“Ringo, how does it feel to turn 80?” Asked Joe Walsh (ex-guitarist for The Eagles), and Ringo Starr Thus he responded on the night of this July 7, in his online celebration show and to benefit the fight against the pandemic: “Joe, I don’t know. In my mind I am still 24 years old! ”. He raised his fingers in a V and remarked his revolutionary healing phrase against universal pain: “¡Peace and love!”.
From 21 to 22.10 (Argentine time) passed “Ringo’s Big Birthday Show”, free and on YouTube. The virtual charitable event that Ringo Starr commanded to celebrate his 80 years, with legendary musician friends who gave affectionate greetings, songs and empathetic words to the social sectors affected by COVID-19. Who were the beneficiaries? The Black Lives Matter organization, The David Lynch Foundation, and the MusiCares and WaterAid organizations (via Ringo’s Lotus Foundation).
“Peace and love!”, Ringo remarked at this massive party (already a global tradition every year, and now virtual) and which served as the world premiere of the video for his song “Give More Love”, from his self-titled album of 2017 And the jewel, in addition to being able to see Ringo sitting behind his Ludwig drum set saying phrases of planetary brotherhood, was the wide legion of guests online: Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, Bob Geldof, George Harrison’s widow, George Martin’s son, and of course the entire Starkey family.
“Happy 80th birthday, Ringo!” Intoned those summoned, in their multicolored voices. Among those scheduled was Paul McCartney, but the genius Beatle was only there from a concert recorded at the close. The announced performance sent by the Orquesta-Escuela de Chascomús did not finally enter either., although they had already been in the 2017 edition (thanks to the good efforts, among others, of the Nube 9 drummer, Martín “Vasco” Urionaguena) and they are already part of the memory of Starr’s annual celebration.
At 9pm, on time, wearing a chinstrap with the peace sign and a roll of his Ludwig, Ringo introduced himself like this: “Welcome! This commemoration of my 80 years will be unconventional, since I will have many friends at a distance ”. There were evocations of that celebration of 2017 in which he blew the candles in front of the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, and continued: “I would not be here without the love and support of so many friends. Remember this is a charity party ”.
The videograph indicated the number “707070” to motivate donations by text message (only in the United States). “Let’s start with a song that George Harrison helped me write,” Ringo smiled, before “It Don’t Come Easy”: the first single, from 1971, from his solo stage. After a roncanrolera version, recovered from an old recital with his All-Starr Band, he said two mystical words in tribute to George Harrison: “Hare Krishna”.
There was 93 thousand people connected to “Ringo’s Big Birthday Show”, via YouTube. From his mansion, his wife Barbara Bach sang “Happy Birthday” to him and Sheila E (Prince’s ex-cussionist and chorus girl) appeared to perform “Come Together”, in a plan to vindicate African American rights. Not coincidentally, with words in off the boxer Joe Jackson, who died in 1946. Just this Monday, Donald Trump granted him posthumous pardon. In 1913 he had been convicted of having an affair with a white woman and lost his heavyweight title.
The anti-racist power plowed through the “Ringo’s Big Birthday Show” also in memory of George Floyd, killed by the police on May 25. For this reason, Sheila E sang “Come Together” with black funk power, played with two timpani and a cymbal (accompanied online by Ringo) and on an electric soul background she said goodbye singing “All You Need Is Love” y, claro, “¡peace and love!”.
Ringo returned to his role as host behind his Ludwig drums. “We have to thank those who take care of us in the midst of this pandemic. Heal the healers. That is something that the David Lynch Foundation Health Center does very well, ”said Starr, referring to the filmmaker of the white jopo. The images of health professionals gave way to Lynch himself and Bob Geldof, musician and organizer of the Live Aid charity (from 1985), who added jokes for Ringo from the English countryside.
In black and white, Sheryl Crow emerged to do “All You Need Is Love “, singing and playing all instruments: ukulele, accordion, bass, cello, piano, tambourine. There were already 113 thousand viewers online. “All you need is Love. It’s like that, really, ”Ringo remarked. “In the face of COVID-19 we must keep our distance and wash our hands. This may sound very simple, but millions do not have water every day. This video from the WaterAid Foundation is going to show it ”.
Although Ringo did not lose his humorous touch: he did the elbow salute with Joe Walsh, who would sing a punk-rock version of “Boys “, and when” Photograph “, the great Starr hit of 1973 (written with Harrison), played, there was a flashback of his immense life: from baby until these 80 years. Of every moment of happiness, exposure and intimacy: with The Beatles and all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, pure emotion and musical sensitivity.
Tatia Jayne Starkey, his 34-year-old granddaughter, sang “Happy Birthday” and the honoree confessed: “This gesture of ‘peace and love’ was born spontaneously on one of my previous birthdays. It was something so simple and powerful that everyone adopted it”. Then he received more greetings from Roy Orbison Jr. and even from Giles Martin (musical arranger and son of George Martin, the producer of The Beatles): “Ringo, you always supported me, and I know that my dad remembers you and misses you from heaven. ”.
It was there that Ringo contrasted the pop hysteria of the 1960s and Beatlemania (“when the world changed enormously”) to the segregation that plagued the United States. “Racism seems crazy to us,” said a youthful Paul McCartney at one of The Beatles’ first press conferences in North America. And archives of struggles for civil equality, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and how the Fab Four helped spread awareness amid racial hatred multiplied.
“It was the right thing to do then and it will be the right thing to do now. Many of our great idols were black: Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Billy Eckstine ”, remembered Ringo, before the filming of the current marches against the murder of George Floyd. “Let’s say it again: Black Lives Matter,” the 80-year-old icon waved. There he introduced Dave Grohl (on drums), along with Ben Harper (on lap steel guitar). And the albino musician Edgar Winter gave away: “Ringo, you are a great ambassador of peace and love throughout the world.”
Right at 9:40 p.m. the video for “Give More Love” was released: one of those melodies so Beatle that they achieve commotion. The video clip was full of colleagues, with “flower-power” motifs, repeating “Give More Love”: Peter Frampton, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Micahel McDonald, Keb Mo, Jeff Bridges, Kenny Loggins, T-Bone Burnett , Ray Wylie Hubbard and even country legend Willie Nelson. With his exact beats, his kind and somewhat nasal voice, Ringo Starr accompanied them, moved.
“This pandemic strangled musical activity around the world, and for this reason the benefits of this birthday will also be for MusiCares,” he added, near goodbye, when he presented an ultra-electric version of “Come Together”, by Gary Clark Jr. , from a live festival (with an audience). Love was provided by director Ron Howard, Olivia Harrison (George’s widow), Mick Fleetwood, and Lee Starkey, 49, with their family.
Ringo responded to the affections with new drumbeats of his Ludwig drums: “This is what I do. Thanks to everyone who was in my band throughout all these years ”, he said, along with another memory of the All-Starr Band: a live performance of“ With A Little Help From My Friends ”, and whose final melted with the hymn “Give Peace A Chance”, de John Lennon.
Thus came the goodbye to the 80 years of this other symbol of peace: Ringo Starr. “Missing Paul! Paul is missing! ”Joe Walsh rushed to say. And in another recorded video they were seen again together: Ringo, playing “Helter Skelter”, live, with the band and Paul McCartney himself. In a packed stadium, the two eternal elders merged into a rock embrace for the teammates gone and for the years that will come once the pandemic is behind us.
“This was it, friends,” Ringo closed, again with his fingers in V, before 110 thousand people online. He blew out the candles, and, with his voice in the background singing “Good Night” (the end of the White Album), at 22.06, the most famous drummer in the world went to rest.