They Say It’s Your Birthday, Ringo Starr

Ringo gets by with a little help from his friends. Photo by Paul Zollo

Since the summer of 1965, when The Beatles first performed to a crazed, sold-out crowd at the Hollywood Bowl, the lads have been consistently bringing their expansively electric spirit to this Western town under the big sign. That spirit was as vital as ever this past Sunday, July 7 — Ringo’s 79th birthday — when the drummer appeared here surrounded by famous friends for the celebration of his birthday in front of Capitol Records on Vine Street. 

It’s a tradition which began at a 2008 event in Chicago in which Ringo turned his birthday into a worldwide vision of peace, urging people around the globe to unite on this day to promote this idea considered arcane by many: love and peace. Fans around the world were urged to pray for peace at noon wherever they were, and to post the hashtag @peaceandlove. Nearly thirty cities participated this year, as listed below. 

With rare exceptions, Ringo has held this event in Hollywood, in front of the home of the Beatles’ music in America, Capitol Records. (Last year he was in Nice, France, with his All-Starr Band, and did it there.) This year he was back on Vine Street with a big group of luminaries, including his friend the legendary director David Lynch, who introduced Ringo to the crowd. Ringo has long heralded The David Lynch Foundation’s work to teach meditation to those in need around the world. 

Other famous friends and loved ones who surrounded him at the outdoor event, and also at the party afterwards in Capitol’s famed studio, included Ringo’s wife, Barbara Bach (who always calls him “Richie”), Benmont Tench, Peter Asher, Nils Lofgren, Jim Keltner, Richard Lewis, Jeffrey Ross, Peter Jackson, Don Was, Edgar Winter, Sheila E., Ed Begley, Chris Carter and others. 

Ringo’s long-time compadre, filmmaker David Lynch, introduced the Beatle during the ceremony.

David Lynch said that he started transcendental meditation (TM) back in 1973. “But I had no idea how powerful and profound this technique could be,” he said, “until I saw firsthand how it was being practiced by young children in inner-city schools, veterans who suffer the living hell of post-traumatic stress disorder and women and girls who are victims of terrible violence.” 

“So in 2005, we started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace to ensure that every child anywhere in the world who wanted to learn to meditate could do so.” They thrive on the work and donations of foundations, philanthropists, “and everyday people who want to ease the suffering of others — and who want to help create a better world.”          

“If you don’t already meditate,” he added, “take my advice: Start. It will be the best decision you ever make.”

Millions of fans participated around the world online and at events in these cities:

Chascomus, Argentina, 

Yerevan,  Armenia
Sydney, Australia
La Paz, Bolivia
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Sao Paulo, Brazil 

Halifax, Canada
Bogota, Columbia
San Jose, Costa Rica
San Salvador, El Salvador
Tallin, Estonia 

Paris, France
Hamburg, Germany

Halle, Germany
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Venice, Italy
Osaka, Japan

Tokyo, Japan
Lima, Peru
Moscow, Russia
Barcelona, Spain

Madrid, Spain
London, England
Liverpool, England

And the music doesn’t stop. On August 1, Ringo and his All-Starr band will start the 30th year of their summer tour, which wraps up here in his adopted home, at the Greek Theater in Hollywood. 

Happy Birthday Ringo! Love and peace forever. 

Songwriter and former Prince collaborator Sheila E. took part in the festivities.