Yesterday, we celebrated the day that Paul McCartney first met John Lennon, a meeting that ended up eventually giving birth to the Beatles. Today, we celebrate the birth of Richard Starkey, the man who would be known the world over as Ringo Starr, the man who kept the beat for the Beatles. He turns 70 years old today. Of the four Beatles, Ringo was the oldest (he was a few months older than Lennon) and has had one of the most fascinating solo careers since the legendary band disbanded 40 years ago.
Starr always had one of the most dynamic personalities of any of the Beatles, helping to craft some of the group’s most off-beat tunes (including “Octopus’s Garden” and “Don’t Pass Me By”) and providing the most electrifying on-screen presence (his is the one performance in “A Hard Day’s Night” that stands out, and he had a relatively fruitful acting career once the Beatles broke up). His work with the Beatles secured his place in history, but since then he has scored with a number of successful solo albums and drumming projects. His real impact, though, has been in the film industry, which saw him direct a documentary about friend Marc Bolan’s band T. Rex, star in films like Ken Russell’s “Lisztomania” and the McCartney-penned “Give My Regards to Broad Street” and put in regular time as the narrator of the kids’ show “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.”
Today, Starr is perhaps best known as the frontman and mastermind behind the All-Starr Band, a rotating cast of rock and roll greats who record and tour with Starr. Past members include Dr. John, E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren, the Band drummer Levon Helm, Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, the Who bassist John Entwistle, Peter Frampton, Todd Rundgren, Edgar Winter and Men at Work frontman Colin Hay. Check out a vintage clip of an early All-Starr Band performing Starr’s biggest solo hit “It Don’t Come Easy.”