(Photos: Paul Zollo)
Here in Hollywood, where we see stars and icons every day, there are still none that touch the pantheon of The Beatles. And so the excitement was electric all morning, as it was Ringo Starr’s 74th birthday, and the Beatle himself was here. In a continuation of his pacific tradition, he met with friends and fans both in front of Capitol Records on Vine Street in the heart of Hollywood to give the old peace sign – a sign he’s continued to flash through the years as it has faded and returned to mass consciousness – at 12 noon, urging fans around the world to post peace sign photos at #peacerocks.
The occasion is a tradition that Ringo has started each year to promote peace and love. This year he also used it to launch his new role as a “male model” for a John Varvatos ad campaign. It’s a campaign he is participating in because it will raise significant money and awareness for the David Lynch Foundation, with which he’s been working.
Varvatos was present, as was Mrs. Ringo Starr – Barbara Bach – and a great assemblage of friends and All-Starr Members, including the legendary director David Lynch, as well as Joe Walsh (Ringo’s brother-in-law), Edgar Winter, Paul Stanley, Todd Rundgren, Don Was, Benmont Tench (Heartbreakers), Steve Lukather (Toto) and Greg Rollie (Santana).
Ringo looked great, quite slender and full of happy energy in his black suit, peace-embroidered t-shirt, and big belt with a peace buckle. Though famous for his recent pronouncement that he will never sign another autograph, he happily leapt into the big crowd lacing the iconic tower, to distribute white bracelets with three stars and the words “Peace & Love.”
Don Was opened the event, welcoming one and all, and was soon joined by Lynch, who smiled his famous smile and said in distinctive Lynchian tones, “Happy Birthday to Ringo Starr!” He then introduced his friend, whom he aptly described with much vocal verve, as “the coolest guy on the planet!”
Lynch and Ringo teamed up a while back to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for this organization that brings techniques of transcendental meditation to students and military vets.
Ringo sprung – literally – to the stage, grabbed the mic, and welcomed the crowds of young and not-as-young Beatles fans who flocked here. He then joked that he had taken on a new job – that of “male model” in a Varvatos ad campaign – in which the company will donate $1 to the David Lynch Foundation for every “peace & love” selfie posted at #peacerocks.
Joe Walsh led the crowd in “Happy Birthday” to his old pal before Ringo leapt into the crowd, stirring up more Beatlemania than has been on this street since McCartney’s birthday here in June.
Many local luminaries were in attendance to celebrate this momentous event, including singer-songwriter Fernando Perdomo. “There is nothing as great as The Beatles,” he said. “No way we were gonna miss this!”
Ringo Starr with “Peace & Love” bracelets
Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach
Todd Rundgren, Don Was, and Edward Winter