British Empire (MBE); they received their insignia from Queen
Elizabeth II at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 26 October. He and the
other Beatles were cumulatively nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
for their performances in the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night. The Beatles won the
Academy Award for 'Best Original Song Score' for the 1970 film Let It Be. Each
Beatle received an Oscar statuette.
The minor planet 4150 Starr,
discovered on 31 August 1984 by Brian A. Skiff at the Anderson Mesa Station of
the Lowell Observatory, was named in his honour. Starr was nominated for a
1989 Daytime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series' for
his role as Mr. Conductor in the television series Shining Time Station.
All four of the Beatles were
elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when the group was inducted in
1988. Since then, Lennon (1994), McCartney (1999) and Harrison (2004) have
been inducted for their solo careers as well. Starr remains the only Beatle not
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo career. However, it
was announced on 5 September 2007 that Starr would be on the ballot for
membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. If Starr is
inducted, it was the only time both a rock group, and each of its individuals
members, were inducted separately.
During the 50th Grammy Awards,
Starr, George Martin and Giles Martin accepted the Best Compilation Soundtrack
award for Love.
On 9 November 2008, Starr accepted
a Diamond Award on behalf of the Beatles during the 2008 World Music Awards
ceremony in Monaco.
On 8 February 2010, Starr was
honoured with the 2,401st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame by the Hollywood
Chamber of Commerce. It is located at 1750 North Vine Street, in front of the
Capitol Records building, as are the stars for Lennon and Harrison.
Sentimental Journey (1970)
Beaucoups of Blues (1970)
Goodnight Vienna (1974)
Ringo's Rotogravure (1976)
Ringo the 4th (1977)
Bad Boy (1978)
Stop and Smell the Roses (1981)
Old Wave (1983)
Time Takes Time (1992)
Vertical Man (1998)
I Wanna Be Santa Claus (1999)
Ringo Rama (2003)
Choose Love (2005)
Liverpool 8 (2008)
Y Not (2010)
Ringo 2012 (2012)
The Beatles Come to Town (1963)
(short subject) – with the Beatles
A Hard Day's Night (1964) – with
Help! (1965) – with the Beatles
Reflections On Love (1966) (short
Magical Mystery Tour (1967) – with
The Beatles Mod Odyssey (1968)
(short subject) – with the Beatles
Yellow Submarine (1968)- with the
The Magic Christian (1969)
Let It Be (1970) (documentary) –
with the Beatles
Music! (1971) (documentary)
200 Motels (1971)
The Point! (1971) (Narrator on Home
Did Somebody Drop His Mouse? (1972)
The Concert for Bangladesh (1972)
Born to Boogie (1972) (documentary)
That'll Be the Day (1973)
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from
Mars (1973) (documentary)
Son of Dracula (1974)
The Day the Music Died (1977)
The Beatles and Beyond (1977)
Ringo (1978) TV film
The Last Waltz (1978) (documentary)
The Kids Are Alright (1979)
The Cooler (1982) (short subject)
Give My Regards to Broad Street
Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends
Water (1985) (Cameo)
Alice in Wonderland (1985)
Sun City/The Making of Sun City
Queen: The Magic Years (1987)
Walking After Midnight (1988)
The Return of Bruno (1988)
Shining Time Station (1989) (Mr.
'The Simpsons' (1991)
The Beatles Anthology (1995)
(documentary) – with the Beatles
Concert for George (2003)
Oh My God (2009) (documentary)
George Harrison: Living in the
Material World (2011) (documentary)
All-Starr Band editions
To date, Starr has toured with
eleven versions of his All-Starr Band, where 'everybody on stage is a star in
their own right.'
The band has consistently toured for over a decade, and,
in similar fashion to Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, rotates its line-up depending
on the musicians' projects at a given time.
1.^ a b c d Harry (2004) p44
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52.^ 'Postcards From the Boys'.
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55.^ Interview With John Lennon
And Yoko Ono by David Sheff. Playboy January 1981.
56.^ 'Artists'. Gretsch Drums.
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70.^ Interview clip from
August 1998 interview on The Howard Stern Show during promotion for Vertical Man
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72.^ a b Harry (2004) p7
73.^ Harry (2004) p8
74.^ 'New Generation Goes for a Spin in Olds Ads: Ringo Starr and Peter Graves
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Los Angeles Times.
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14 August 2011.
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118.^ See Lisztomania cast list on imdb
119.^ Give My Regards to Broad Street at imdb
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125.^ Quoted by Ringo on his Tour 2003 CD
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