A Few Moments with Ringo Today

He announced his birthday plans for what will be his 80th birthday celebration on July 7th, which will be live online due to the lockdown

Ringo at his birthday celebration at Capitol Records, July 7, 2015.

Just moments ago, Ringo Starr held an online press conference to announce his change of plans for his annual birthday celebration on Tuesday, July 7.

This year is not just any birthday for the Beatle. It’s a big one. He is turning 80. He will have the distinction of being the first Beatle to reach his ninth decade. With hope and expectation Paul will join him in two years, when he becomes 80.

Today he was asked by a writer how he felt about being this age: “You are turning 80,” said the writer. “How old do you really feel?”

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Ringo answered immediately. “24,” he said. “It’s true. I feel like I am 24. I know when we were younger and would think about turning 80, it was “What? 80? That is crazy.”

“But this is what 80 is,” he said. “And so many people are making it to 100 now. So that is what I am doing. I am aiming for 100.”

For many years now he’s maintained a great Hollywood tradition, with a little help from his friends always, giving a big party at Capitol Records in Hollywood, both outside for the fans and inside for friends and family.

It starts always outside on Vine Street, in front of the famous Capitol Tower. For the fans. Always famous friends and loved ones would be in attendance, including his wife of 38 years, Barbara Bach (who always calls him “Richie,” endearingly) as well as Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, Benmont Tench, Dave Stewart, Jim Keltner, and others.

Ringo at his birthday party, 2019. Photo by Paul Zollo/American Songwriter

Also non-musical luminaries would attend, including Richard Lewis, Jeff Ross, and others.  David Lynch was always present, as he and Ringo are good friends and fellow Transcendental Meditation enthusiasts; Ringo raises funds for the David Lynch Foundation each year, including this one, which helps teach techniques of TM to inmates, soldiers, and others.

These birthday celebrations always connect people around the globe to join in a prayer for peace and love at twelve noon. Following that outdoor festivity, the party moves inside, to the famous Capitol studios down in the basement, where everyone from Sinatra to Dylan has recorded. It’s always one of the happiest events of the year.

Because the lockdown is extending, the normal event cannot happen like usual. He announced the alternative today.

“This year on my birthday,” he said, “the seventh day of the seventh month, we are putting on a celebration show.  I am putting a film together with a lot of friends. They are going to do something special – from one of their tours, or write something, or do a Beatles track or a Ringo track. We’re going to put this celebratory show on. It’s all we can do.” 

“It will be on my YouTube channel. I  will be doing it from my house, of course. We will be lighting a candle. And at noon, wherever you are, even if you are in your garden, you can join us to say “peace and love, peace and love!”

The event on July 7  is called  “Ringo’s Big Birthday Show.” Its broadcast will benefit four charities: Black Lives Matter Global Network, the David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and WaterAid.

It will air on Ringo’s YouTube at 5pm PST on July 7, 2020, his 80th birthday, and will include unique home performances as well as never before seen concert footage from Ringo, as well as from Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Gary Clark Jr, Sheryl Crow, Sheila E, Ben Harper and more.

Asked how he was getting through this lockdown, he said he’s been fine, and spending a lot of time painting. But he was unhappy about having to cancel not one but two tours.

“I miss touring,” he said. “I love to play. I love the musicians. And I love the audience. And the audience knows I love them, and I know they love me. So we have a good time. I always believe you go on tour and it’s fun. But two tours this year I’ve had to cancel. Next year, all being well, we’re hoping the May-June tour will go on. But I’m not sure.” 

When our time came to ask a question, we mentioned how he’s always seemed to be the most optimistic of The Beatles. Making his birthdays always about peace and love, and never stopping saying those words and using the peace sign, is a sign of this. But as he starts his 80th year, with the world crazier than ever, is he still optimistic?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

“And, you know, I haven’t stopped doing peace and love since the Sixties. So on my birthday I’ve asked everyone at noon on the 7th of July, just go ‘Peace and Love.’ We started it in Chicago and we had maybe 100 people. Now we’re in 27 countries celebrating a peace and love moment. So it’s growing slowly but surely.

“But this year has been really tough. And, you know, Black lives do matter. All lives matter.

“But what’s been really incredible for me is that all of the streets of L.A. three weeks ago were filled, mainly, with all 18-to 25-year-olds. The next generation had come out to do it. And I think anytime we go through a madness like this, things change a little. And this time I think we stand a really good chance of things changing a lot. We can only hope. Peace and love.

“So yes” he said, smiling. “I am still optimistic.” 

Asked  what he’d like for his birthday, he said, “I’d like to go to the park.”

“As everyone knows I love gathering with fans for peace and love on my birthday,” he said. “But this year, I want everyone to be safe at home –  so I called up a few friends and we put this Big Birthday Show together so we could still celebrate my birthday with you all, with some great music for some great charities. I hope you will all join me! Peace and Love, Ringo.”

David Lynch and Ringo at his 2015 birthday. 2015. Photo by Paul Zollo/American Songwriter.

The broadcast will also feature the premiere of a guest star version of Ringo’s “Give More Love” that was created to benefit MusiCares. It features Willie Nelson, Keb Mo, Michael McDonald, Jeff Bridges, Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Peter Frampton, Ray Wylie Hubbard and, Kenny Loggins. 

Additionally there will be a playlist of unique tribute performances on Ringo’s YouTube channel.

This will include musicians who have previously recorded Ringo’s songs, performances from past birthday celebrations as well as some new versions which artists will be posting on their socials.  Look for musical tributes from Ben Folds, Ben Dickey, Bettye LaVette, Colin Hay, Elvis Costello, Gregg Rolie, Judy Collins, Peter Frampton, Richard Marx, Steve Earle, Steve Lukather and many more.

Ringo invited everyone everywhere to think, say or post #peaceandlove at noon their local time on July 7th. Fans are already organizing online events around the world to fulfill his birthday wish of a wave of Peace & Love across the planet. Look for details on Ringo’s Facebook page for events starting in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii.

Join Ringo on his 80th birthday and help him in spreading a global wave of Peace & Love at noon your time on 7/7!
Go to the Ringo Starr YouTube page to see the show on 7/7.

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