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Don’t pass this by: Happy 70th birthday, Ringo Starr

July 7, 2010

Close and some cigar: Ringo shows who’s boss as he poses in front of 10 Downing Street with a big fat stogy at the height of his Beatles fame

Yes, that’s right, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most famous sons has reached his three scores and ten years today. Ringo Starr. Richard Starkey. That one who got a huge ring stuck on his finger in the movie Help. While some cruelly suggest he wasn’t even the best drummer in that rather famous band he played with, it’s undeniable he’s an utter legend in his own lifetime – and for all the right reasons.

He was always the most loveable, carefree and- maybe – most accessible of The Beatles (a bit like a big Liverpudlian teddy bear); married a gorgeous fan in the shape of Maureen Cox and then married a Bond Girl, the drop-dead beautiful former model Barbara Bach (Major Anya Amasova or XXX in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me), gave arguably the best performances of all four Fabs in their two iconic films A Hard Day’s Night and Help; and sired another top drummer in son Zak Starkey, who has played with The Who in recent years.

“Ringo was a star in his own right in Liverpool before we even met. He was a professional drummer who sang and performed and had Ringo Starr-time and he was in one of the top groups in Britain but especially in Liverpool before we even had a drummer. So Ringo’s talent would have come out one way or the other as something or other. I don’t know what he would have ended up as, but whatever that spark is in Ringo that we all know but can’t put our finger on — whether it is acting, drumming or singing I don’t know — there is something in him that is projectable and he would have surfaced with or without the Beatles. Ringo is a damn good drummer.” ~ John Lennon, speaking in September 1980

Starr’s post Beatles career hasn’t received anything like the critical acclaim his work with John, Paul and George did – which included vocals on With A Little Help From My Friends, Yellow Submarine, Act Naturally and the three tunes he was involved in writing or penned himself, Don’t Pass Me By, What Goes On and the seemingly universally loved Octopus’s Garden. However, over the decades his own music has developed a strong – and often cult – following, and Ringo himself has ever remained a hugely popular figure the world over. In 2006, following a campaign staged by a British tabloid, he claimed he didn’t want a potential knighthood, but instead wouldn’t mind being made a duke or a prince.

So, here’s to Duke Ringo of Starrdom, 70-not out and still a force for good, old fashioned peace and love. Go on, give the old ‘V’ sign a go right now now and do the man proud – it is his birthday after all…

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