It’s a special special day for Beatles fans – it’s Ringo Starr’s birthday! Even though he doesn’t look a day above 40, it is his 80th birthday. Usually, there would be a “Peace and Love” moment in Los Angeles and 27 other countries around the world at noon.
However, this year is obviously different because of the Coronavirus pandemic. So, he would have to settle an online celebration that will raise funds for the Black Lives Matter movement and other charities. In a recent interview, Ringo talked about racism in America and the upcoming Beatles documentary as well.
How COVID-19 ruined Ringo’s birthday celebrations
Normally, Ringo Starr would have a “Peace and Love” moment at noon on his birthday every year since 2008. It started with Ringo wanting to have that moment at noon after a countdown. And so, his friends organized it for him, because who doesn’t love Ringo?
But then, Ringo Starr and his friends built on this tradition overtime, by organizing different bands to play for Ringo all around the world. IT grew so much that the tradition grew across 27 countries! He recalls:
When we’re in LA, which I am now, we have a big stage put up by the Capitol Records building in Hollywood and we have bands playing, friends come and play for the audience and we have a big brunch.
However, for his big 80th birthday, Ringo Starr will not be having a big get together.
We were planning it (for LA) but things have changed. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world as there’s a virus everywhere. So I’ve asked my friends (to play at home), or send me footage from a show they’ve done. I’m using some of mine from the Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band tour last year, and I’ll be introducing.
This year, it’s being called the “Ringo’s Big Birthday Show”, and the show will include fellow Beatle, Paul McCartney, All Starr Band guitarist Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr, Sheryl Crow, Sheila E, and Ben Harper, who will perform from their homes. It will be a charitable event, with the proceeds going to the Black Lives Matter movement, the David Lynch Foundation, the charity MusiCares and many others. And that brings us to Ringo’s opinion on racial equality and racism in America.
Ringo on Racism in America
It’s no secret that Ringo Starr and all the other Beatles have always had strong opinions against racism. Paul McCartney’s Blackbird is pretty much an anthem for against racism ever since the song was released. And the Beatles were astute in their stand against segregation and racism back in the 60s. More recently, Ringo is keeping a close eye on the Black Lives Matter Movement as well. HE expressed that he is giving his;
…continuous support to everyone marching and speaking up for justice and a better world.
Moreover, Ringo Starr also mentioned how many of their inspirations were Black musicians. He was so heavily inspired by Lightin’ Hopkins that he even tried to emigrate to Houston, just to be near him. Imagine if that had happened! Ringo recalls:
All of our heroes were black, from Ray Charles to Lightnin’ Hopkins, any way you want to go. Stevie Wonder was one of them . . . When I was 19 I tried to emigrate to Houston, Texas. I wanted to be where Lightnin’ Hopkins was, my all-time favourite blues player.
Furthermore, Ringo also recalls when The Beatles as a band took a stand against segregation, even when it would have benefitted their career in the short term:
We refused to play in Mississippi, we didn’t dig segregation . . . So everywhere we went we said, ‘we play to all people, and people are people’. And they said ‘OK’. In the South, that was a first for us, and a first for them.
The upcoming Beatles film
And finally, Ringo Starr was asked about his thoughts on the upcoming The Beatles: Get Back. Peter Jackson, the famous creator of Lord of the Rings trilogy will direct this documentary, using footage from the “live show on the roof of the Apple building”. Ringo talked about the film, saying:
We found 56 hours of unused footage. We asked Peter Jackson to help us, and he put the concert together and it’s incredible. In the first version, there wasn’t a lot of joy, too many down moments, and in this one, we’re all laughing and having fun. It’s got a joyous outlook.
In the end, Ringo in his typically optimistic mood remembers the Beatles in a very positive manner, despite the messy breakup:
Look, I was in the best band in the world, and I loved those guys, they were brothers to me, I had three brothers. Life has been very kind to me.
But, he also gives us a reminder of his birthday! No one loves birthdays more than Ringo Starr:
July 7 is my birthday, and at noon I hope you’ll spread Peace and Love wherever you are. That’s the deal, OK? We’re still on the road!”