It’s funny how life goes. 73 years ago a boy was born in Liverpool. As a child, Richard Starkey was sickly little kid from the rough tough neighborhood called the Dingle. A place in Liverpool that is so wild and violent that even today tour buses zip through the area not wanting to have any confrontations with the local gangs. Young Richy managed to survive this rather scary environment. No small feat considering the poverty surrounding him. Most incredible of all, he grew up to be an international music icon, a bona fide legend in his own time. At one time he had toyed with the idea of coming to America as a teenager and starting a life in the “new world”. Luckily for him, luckily for the world at large he abandoned that course and remained home. His prowess as a drummer lead him down an interesting path and he achieved quite a bit of local fame as the man pounding the skins for Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. He was quite well-known on the local circuit which eventually connected him to John, Paul and George. Ringo Starr turned 73 yesterday. Quite a milestone in a life of milestones. I could fill 10 blogs 100 times over listing the amazing things he has done. The stories have been told and told again. The books and the films fill the archives. Ringo has lived many lives. Son, father, husband, musician, BEATLE, songwriter, actor, comedian, photographer, writer, and along with Paul McCartney “keeper of the flame” as it were. John and George have departed this life and it must be a heavy weight to be the survivors of a legend so deep, so pervasive, so entrenched in pop culture. These are the only two men alive who can possible know what it’s like to have lived their fantasy lives of extreme notoriety.
These days he tours the world with his ALL-STAR BAND performing and spreading his message of “Peace & Love,,,Peace & Love”…simple words and ideas from an earlier time…an earlier generation. Outwardly he seems to have remained the man he has always been. A friendly, down to earth sort, with a little in the way of pop star airs. He did have that one brush with the memorabilia hustlers a few years back, but his attitude was I believe, quite understandable.
Ringo is not remembered as a visionary. That mantle goes to Lennon. He won’t be remembered as a spectacular instrumentalist. McCartney has claimed that title (though Ringo’s drum work with the Beatles was downright revolutionary in many ways) Spiritualist? Harrison was known to have been the Beatle who lived a life of deep spiritual meaning. What then is the legacy he has created? In some small ways maybe he can claim a piece of ALL of these things. But what comes shining through is a quiet humility…a humble self-deprecating persona…a good natured good guy who always tried to do his best and who continues to carry the weight in an amiable and creative way.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO. Your milestones are the yard sticks by which we measure an entire generation, and the many others that have continued to follow. Has it really been nearly 50 years since the Liverpool Shuffle?