Ringo Starr was the worst Beatle

Ringo Starr: The Beatles' clown turns 80

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07/07/2020 8:13 pm

He came from a poor background, barely jumped death as a child and made it from temporary drummer to world star: Sir Ringo Starr! The Beatles' clown turns 80 on July 7th.

It's one of the best-known Beatles jokes: when asked if Ringo Starr is the best drummer in the world, John Lennon replies: “He's not even the Beatles' best drummer!” In reality, it was never Lennon who made the statement as Beatles chronicler Mark Lewisohn discovered, but a British comedian.

In the shadow of the three colleagues

Still, it fitted Ringo Starr's public image for many years. In “Beatlemania” times, the drummer was creatively overshadowed by his colleagues. While Lennon played the intellectual at the Fab Four, Paul McCartney the sun boy and George Harrison the introvert, Beatles manager Brian Epstein had planned for him the role of prankster. Nobody would have thought it possible at the time that Starr would be busy into old age with 20 released solo albums and regular tours with his all-Starr band and appear as fit and healthy as if he had been drinking buckets of the fountain of youth. Born Richard Starkey in the working-class Liverpool district, the musician and actor will turn 80 on July 7th.

What does he want for his birthday? The same thing as every year: That people flood the social networks with “Peace & Love”, underpinned by the corresponding hand signal that Starr has internalized himself. This year it is particularly important to him, Ringo recently made clear in a video message on his Instagram page. And not just because he supports David Lynch's charity project for the helpers in the Corona crisis. "As you all know, the tour is canceled because of the virus’ that is buzzing around. I won't be playing concerts again until next year, ”said the artist, who was knighted in 2018 and has held the Sir title ever since. “I miss you and I love you. Wherever you are, please don't forget July 7th. Peace & Love! "

Bacterial phobia

The fact that Starr has reached 80 Lenze borders on a miracle, because he was not born healthy. As a steppe he had tuberculosis and spent two years in the sanatorium. At the age of six he was in a coma for almost three weeks after complications from appendicitis. Later he developed a chronic pleurisy, so that his single mother had to reckon with the worst. Who could blame Starr for preventing all handshakes at face-to-face meetings long before the Covid 19 pandemic? Unfortunately, he not only suffers from allergies, he also has a bacterial phobia!

His failures in school made him a late bloomer when it came to reading and writing, but at least he was given a drum in the room early on. “When I was 13 at the latest, it was my dream to become a drummer. I didn't want to be a guitarist or anything else. I wanted to be a drummer, ”the man with the loyal dog eyes recalled in an interview in 2017. The rest is history: the sick Richard Starkey became the world-class drummer Ringo Starr, who continues to influence drumming contenders around the world to this day.

It started as a substitute

In 2015 Paul McCartney made it clear that without him there would have been neither the Beatles nor their sound with the laudation to his friend, who was the last of the Fab Four to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo work. On an evening in Hamburg, where both the Beatles and Ringo had engagements as part of the band Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, he jumped in for their sick drummer Pete Best. "That was when the Beatles really started," said McCartney. Or in the words of Ringo in an interview with this newspaper in 2017: “In Hamburg I switched from one number one band to the next.” In contrast to the Beatles amateurs, the former factory worker Starkey was already good at his Instrument.

Nevertheless, his musical contribution was often ridiculed. In the Beatles' films, he was the clown. For her records, Ringo sang “Yellow Submarine” and “With A Little Help From My Friends” with his baritone voice and wrote “Don’t Pass Me By” and the beautiful “Octopus’s Garden”. The captain of the yacht of his comedian friend Peter Sellers († 1980) had told him about the life of the octopuses and how they set up a kind of garden out of collected belongings underwater in front of their caves. That inspired the nature-loving Ringo to his biggest hit. Because the said song made it to “Sesame Street” and it also implemented the topic for a children's book, it also became a star for adolescents. Experts now agree that he was the best drummer they could get for the Liverpool group. With his wild, pulsating, virtuoso and at the same time precise style, the beat pioneer became the pacemaker of the Beatles. In the US, he is said to have received most of the fan mail from everyone during the weddings - and it never stopped, so that in 2008 Starr urged him in a video appeal not to send him any more things to sign.

Praise from Yoko Ono

Lennon's widow Yoko Ono even described Ringo as "the most influential Beatle". With his peacefulness, his heart and his humor he became the soul of the fantastic four. He grounded the successful high flyers. He stayed out of arguments. No wonder that Peace & Love became his life motto. But even he could not prevent the dissolution of the Beatles. After the break, he took refuge in alcohol for a long time. His marriage to his first wife broke up; Zak Starkey of his three children followed him into the profession; he occasionally drummed for Oasis and The Who. In 1980, the actor Ringo met the love of his life on the film set of "Caveman - Who Came Out of the Cave": The Bond girl Barbara Bach ("The Spy Who Loved Me") became his second wife, and neither of them let a party between lots Angeles, London and Monte Carlo. In 1988 Ringo went on rehab and has been on the health trip ever since. Eating carrots would keep him young and healthy and meditation would keep his mind fit, says the wiry and sporty vegetarian.

Married for 39 years

However, he finds out the secret of his 39-year marriage as follows: “My wife shows me the way and puts me down when I get upset. She does that in a very amiable way. This also includes the fact that she yells at me sometimes, "jokes Starr, and admits:" There are good and bad days in our marriage, too. Even with us it is sometimes not without tears, we have had our problems in the past. But in the end it works between us. A squeezed out toothpaste tube has not been able to sabotage that so far. ”He's still got the joke on his neck.

Rigid is at peace with himself and his past. And his friendship with Paul McCartney is deeper than ever. Her last musical reunion for the time being took place in 2019 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. There was probably no one in the audience who didn't get goose bumps down their backs when the two of them fell into each other's arms, then followed by pieces like “Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band ”and“ Helter Skelter ”on a nostalgic trip - and that really wild! “It was magical,” reflected McCartney in an interview with Howard Stern in April 2020. “I turn around, see him sitting there and just think: This is Ringo, man! This is my brother. I love this guy! ”And he's not alone in that. (Katja Schwemmers)