The Origins of Ringo Starr & His All-Star Band: “Everybody Is a Star”

Ringo Starr is among the rare few who can claim that they’ve been in two all-star bands.

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After performing in a series of bands throughout the 1950s, Starr got the opportunity of a lifetime when he joined the Beatles as a drummer in 1962. While he was mainly behind the drum set, his voice can be heard on two of The Beatles’ hits, “Yellow Submarine” and “With a Little Help From My Friends.” His talent proved to be so great that he’s been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, with the Beatles in 1988 and in 2015 as a solo artist.

Following his tenure with the Beatles, Starr broke off as a solo artist and founded his own band, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, in 1989. Despite the band’s title bearing his name, Starr has structured the supergroup in a way where each member gets to shine, operating under the slogan, “Everybody on stage is a star in their own right.”

Since its founding, there have been 14 different lineups of the band that range from fellow music icons to family members. Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, John Waite, Sheila E. and Starr’s son Zak Starkey are among the past band members.

Considering that he has several fellow famous musicians in the band, Starr makes it a point to allow each of them to perform songs from their own careers. Starr typically sings a dozen songs from his solo career and his tenure with the Beatles, while the band members perform three of their biggest career hits. Past guest band members include Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Tyler, Bonnie Raitt, Slash and many other icons.

The current lineup features Colin Hay, Hamish Stuart, Edgar Winter, Gregg Bissonette, Steven Lee Lukather and Warren Ham. “When I first started putting All-Star bands together, we would change the band completely. We did that for 20 years,” Starr explained in a press conference to American Songwriter and other media. “And now, I think it’s just more joy. I’ve only changed two people last year for this band, and it’s easier. I did it because I thought that’s what I had to do, change the band. But this band is good for me.”

Added Winter: “It’s great playing with the same band and doing the same set, the muscle memory comes back.”

“We’re having the greatest time playing the greatest songs with the greatest – My drum hero, my dear pal,” Bissonette professes. “What a ball. What an honor.”

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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