What would Ringo Starr's career have been like if he had said "No" in August 1962? Surely he would never have been so successful as a musician if he had refused the offer from John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison to succeed the fired drummer Pete Best.
Fortunately for Ringo, he chose the Beatles. On Tuesday (July 7th) the drummer will be 80 years old.
Richard Starkey was born an uncle in Liverpool on July 7, 1940. He grew up in the harsh working-class district of Dingle. Little Richy dreamed of a career as a seafarer in the port city. Two serious illnesses shaped his childhood. He survived peritonitis in primary school. At the age of 13 he developed tuberculosis and had to spend two years in the hospital. During this time he is said to have discovered his passion for drumming.
In the late 1950s, he established himself as a drummer in Liverpool's skiffle and rock'n'roll scene and played with various bands. At that time he was considered by many to be the best drummer in the region. Ringo Starr later said in interviews that he always wanted to be just a drummer, it was in his blood. He got the name Ringo because he liked jewelry and wore many rings on his hand.
He met his three later band colleagues in Hamburg, where he performed with Rory Storm And The Hurricanes in the Kaiserkeller near the Reeperbahn – like the Beatles. In Hamburg he has already played with the Beatles on several occasions. And they got the impression that Ringo would suit them better than Pete Best.
Back in Liverpool, Starr stepped in for Beat's manager Brian Epstein's request several times until he became a permanent member of the band in August 1962. Producer George Martin is also said to have spoken in favor of this. Initially, fans reacted annoyed. After performing at the famous Cavern Club, Best fans protested against Ringo and even became palpable. George Harrison is said to have got a black eye.
The anger was quickly forgotten, and a year later the Beatlemania broke out only in Great Britain and then worldwide. John, Paul, George and Ringo became superstars around the world. During their ten years of active existence, the Beatles shaped music history like no other band and continue to do so to this day.
Starr didn't just drum. With his distinctive, somewhat flat and nasal baritone, he sang a song as a lead singer on almost every album. Moody numbers like "Yellow Submarine" (on "Revolver", 1966), "With a Little Help from My Friends" ("Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", 1967) and "Octopus's Garden" ("Abbey Road", 1969 ) are cult today, although he was never a brilliant singer.
Even the oldest Beatle was criticized for his drums. A British comedian joked in the early 80s: «Ringo is not the best drummer in the world. He's not even the Beatles' best drummer. »
The joke continues to haunt the musician to this day. "I never had a problem with it," he said in the BBC interview about the criticism. "I didn't like that, but that's why I didn't stop playing the way I play." Some consider it overrated, others for a brilliant clock with a lot of feeling. The fact is: As a member of the Fab Four, Ringo Starr became immortal.
After the breakup of the Beatles, he began a solo career, the climax of which was the album "Ringo" (1973). In addition to stars such as Nilsson, T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan and soul singer Billy Preston, the other ex-Beatles also participated as guest musicians. The singles "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen" became number one hits in the USA.
Ringo Starr found his happiness privately with his second wife Barbara Bach. He met the model and ex-bond girl ("The Spy Who Loved Me") while filming the slapstick comedy "Caveman – Who came from the cave" (1981). The marriage continues to this day.
Starr's musical career, on the other hand, got a kink at the end of the 1970s. The albums "Ringo The 4th" (1977), "Bad Boy" (1978) and "Stop And Smell The Roses" (1981) became commercial flops. There were also private dramas. Starr survived a serious car accident, had to cope with the death of John Lennon, and his enormous alcohol and drug use was getting out of control.
At the end of the 80s, Bach and he went on a withdrawal treatment together. "I was scared at the beginning," Starr told Rolling Stone magazine last year. "I didn't know how to do anything when you weren't drunk, that's how it got there." The couple has been dry and healthy for over 30 years.
After the withdrawal, Ringo founded his All-Starr Band, with whom he continues to tour with a changing cast. Singers and musicians such as Steve Lukather (Toto), Gregg Rolie (Santana / Journey) or Peter Frampton play his solo and Beatles songs with Ringo, but also perform their own hits. The audience at the atmospheric concerts consists of several generations. Between the songs, the fans celebrate the cult musician with «Ringo! Ringo! »- Call.
The sunglasses and the peace sign have become the trademark of the charismatic musician over the years. "Peace & Love" is his motto with which he greets people and provides his messages on social media. He seems to be at peace with himself.
Last year Ringo Starr released his 20th album entitled "What's My Name". At 80, the next tour, which should have taken place this year, has long been planned for 2021. The Briton, who has been able to call himself Sir Richard Starkey since Prince William's knighthood in 2018, is apparently in excellent health. "Broccoli and fitness training" is the recipe, he joked in an interview for the "Hard Rock Café" chain.
Fortunately, Ringo Starr made the right decision in 1962, without even knowing what it would lead to. «I never really did anything to achieve what came of it. It just came into being, »he said very modestly. "I didn't do anything except say yes."