Ringo Starr in a press photo
Born in Liverpool, Sir Richard Starkey, known professionally as Ringo Starr, was the drummer for a band called The Beatles. The compilation album 1 can summarize the extent of their popularity. Released in 2000, it features all 27 of their songs to chart #1 in the U.S. or U.K.
In 1965, the FAB 4 requested to see a real American diner during their second U.S. tour and Bob’s Big Boy Burbank was lucky enough to fill this need to become a part of Beatlemania.
Ringo as a youth
Labeled “the funny Beatle” by the mainstream press, Ringo did win praise from critics for his delivery of deadpan one-liners in the film A Hard Days Night (1964). He should be known as “the glue” for his drums holding songs together and his humble personality holding the band together.
The glue of the Beatles
As a kid he contracted tuberculosis. He joined the hospital band, leading to his first exposure of a percussion instrument. The drums suited Ringo, his playing style emphasized feel over technical virtuosity. As a left-handed drummer playing a right-handed drum set, he developed a unique style and never changed it.
Gene Autry was Ringo’s first musical hero. Another early influence was Hank Williams. His stage name “Ringo Starr” was derived from the rings he wore and also because it implied a country and western influence.
The early formation of the band was taking place as early as 1957, but their thirteen full-length albums (one a double) happened in just a mind-bending seven years: Please Please Me (1963), With the Beatles (1963), A Hard Day's Night (1964), Beatles for Sale (1964), Help! (1965), Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper's (1967), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), The White Album (1968), Yellow Submarine (1969), Abbey Road (1969), and Let It Be (1970).
“I am quite happy with one little track on each album,” Ringo once said. His cover of Carl Perkins’ "Honey Don’t", "What Goes On", "Yellow Submarine", "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Don’t Pass Me By", and "Octopus’s Garden" are some of Ringo’s greatest songs. The latter two earned him sole songwriting credits.
“The drum fills on ‘A Day In The Life’ are very complex things. You could take a great drummer today and say, ‘I want it like that.’ They wouldn’t know what to do.” Genesis drummer Phil Collins said in a 1992 interview. Police drummer Stewart Copeland once said, “Ringo is the leader in the education for all young drummers of style over flash, always playing the right things rather than a lot of things.” Ringo feels his finest drumming performance was on “Rain”.
1965 Hollywood Bowl concert poster
The Beatles stormed Southern California after their release of Help! (1965). They had four nights off where they stayed in Benedict Canyon from August 23rd to 27th. On the night of August 27th, just days after dining at Bob’s Big Boy Burbank, they would meet their idol Elvis at his home in Bel Air. After playing San Diego on August 28th, they played The Hollywood Bowl consecutive nights, August 29th and 30th.
Single cover for It Don't Come Easy
Following the breakup of the Beatles, Ringo released the non-album single, “It Don’t Come Easy” (1971). The song was produced and co-written by George Harrison. They performed it together at Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh shows in New York City. The song peaked at #1 in Canada and #4 in both the U.S. and U.K.
Unfortunately, post-Beatles, hit albums didn’t come easy for Ringo. His solo debut album Sentimental Journey (1970) is a charming recording of mostly pre-rock showtunes. His country roots appear deep on his second album Beaucoups of Blues (1970).
His third solo album, self-titled Ringo (1973), achieved success with the song “"Photograph". Co-written with George Harrison, it reached #1 in the U.S. The album would garner another #1 with the cover of "You’re Sixteen", made popular by rockabilly star Johnny Burnette in 1960. The innovative music video for the song features Carrie Fisher, daughter of Bob’s Big Boy Burbank Hall-of-Famer Debbie Reynolds, as his love interest.
Ringo with a sandwich
Answering for all the Beatles in a radio interview about what they liked to eat, he said, "We eat steak usually if we go out. Steak and chips." From a 1960’s Bob’s menu, Ringo may have ordered the Steak Sandwich which is described as: Tasty, Tender and Tempting Spencer Steak Served American Sandwich Style with Lettuce, Tomato, Mayonnaise and French Fries.
In a teenage gossip magazine listing Ringo’s loves versus hates, it says he loves "travelling fast in a powerful car." His first car was French, a 1964 Facel Vega, similar in luxury to a Rolls Royce in its day. He also owned a candy apple red 1968 Ford Mustang for some time.
'57 Ringo Starr Bel Air
Legendary car customizer George Barris modified a 1957 Chevy Bel Air hardtop for him to be given away as the grand prize in a sweepstakes. Ringo loved the car so much, they made him another one as a convertible. The Ringo Starr Bel Air prompted a curious John and Yoko to pull up in a limo outside George’s shop.
The original Thomas The Tank Engine
Ringo was the first narrator for Thomas the Tank Engine (1984 and 1986), narrating the first two series. He also played “Mr. Conductor” on Shining Time Station (1989-90).
He was the “The Mock Turtle” in the two part TV movie miniseries, Alice in Wonderland (1985), with Bob’s Big Boy Burbank Hall-of-Famer’s Jonathan Winters as “Humpty Dumpty” and Martha Raye as “The Duchess”.
David Lynch and Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr starts every morning with meditating first. He has become a friend of Bob’s Big Boy Burbank Hall-of-Famer David Lynch and active in the David Lynch Foundation, an organization that raises awareness of Transcendental Meditation. Lynch wrote the forward to his book Another Day in the Life (2019).
In 2018, the Duke of Cambridge knighted Ringo (yes, Sir Ringo!) for his “services to music.”
The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and Ringo as a solo artist in 2015.
Sir Ringo and a '56 Chevy