Ringo Starr in 2011
|Birth name||Richard Starkey|
7 July 1940 |
|Genres||Rock, pop, psychedelic rock, world music|
|Occupations||Musician, singer, actor|
|Instruments||Vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards, guitar|
|Labels||Parlophone, United Artists,
Capitol, Apple, Swan, Vee-Jay,
Tollie, Atlantic, RCA, Mercury, Koch,
Private Music, Boardwalk, Rykodisc
|Associated acts||Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, the Beatles, Plastic Ono Band, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band|
Richard Starkey, MBE (born 7 July 1940), known as Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He sang lead vocals on several of their songs, including "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Yellow Submarine" and their version of "Act Naturally". He is also credited as a co-writer of "What Goes On", "Flying" and "Dig It", and as the sole author of "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden".
He was twice afflicted by life-threatening illnesses during his childhood, and as a result of the related prolonged hospitalisations, he fell behind his peers scholastically. At age eight, he had remained illiterate: his classmates nicknamed him "Lazarus" after a twelve-month recovery from peritonitis following a routine appendectomy. After several years of twice weekly tutoring he had nearly caught up to his peers academically, but in 1953, he contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium, where he remained for two years. Following his return he entered the workforce, but lacking motivation and discipline, his initial attempts at gainful employment proved unsuccessful. He briefly held a position with the British Rail then as an apprentice machinist at a Liverpool equipment manufacturer. Soon after, he became interested in the UK skiffle craze, developing a fervent admiration for the genre. He cofounded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group in 1957, and they had earned several prestigious local bookings before the fad succumbed to American rock and roll by early 1958.
When the Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another leading Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. After achieving moderate success in the UK and Hamburg, Germany with the Hurricanes, he joined the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best. Starr's creative contribution to their music has received high praise from drummers such as Steve Smith, who said that Starr "brought forth a new paradigm" where "we started to see the drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect". In 2011 Rolling Stone readers named him the fifth-greatest drummer of all-time.
A critically acclaimed actor, Starr played key roles in the Beatles' films and appeared in numerous others. After their break-up in 1970, he released several successful singles and albums and recorded with each of the former Beatles. He has been featured in a number of documentaries, hosted television shows, narrated the first two seasons of the children's television series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and portrayed "Mr Conductor" during the first season of the PBS children's television series Shining Time Station. Since 1989, Starr has toured with twelve variations of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.
Early life: 1940–1956 
Richard Starkey was born on 7 July 1940, in the front bedroom at 9 Madryn Street, Dingle, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, the son of confectioners Elsie (née Gleave) and Richard Starkey.[nb 1] Their son was born one week late and about a month after the Dunkirk evacuation. Within weeks of his birth, while lying in bed recuperating, Elsie heard sirens indicating that the Luftwaffe's bombing of Liverpool and the Second World War's Battle of Britain had begun. She was known for her beautiful singing voice, and for her love of dancing, a hobby that she shared with her husband, an avid fan of swing. Prior to the birth of their son, whom they nicknamed "Ritchie", the couple had spent much of their free-time at the local ballroom circuit, but soon after his birth their regular outings ended. According to Beatles biographer Bob Spitz, Elsie "doted upon him to the point of preoccupation." Soon after, "Big Ritchie", as Starkey's father became known, lost interest in his family, choosing instead to spend long hours drinking and dancing at pubs, sometimes for days on end.
In 1944, in an effort to reduce their housing costs, his family moved to 10 Admiral Grove; soon after, his parents separated; they divorced within the year. He later stated that he has "no real memories" of his father, who made little effort to bond with him, visiting "Ritchie" as few as three times thereafter. Elsie found it difficult to survive on her ex-husband's support payments of thirty shillings a week, so she took on several menial labour jobs cleaning houses before securing a position as a local barmaid, an occupation that she enjoyed for twelve years.
Twice afflicted by life-threatening illnesses during his childhood, at age six Starkey developed appendicitis. Following a routine appendectomy he contracted peritonitis, causing him to fall into a coma that lasted for three days. His recovery spanned twelve months, which he spent away from his family at Myrtle Street Children's hospital. Upon his release in May 1948, his overprotective mother allowed him to stay home, causing him to miss school. At age eight, he had remained illiterate, with a less than poor grasp of mathematics. His lack of education contributed to a feeling of alienation at school, which resulted in him regularly skipping class in favour of spending time at Sefton Park. After several years of twice weekly tutoring from his surrogate sister and neighbor, Marie Maguire Crawford, Starkey had nearly caught up to his peers academically, but in 1953, he contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium, where he remained for two years. During his stay the medical staff made an effort to stimulate motor activity and relieve boredom by encouraging their patients to join the hospital band, leading to his first exposure to a percussion instrument; a makeshift mallet made from a cotton bobbin that he used to strike the cabinets next to his bed. Soon after, he grew increasingly interested in drumming, receiving a copy of Alyn Ainsworth's "Bedtime for Drums" as a convalescence gift from Crawford. Starkey commented: "I was in the hospital band ... That's where I really started playing. I never wanted anything else from there on ... My grandparents gave me a mandolin and a banjo, but I didn't want them. My grandfather gave me a harmonica ... we had a piano – nothing. Only the drums."
As a result of the prolonged hospitalisations, Starkey fell behind his peers scholastically and was ineligible for the 11-plus qualifying examination required for attendance at a grammar school. He had attended St Silas, a Church of England primary school near his house where his classmates nicknamed him "Lazarus", and later Dingle Vale Secondary Modern School, where he showed an aptitude for art and drama as well as practical subjects including mechanics. On 17 April 1953, Starkey's mother married Harry Graves, an ex-Londoner who had moved to Liverpool following the failure of his first marriage. Graves, an impassioned fan of big band music and their vocalists, introduced Starkey to recordings by Dinah Shore, Sarah Vaughan and Billy Daniels. Graves stated that he and "Ritchie" never had an unpleasant exchange between them; Starkey commented: "He was great ... I learned gentleness from Harry." After the extended hospital stay following his recovery from tuberculosis, he did not return to school, preferring instead to stay at home and listen to music while playing along by beating biscuit tins with sticks.
Spitz described Starkey's upbringing as "a Dickensian chronicle of misfortune". Houses in the area were "poorly ventilated, postage-stamp-sized ... patched together by crumbling plaster walls, with a rear door that opened onto an outhouse." Crawford commented: "like all of the families who lived in the Dingle, he was part of an ongoing struggle to survive." The children who lived there spent much of their time at Princes Park, escaping the soot-filled air of their coal-fueled neighborhood. Adding to their difficult circumstances, violent crime was an almost constant concern for people living in one of the oldest and poorest inner-city districts in Liverpool. Starkey later commented: "You kept your head down, your eyes open, and you didn't get in anybody's way."
After his return from the sanatorium in late 1955, Starkey entered the workforce, but lacked motivation and discipline. His initial attempts at gainful employment proved unsuccessful. In an effort to secure for himself some warm clothes, he briefly held a position with the British Rail, who supplied their employees with suits. They gave him a hat, but no uniform, and unable to pass the physical examination, he was laid off and granted unemployment benefits. He then found work as a waiter serving drinks on a day boat that travelled from Liverpool to North Wales, but his irrational fear of conscription into military service led him to quit the job, not wanting to give the Royal Navy the false impression that he was suitable for seafaring work. In mid 1956 Graves secured for Starkey a position as an apprentice machinist at a Liverpool equipment manufacturer. While working at the facility he befriended Roy Trafford, and the two bonded over their shared interest in music. Trafford introduced Starkey to skiffle, and he quickly became a fervent admirer of the genre.
First bands: 1957–1961 
Soon after Trafford had piqued Starkey's interest in skiffle, the two began rehearsing songs in the manufacturing plant's cellar during their lunch breaks. He recalled: "I played a guitar, and [Ritchie] just made a noise on a box ... Sometimes, he just slapped a biscuit tin with some keys, or banged on the backs of chairs." They were later joined by Starkey's neighbor and co-worker, guitarist Eddie Miles, forming the Eddie Miles Band, later renamed Eddie Clayton and the Clayton Squares after a Liverpool landmark. The band performed popular skiffle songs such as "Rock Island Line" and "Walking Cane", with Starkey raking a thimble across a washboard, creating primitive, driving rhythms. Starkey enjoyed dancing as his parents had years earlier, and he and Trafford briefly took lessons at two schools, an introduction that proved effective while enjoying nights out on the town.
On Christmas Day 1957, Graves gave Starkey a second-hand drum kit which consisted of a snare drum, bass drum and a makeshift cymbal fashioned from an old garbage can lid. Although basic and crude, the kit facilitated his progression as a musician while increasing the commercial potential of the Eddie Clayton band, who went on to book several prestigious local gigs before the UK skiffle craze succumbed to American rock and roll by early 1958.
In November 1959 he joined Al Caldwell's Texans, who were looking for someone with a proper drum kit so that the group could transition from one of Liverpool's best-known skiffle acts to a full-fledged rock and roll band.[nb 2] They had begun playing local clubs as the Raging Texans, then Jet Storm and the Raging Texans before settling on Rory Storm and the Hurricanes soon before recruiting Starkey. About this time he adopted the stage name "Ringo Starr"; derived from the rings he wore and also because it sounded "cowboyish": his drum solos were billed as "Starr Time".
By early 1960, the Hurricanes had become one of Liverpool's leading bands. In May, they were offered a three-month residency at a Butlins holiday camp in Wales. Although initially reluctant to accept the gig and end his machinist apprenticeship that Graves had secured for him four years earlier, and which he was one year away from completing, Starr eventually agreed to the arrangement. The Butlins gig led to other opportunities for the band, including an unpleasant tour of US Air Force bases in France about which Starr commented: "The French don't like the British; at least I didn't like them." They became so successful that when initially offered a highly-coveted residency in Hamburg, they turned it down due to their prior commitment with Butlins. They eventually accepted, joining the Beatles at Bruno Koschmider's Kaiserkeller on 1 October 1960, where Starr first met the band. Storm's Hurricanes were given top-billing over the Beatles, who also received less pay. Starr performed with them during a few stand-in engagements while in Hamburg, and on 15 October 1960 he drummed with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, recording with them for the first time while backing Hurricanes' singer Lu Walters on the George Gershwin aria, "Summertime".[nb 3] During his first stay in Hamburg he also met Tony Sheridan, who valued Starr's drumming abilities to the point of asking him to leave the Hurricanes and join his band.
With the Beatles: 1962–1970 
In January 1962, Starr quit the Hurricanes and briefly joined Sheridan in Hamburg before returning to Rory Storm for a third season at Butlins.[nb 4] On 14 August, Lennon asked Starr to join the Beatles; he accepted. On 16 August, Beatles' manager Brian Epstein fired their drummer, Pete Best, who recalled: "He said 'I've got some bad news for you. The boys want you out and Ringo in' ... He said [Beatles producer] George Martin wasn't too pleased with my playing [and] the boys thought I didn't fit in." Starr first performed as a member of the Beatles on 18 August 1962, at a Horticultural Society dance at Port Sunlight. After his appearance at the Cavern Club the following day, Pete Best fans, upset by his firing, held vigils outside his house and at the club shouting "Pete forever! Ringo never!" Harrison received a black eye from one of the upset fans and Epstein, whose car tires had been flattened by them in anger, temporarily hired a bodyguard to ensure his physical safety.
Starr's first recording session as a member of the Beatles took place on 4 September 1962. He stated that Martin thought he "was crazy and couldn't play ... because I was trying to play the percussion and the drums at the same time, we were just a four piece band". For their second recording session with Starr, which took place on 11 September 1962, Martin replaced him with session drummer Andy White while recording takes for what would be the two sides of the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do" backed with "P.S. I Love You". Starr played tambourine on "Love Me Do" and maracas on "P.S. I Love You" for this session. He commented: "I thought, 'That's the end, they're doing a Pete Best on me.'" Martin clarified: "I simply didn't know what Ringo was like and I wasn't prepared to take any risks." By November Starr had been accepted by Beatles fans, who were now calling for him to sing songs. Starr considered himself fortunate to be on the same "wavelength" as the other Beatles: "I had to be, or I wouldn't have lasted. I had to join them as people as well as a drummer."
In June 1964 the Beatles were scheduled to tour Denmark, the Netherlands, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. On 3 June, the day before the tour, Starr became ill. Stricken with a 102-degree fever and tonsillitis, he was rushed to the hospital, necessitating a brief stay there and a few days of recuperation at home. During this time, Starr was temporarily replaced for five concert dates by 24-year-old session drummer Jimmie Nicol. Starr was discharged from the hospital and he rejoined the band in Melbourne on 15 June 1964. Epstein then accompanied Nicol to the Melbourne airport where he gave him a check and a gold Eterna-matic wrist watch inscribed: "From the Beatles and Brian Epstein to Jimmy – with appreciation and gratitude." Starr later had his tonsils removed during a Christmas holiday later in the year. He later admitted that he feared that he would be permanently replaced during his illness.
In 1968, Apple Records released The Beatles (commonly known as the White Album). Creative inspiration for the double-LP came in part from the band's recent interactions with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. While attending a "Guide Course" at his ashram in Rishikesh, India, the Beatles enjoyed one of their most prolific writing periods, composing most of the album's songs there. Despite leaving after only ten days, Starr wrote his first recorded Beatles song, "Don't Pass Me By", while in India. He later compared his stay there with a Butlins camp. His childhood health problems had an enduring effect in the form of allergies and sensitivities to food, and when the Beatles travelled to India he took his own food with him.
During recording sessions for the album, relations between the Beatles grew openly divisive. After one particularly difficult session during which McCartney had criticised Starr's drumming, Starr quit the band for two weeks, taking a holiday with his family in Sardinia on a boat loaned by Peter Sellers. During a lunch break the chef served octopus, which Starr refused to eat. A subsequent conversation with the ship's captain regarding the behaviours of the animal served as the inspiration for his Abbey Road composition, "Octopus's Garden", which Starr wrote on guitar during the trip. When he returned to the studio two weeks later, he discovered that his drum kit had been covered in flowers.
After the Beatles 
On 10 April 1970, McCartney announced that he had left the Beatles. Starr released two albums before the end of that year: Sentimental Journey, which featured his renditions of many pre-rock standards and included musical arrangements by Quincy Jones, Maurice Gibb, George Martin and McCartney, and the country inspired Beaucoups of Blues, which featured renowned Nashville session musician Pete Drake. Starr earned hit singles with "It Don't Come Easy" (1971, US number 4) and "Back Off Boogaloo" (1972, US number 9), the latter of which was his biggest UK hit, peaking at number 2. In 1973, he achieved two number 1 hits in the US with "Photograph", which was co-written with Harrison and "You're Sixteen", written by the Sherman Brothers.
He participated in the Concert for Bangladesh, organised by Harrison in 1971, and in the recording Harrison's albums All Things Must Pass and Living in the Material World, Lennon's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono's Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. Starr made his debut as a film director with the T. Rex documentary Born to Boogie. While filming the documentary he became friends with T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan, and he released the single "Back Off Boogaloo".
In 1973 he released Ringo, a commercially successful album produced by Richard Perry that featured writing and musical contributions from McCartney, Harrison and Lennon. Goodnight Vienna followed in 1974 and was also successful. Hits and notable tracks from these two albums included "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen", both of which reached number one on the US charts, "Oh My My" (US No.5) and "I'm the Greatest" (written by Lennon) from Ringo, and "Only You (And You Alone)" (US No.6) and "No No Song" (US No.3) from 1974's Goodnight Vienna. In late 1975, these singles and others were collected for Starr's first greatest hits compilation, Blast from Your Past, which was the last album released on Apple Records. During this period he became romantically involved with Lynsey de Paul. He played tambourine on a song she wrote and produced for Vera Lynn, "Don't You Remember When", and he inspired another De Paul song, "If I Don't Get You the Next One Will", which she described as being about revenge after he missed a dinner appointment with her because he was asleep in his office.
Starr's recording career subsequently diminished in commercial impact, although he continued to record and remained a familiar celebrity presence. Starr signed with Atlantic Records in the mid-1970s, and in 1976 the album Ringo's Rotogravure was released. Although yielding two minor hit singles, "A Dose of Rock 'n' Roll" (US No.26) and a cover of "Hey! Baby" (US No.74) the album achieved moderate sales but reached a respectable No.28. This caused the label to revamp Starr's formula; the results were a curious blend of disco and 1970s pop. The album Ringo the 4th (1977) was a commercial disaster, reaching no higher than No.162 on the charts. Afterward, Starr soon signed with Portrait Records. His stint with Portrait began on a promising note: 1978 saw the release of Bad Boy, as well as a network TV special. However, neither were very popular, with Bad Boy reaching a disappointing No.129 on the US charts. Consequently, Starr did not release another album with Portrait Records.
In 1975, Starr founded his own record label called Ring O'Records, telling Circus magazine he thought "the record company thing is going to be a gas". The only thing he didn't like about it was "the contract signing thing. If I had my way, everyone would be tied to my company by word of mouth but the solicitors won't have it." He mentioned the implicit trust the Beatles had in Brian Epstein and "it's that trust I want my artists to have in me." The first album to be produced for the label was a re-make of the Ringo album, rearranged for synthesiser by David Hentschel. In total, four albums were released on the label between 1975 and 1978: Startling Music by David Hentschel, Graham Bonnet by Graham Bonnet, Restless by Rab Noakes and a re-release of an Apple Records album, The Whale by John Tavener, as well as 16 singles by artists that include Bobby Keys, Graham Bonnet, Johnny Warman, Rab Noakes and Dirk & Stig (the last being names of characters from the Beatles' parody band the Rutles, created by Eric Idle and Neil Innes). The company failed in part because Starr disliked the way they conducted business, he commented: "you'd usually have meetings to decide about the next meeting". The label sold few records, incurring significant financial loss before being closed.
In 1980, Harrison wrote "All Those Years Ago" for Starr to sing on his album Can't Fight Lightning, later released as Stop and Smell the Roses. Harrison sang a rewritten version himself, including it on his 1981 album Somewhere in England following Lennon's murder. Starr, along with Paul and Linda McCartney, played on Harrison's version. Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones also collaborated with Starr while recording Stop and Smell the Roses, at Cherokee Studios, adding guitar, bass, saxophone, keyboards, and back-up vocals. Starr was interviewed by Rolling Stone and Musician around this time. Stop and Smell the Roses was a well-regarded album, but again did not sell particularly well. Lennon had offered Starr a pair of songs to use on Roses: "Nobody Told Me" and "Life Begins at 40". However, following Lennon's murder, Starr did not feel comfortable recording them; the former was released posthumously under Lennon's name on the album Milk and Honey, while the latter's painfully ironic lyrics kept it unissued until 1998's John Lennon Anthology. After Lennon was murdered in 1980, Starr and his girlfriend Barbara Bach flew to New York City to be with Lennon's widow Yoko Ono.
From 1984 to 1986, Starr narrated the children's series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, a Britt Allcroft production, which was first shown on Central Television and subsequently across the ITV network. He was unsure about taking the role at first, having never previously read the books by Reverend Awdry, and at the time he felt that children would be more interested in "dinosaurs with lasers." Nevertheless, he had a change of heart and took the role, narrating all the episodes in Series 1 and Series 2. Starr also portrayed the character Mr. Conductor in the programme's American spin-off Shining Time Station, which debuted in 1989 on PBS. Starr left after the first season. In 1985 he performed with his son Zak Starkey as part of Artists United Against Apartheid on the recording, Sun City. In 1987, Starr drummed on the Harrison song "When We Was Fab", from his album Cloud Nine. The song, co-written by Harrison and Jeff Lynne, charted in the top 30 in both the UK and the US. The same year, Starr, Harrison and Lynne joined Eric Clapton, Elton John, Phil Collins and Ray Cooper in a performance for the Prince's Trust charity.
In October 1988, Starr and Bach attended a detox clinic in Tucson, Arizona, each receiving a six-week treatment for alcoholism.[nb 5] Starr later complained that it had been difficult to recover with the "press flying overhead" on a constant basis. On 23 July 1989, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band gave their first performance to an audience of ten thousand in Dallas, Texas. The band consisted of Starr and a varying assortment of musicians who had been successful in their own right with popular songs at different times. The concerts interchanged Starr's singing, including selections of his Beatles and solo songs, with performances of each of the other artists' well-known material, the latter incorporating either Starr or another musician as drummer.
The success of the initial All-Starr tour led to the release of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, a compilation of live performances from the tour, in the fall of 1990. In the same year, Starr recorded a version of the song "I Call Your Name" for a television special marking the 10th anniversary of John Lennon's death and the 50th anniversary of his birth. The track, produced by Jeff Lynne, features a supergroup composed of Lynne, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh and Jim Keltner.
In 1991, he made an animated appearance as himself in The Simpsons episode "Brush with Greatness" and contributed an original song, "You Never Know", to the soundtrack of the John Hughes film Curly Sue. In 1992, Starr released his first studio album in nine years, Time Takes Time, which was produced by Phil Ramone, Don Was, Jeff Lynne and Peter Asher and featured guest appearances by various stars including Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson.
In 1997, Starr guested on two songs from McCartney's album Flaming Pie. McCartney had written a song about Starr's ex-wife Maureen Starkey Tigrett ("Little Willow") and asked Starr if he'd play on another ("Beautiful Night"). The day after the "Beautiful Night" session, the two recorded a jam session, which developed into another Flaming Pie song, "Really Love You," notable for being the first song ever credited to McCartney/Starkey and officially released on an album. In 1998, he released two albums on the Mercury label. The studio album Vertical Man marked the beginning of a nine-year "partnership" with Mark Hudson, who produced the album and, with his band the Roundheads, formed the core of the backing group for the album. In addition, many "famous guests" joined on various tracks, including Martin, McCartney, and—in his final appearance on a Starr album before his death—Harrison. Most of the songs were written by Starr and the band. Joe Walsh and the Roundheads joined Starr for his appearance on VH1 Storytellers, which was released as an album under the same name. On the show, he performed greatest hits and new songs, and told anecdotes relating to them.
In 2002, Starr was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame joining an elite group including Buddy Rich and William F. Ludwig, Sr. and Jr. On 29 November 2002 (the first anniversary of George Harrison's death), Starr performed "Photograph" and a cover of Carl Perkins' "Honey Don't" at the Concert for George held in the Royal Albert Hall, London. According to the official Concert for George website, "Ringo Starr caught everyone with a tear in their eye with a rendition of 'Photograph', a composition he wrote with George, which seemed to sum up how everyone felt." The song includes the lines, "Every time I see your face / it reminds me of the places we used to go / But all I've got is a photograph / and I realise you're not coming back any more". In 2003, Starr formed Pumkinhead Records with All-Starr Band member Mark Hudson. The label was not prolific, but their first signing was Liam Lynch, who produced a 2003 LP entitled Fake Songs.
Starr was an honorary Santa Tracker and voice-over personality for the London stop in Father Christmas's annual Christmas Eve journey in 2003 and 2004 as depicted in the annual NORAD tracks Santa program. According to NORAD officials, he was "a Starr in the east" who helped guide North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa-tracking tradition.
In September 2005, Liverpool City Council decided to bulldoze 9 Madryn Street, Starr's birthplace, as it had 'no historical significance', despite a previous reprieve back in July. The LCC later announced that the building would be taken apart brick by brick and preserved after all. In 2006, Starr featured on the Jerry Lee Lewis duet album, Last Man Standing; he performed a cover, with Lewis, of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen". It was also announced he would be the star in a Pow! Entertainment animated film and comic book produced by comics creator Stan Lee. In the 24 December 2007 issue of Time (European edition), Starr was profiled in a three-page article focusing on his happiness in life and his music. The article mentioned the Liverpool 8 album, but only briefly. It also stated that Starr and Dave Stewart were collaborating on writing a musical, to be called The Hole in the Fence, and discussed Starr's then-upcoming performance in Liverpool on 11 January 2008.
In January 2008, the studio album Liverpool 8, produced by Dave Stewart, Mark Hudson and Starr himself, was released. Mark Hudson was the initial producer of the record but was replaced by Stewart after a falling out with Starr. (The album's production credits read, "Produced by Ringo Starr and Mark Hudson; Re-Produced by Ringo Starr and David Stewart." All of the songs but one were written with members of the Roundheads, although Stewart also has several co-writing credits.) Starr's attorney Bruce Grakal told journalist Peter Palmiere that the partnership between Hudson and Starr was over and they would never work together again. This happened after Hudson dropped out of the 2006 tour as musical director to do the TV show The One: Making a Music Star. According to Palmiere, Hudson now claims that the split was over Starr's insistence on using synthesised sounds, for which Stewart is known, whereas Hudson wanted real guitars, pianos, strings etc. On 10 October 2008, Starr posted a video on his website stating that he would not be signing autographs after 20 October 2008. He stated that he is too busy and that anything after that date sent to any address will not be signed.
On 4 April 2009, Starr reunited with McCartney at the David Lynch "Change Begins Within" Benefit Concert at Radio City Music Hall. After separate performances from Starr and other artists, McCartney's set came last, and towards the end he announced "Billy Shears", whereupon Starr joined him to perform "With a Little Help from My Friends" and, with all performers, "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Cosmically Conscious". In late May 2009, it was announced that Starr will collaborate with Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney to record some new tracks to record an entire album. Starr appeared on-stage at Microsoft's 1 June 2009 E3 press conference with Yoko Ono, McCartney and Olivia Harrison to promote The Beatles: Rock Band video game. Starr remains the only Beatle not to top the UK singles charts as a solo artist, although he did chart two number one singles in the US. He is also the only Beatle not to top the UK album listings, his highest position being No.7, achieved in the UK with both Sentimental Journey and Ringo; the latter reached No.2 in the US charts, giving Starr his highest album position there. In the USA, Starr's Apple singles fared rather well. Of all four members of The Beatles – in their respective solo careers – he has the second most consecutive top ten singles in the US with seven in a row: "It Don't Come Easy" (No.4), "Back Off Boogaloo" (No.9), "Photograph" (No.1), "You're Sixteen" (No.1), "Oh My My" (No.5), "Only You (And You Alone)" (No.6) and "No No Song" (No.3). McCartney has the most with eight in a row.
In November 2009, Starr once again performed the voice of Thomas the Tank Engine for "The Official BBC Children in Need Medley". This is the first number 1 UK hit Starr has been involved in since the Beatles disbanded in 1970 (not counting guest appearances on other singles by other artists).
On 12 January 2010, Starr released his fifteenth studio album Y Not. On 22 January, he appeared during Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief as a celebrity phone operator. On 7 July 2010, Starr celebrated his 70th birthday at Radio City Music Hall, New York with another All-Starr Band concert, topped with friends and family joining him on stage including Yoko Ono and his son Zak, and Paul McCartney as a surprise guest.
On 13 May 2011, Starr appeared on The One Show on BBC One, where he announced that he was working on a new album featuring a song called "In Liverpool". Starr contributed a cover of Buddy Holly's "Think It Over" for the tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, which was released on 6 September 2011. On 30 January 2012, he released the album, Ringo 2012. In late 2012, Ringo announced that his All-Starr Band will tour the Pacific Rim during 2013 with select dates in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, for the first time since 1996 in Japan and the first time ever in New Zealand and Australia.
Although Starr had been a devoted fan of skiffle and blues music, by the time he joined the Texans in 1958, he had developed a preference for rock and roll. He was also influenced by country artists, including Hank Williams, Buck Owens and Hank Snow, and jazz drummers such as Chico Hamilton and Yusef Lateef, whose compositional style inspired Starr's fluid and energetic drum fills and grooves. While reflecting on Buddy Rich, Starr commented: "He does things with one hand that I can't do with nine, but that's technique. Everyone I talk to says 'What about Buddy Rich?' Well, what about him? Because he doesn't turn me on." He stated that he "was never really into drummers", but identified Cozy Cole's 1958 cover of Benny Goodman's "Topsy Part Two" as "the one drum record" he bought. Starr's first musical hero was Gene Autrey, about whom he commented: "I remember getting shivers up my back when he sang, "South of the Border". By the early 1960s he had become an ardent fan of Lee Dorsey.
While Starr has acknowledged the technical limitations of his drumming for the Beatles, the overall effect of his contribution has received high praise from notable drummers. Starr said, "Whenever I hear another drummer I know I'm no good. I'm no good on the technical things ... I'm your basic offbeat drummer with funny fills. The fills were funny because I'm really left-handed playing a right-handed kit. I can't roll around the drums because of that." Martin's version was, "Ringo hit good and hard and used the tom-tom well, even though he couldn't do a roll to save his life", although Martin later added, "He's got tremendous feel. He always helped us to hit the right tempo for a song, and gave it that support — that rock-solid back-beat — that made the recording of all the Beatles' songs that much easier." Starr commented: "I've always believed that the drummer is not there to interpret the song", comparing his drumming to painting, he stated: "I am the foundation, and then I put a bit of glow here and there ... If there's a gap, I want to be good enough to fill it."
In 1968, Martin praised Starr's drumming on Sgt. Pepper, calling him "probably ... the finest rock drummer in the world today." Lennon said, "Ringo's a damn good drummer. He always was a good drummer. He's not technically good, but I think Ringo's drumming is underrated the same way as Paul's bass playing is underrated." McCartney sent Starr a postcard on 31 January 1969 (the day after the band's performance on the roof of Apple Studios), stating: "You are the greatest drummer in the world. Really."[nb 6] Readers of Rolling Stone magazine voted Starr as the fifth-greatest drummer of all time. Drummer Steve Smith commented on Starr's musical contribution:
Before Ringo, drum stars were measured by their soloing ability and virtuosity. Ringo's popularity brought forth a new paradigm in how the public saw drummers. We started to see the drummer as an equal participant in the compositional aspect. One of Ringo's great qualities was that he composed unique, stylistic drum parts for the Beatles' songs. His parts are so signature to the songs that you can listen to a Ringo drum part without the rest of the music and still identify the song.
Starr influenced Phil Collins, the drummer for Genesis, who said: "Starr is vastly underrated. The drum fills on the song "A Day in the Life" are very complex things. You could take a great drummer today and say, 'I want it like that.' He wouldn't know what to do." In September 1980, John Lennon said this about Starr:
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.
In his extensive survey of the Beatles' recording sessions, Mark Lewisohn confirmed that Starr was both proficient and remarkably reliable and consistent. According to Lewisohn, there were fewer than a dozen occasions in the Beatles' eight-year recording career where session "breakdowns" were caused by Starr making a mistake, while the vast majority of takes were stopped owing to mistakes by the other three members. Starr is considered to have influenced various modern drumming techniques, such as the matched grip, tuning the drums lower, and using muffling devices on tonal rings, as well as placing the drums on high risers for visibility as part of the band.
Many drummers acknowledge Starr as an influence, including Steve Gorman of the Black Crowes, Don Henley of the Eagles, Dave Grohl of Nirvana, Jen Ledger of Skillet, Max Weinberg of the E Street Band, Danny Carey of Tool, Liberty DeVitto of Billy Joel's band, Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden, Eric Carr of Kiss, Phil Rudd of AC/DC, Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós, original/former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Pedro Andreu of Heroes del Silencio and others.
Starr sang at least one song on most of the Beatles' studio albums as part of an attempt to establish the vocal personality of all four members. In many cases, Lennon or McCartney wrote the lyrics and melody especially for him, as they did for "Yellow Submarine" from Revolver and "With a Little Help from My Friends" on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. These melodies were tailored to Starr's limited baritone vocal range. Starr's backing vocals are heard on songs such as "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and "Carry That Weight". He also is the lead vocalist on his compositions "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden". In addition, he also sang lead on "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Boys", "Matchbox", "Honey Don't", "Act Naturally", "What Goes On" (on Rubber Soul, and for which he received co-composing credits along with Lennon and McCartney), and "Good Night" (on the White Album).
Starr's unusual turns of phrase, or "Ringoisms" as they became known, such as "a hard day's night" and "tomorrow never knows", were used as song titles by the Beatles, particularly John Lennon. McCartney commented: "Ringo would do these little malapropisms, he would say things slightly wrong, like people do, but his were always wonderful, very lyrical ... they were sort of magic". As well as inspiring his bandmates' creativity in this way, Starr occasionally contributed lyrics to unfinished Lennon-McCartney songs, such as the line "darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there" in "Eleanor Rigby". Frustrated at times of being the odd man out in the group in regard to songwriting, Starr commented in The Beatles Anthology that when he presented a song to the Beatles, it would often sound to the other three Beatles like a popular song of the day.
Starr is also credited as a co-writer of the Rubber Soul track, "What Goes On", with Lennon and McCartney, while the songs "Flying" (on the Magical Mystery Tour album) and "Dig It" (on Let It Be) are listed as being written by the entire group. On issued material after the break-up, Starr wrote "Taking a Trip to Carolina" from the second "bonus" CD of Let It Be... Naked, and received joint songwriting credits with the other three Beatles for "12-Bar Original", "Los Paranoias", "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)", "Suzy Parker" (heard in the Let It Be film), "Jessie's Dream" (heard in the Magical Mystery Tour film) and the Beatles' version of "Free as a Bird".
Personal life 
Starr married Maureen Cox on 11 February 1965 and they had three children: Zak (born 13 September 1965), Jason (born 19 August 1967) and Lee (born 11 November 1970). In 1971, the family settled at John Lennon's former home, Tittenhurst Park at Sunninghill in Berkshire. The couple divorced in 1975, and Cox died in 1994. In 1980, on the set of the film Caveman, he met actress Barbara Bach: they were married on 27 April 1981. In 1985, Starr was the first of the Beatles to become a grandfather upon the birth of Zak's daughter, Tatia Jayne Starkey. Zak Starkey is also a drummer, and during his father's regular absences, he spent time with the Who's Keith Moon. Zak has performed with his father during some All-Starr Band tours.
Like fellow ex-Beatle McCartney, Starr is a vegetarian, albeit for different reasons; while McCartney is vegetarian on ethical grounds, Starr's diet is limited due to stomach problems he had in the past. Starr is left-handed but became ambidextrous as a child when his grandmother forced him to write with his right hand because she thought it was a curse for people to be left-handed. Starr and Bach split their time between homes in Cranleigh, Surrey; Los Angeles; and Monte Carlo. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2011, Starr was listed at number 56 with an estimated personal wealth of £150m.
Awards and recognition 
In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 12 June 1965, Starr and the three other Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE); they received their insignia from Queen Elizabeth II at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 26 October. He and the other Beatles were cumulatively nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer for their performances in the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night. In 1971 the Beatles received an Academy Award for 'Best Original Song Score' for the film Let It Be. The minor planet 4150 Starr, discovered on 31 August 1984 by Brian A. Skiff at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory, was named in his honour. Starr was nominated for a 1989 Daytime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series' for his role as Mr. Conductor in the television series Shining Time Station.
In 1988, the Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since then, Lennon (1994), McCartney (1999) and Harrison (2004) have been inducted for their solo careers as well. As of 2013, Starr remains the only Beatle not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo career. During the 50th Grammy Awards, Starr, George Martin and Giles Martin accepted the Best Compilation Soundtrack award for Love. On 9 November 2008, Starr accepted a Diamond Award on behalf of the Beatles during the 2008 World Music Awards ceremony in Monaco. On 8 February 2010, he was honoured with the 2,401st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. It is located at 1750 North Vine Street, in front of the Capitol Records building, as are the stars for Lennon, McCartney and Harrison.
In addition to the Beatles' films A Hard Day's Night (1964), Help! (1965), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), Yellow Submarine (1968) and Let It Be (1970), Starr also acted in films such as Candy (1968), The Magic Christian (1969) with Peter Sellers), Blindman (1971), Son of Dracula (1974) and Caveman (1981). Starr directed and appeared in Born to Boogie (1972), a concert film featuring Marc Bolan and T. Rex. For the 1979 documentary film on the Who, The Kids Are Alright, Starr appeared in interview segments with fellow drummer Keith Moon. He starred as Larry the Dwarf in Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (1971). His voice is also featured in Harry Nilsson's animated film The Point! (1971).
He co-starred in That'll Be the Day (1973) as a Teddy Boy and appeared in The Last Waltz, the Martin Scorsese film about the 1976 farewell concert of the Band. He played 'The Pope' in Ken Russell's Lisztomania (1975), and a fictionalised version of himself in the McCartney's Give My Regards to Broad Street in 1984. Starr appeared as himself and a downtrodden alter-ego Ognir Rrats, in Ringo (1978), an American-made television comedy film based loosely on The Prince and the Pauper. 
- Sentimental Journey (1970)
- Beaucoups of Blues (1970)
- Ringo (1973)
- Goodnight Vienna (1974)
- Ringo's Rotogravure (1976)
- Ringo the 4th (1977)
- Bad Boy (1978)
- Stop and Smell the Roses (1981)
- Old Wave (1983)
- Time Takes Time (1992)
- Vertical Man (1998)
- I Wanna Be Santa Claus (1999)
- Ringo Rama (2003)
- Choose Love (2005)
- Liverpool 8 (2008)
- Y Not (2010)
- Ringo 2012 (2012)
- His paternal grandfather was born with the surname "Parkin", and later adopted his stepfather's surname, "Starkey".
- Starr had first drummed with the Texans on 25 March 1959, at the Mardi Gras club in Liverpool.
- Of the nine 78-rpm disks that were cut only one is known to have survived.
- Starr sat in for an ill Pete Best during two shows on 5 February 1962.
- Starr experienced his first alcoholic blackout at the age of nine.
- This postcard is included in Starr's book, Postcards from the Boys.
- Flans, Robyn. "Ringo Starr". PAS Hall of Fame. Percussive Arts Society. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- Clayson 2005, pp. 15–16: Born in the front bedroom at 9 Madryn Street, parent's occupations; Davies 2009, p. 142; Spitz 2005, pp. 332–333.
- Davies 2009, p. 141.
- Clayson 2005, p. 15.
- Clayson 2005, p. 16; Davies 2009, p. 142.
- Spitz 2005, pp. 332–333.
- Spitz 2005, pp. 333–334.
- Spitz 2005, p. 333.
- Clayson 2005, p. 17: Moving to 10 Admiral Grove in an effort to reduce their rent payments; Davies 2009, p. 142: his parents separated; Spitz 2005, p. 334: divorced within the year.
- Davies 2009, p. 142: Visiting as few as three times thereafter; Spitz 2005, p. 334: "no real memories" of his father.
- Spitz 2005, pp. 334–335.
- Clayson 2005, p. 21; Spitz 2005, pp. 336–337.
- Clayson 2005, p. 21; Davies 2009, pp. 143–144.
- Spitz 2005, p. 337.
- Spitz 2005, p. 337: a feeling of alienation at school; Davies 2009, p. 145: Sefton Park.
- Clayson 2005, p. 17: His surrogate sister Marie Maguire; Spitz 2005, pp. 332–339: tuberculosis and the sanatorium.
- The Beatles 2000, p. 36: (primary source); Spitz 2005, pp. 338–339: (secondary source).
- Spitz 2005, p. 339.
- The Beatles 2000, p. 36.
- Clayson 2005, p. 23.
- Clayson 2005, p. 22–23: classmates nicknamed Starr "Lazarus"; Davies 2009, p. 145–147: Dingle Vale Secondary Modern; Gould 2007, p. 125: St Silas primary school.
- Davies 2009, p. 145; Spitz 2005, pp. 339–340.
- Spitz 2005, p. 340.
- Davies 2009, p. 146.
- Spitz 2005, pp. 336–339.
- Spitz 2005, p. 332.
- Clayson 2005, p. 16; Davies 2009, p. 141; Spitz 2005, pp. 332–335.
- Spitz 2005, p. 335.
- Gould 2007, p. 125: his return from the sanatorium in 1955; Spitz 2005, pp. 340–341.
- The Beatles 2000, p. 36: (primary source); Spitz 2005, p. 340: (secondary source).
- The Beatles 2000, p. 36: (primary source); Spitz 2005, pp. 340–341: (secondary source).
- Spitz 2005, p. 341.
- Spitz 2005, pp. 341–342.
- Spitz 2005, p. 342.
- Clayson 2005, pp. 37–38: The UK skiffle craze succumbed to American rock and roll by early 1958; Spitz 2005, p. 343.
- Clayson 2005, p. 45: Starr joined Storm's band in November 1959; Lewisohn 1992, p. 58: Starr joined Storm's band in November 1959; Spitz 2005, pp. 324, 341–343.
- Clayson 2005, p. 44; Lewisohn 1992, p. 58.
- Clayson 2005, pp. 44–45; Spitz 2005, pp. 324, 341–343.
- Clayson 2005, pp. 57–58: (secondary source); Spitz 2005, pp. 324, 341–345: (secondary source); The Beatles 2000, p. 39: (primary source).
- Clayson 2005, p. 50; Davies 2009, p. 150.
- Lewisohn 1992, p. 58.
- Clayson 2005, pp. 54–55; Davies 2009, p. 150; Spitz 2005, pp. 245–246.
- Davies 2009, p. 150.
- Clayson 2005, p. 54; Davies 2009, p. 150.
- Clayson 2005, p. 63: Starr first met the Beatles in Hamburg; Davies 2009, pp. 150–151: Starr first met the Beatles in Hamburg; Harry 2004, p. 302: Bruno Koschmider; Lewisohn 1992, p. 23: arriving in Hamburg on 1 October 1960.
- Clayson 2005, p. 62: the Hurricanes were paid more then the Beatles; Harry 2004, p. 302: the Hurricanes were given top-billing over the Beatles.
- Clayson 2005, p. 63: Starr recording with the Beatles for the first time; Davies 2009, p. 151: Starr performed with the Beatles during a few stand-in engagements while in Hamburg; Lewisohn 1992, p. 23: Starr recording with the Beatles for the first time.
- Lewisohn 1992, p. 23.
- Clayson 2005, p. 69; Gould 2007, p. 126.
- Clayson 2005, p. 58: A second season with the Hurricanes at Butlins; Clayson 2005, pp. 81–82: Starr quit the Hurricanes and briefly joined Sheridan in Hamburg; Gould 2007, p. 126: Starr quit the Hurricanes and briefly joined Sheridan in Hamburg.
- Harry 2004, p. 110.
- Lewisohn 1992, p. 59.
- Davies 2009, p. 137.
- Clayson 2005, p. 87; Harry 2004, p. 110; Lewisohn 1992, p. 75.
- Clayson 2005, pp. 88–89: Harrison received a black eye; Davies 2009, p. 138: Epstein hired a bodyguard; Harry 2004, p. 110 (tertiary source).
- Everett 2001, p. 126.
- Harry 2004, pp. 367–368.
- Davies 2009, p. 163.
- Clayson 2005, p. 96.
- Clayson 2005, p. 89.
- Clayson 2005, p. 94.
- Lewisohn 1992, p. 161.
- Lewisohn 1992, pp. 160–161.
- Babiuk 2002, p. 132.
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- Harry 2004, p. 255.
- Harry 2004, p. 111.
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- Gould 2007, pp. 463–468.
- The Beatles 2000, p. 284.
- Lewisohn 1992, pp. 283–304.
- Harry 2004, pp. 259–260.
- Harry 2004, pp. 259–260: "Octopus's Garden".
- Everett 2001, pp. 254–255: "Octopus's Garden".
- Lewisohn 1992, pp. 295–296.
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- Harry 2004, pp. 311–312: Sentimental Journey; 83: Beaucoups of Blues.
- Roberts 2005, p. 479: "Back Off Boogaloo" peak UK chart position; Whitburn 2010, p. 620: peak US chart positions for "It Don't Come Easy" and "Back Off Boogaloo".
- Harry 2004, pp. 268: "Photograph"; Harry 2004, pp. 372: "You're Sixteen"; Whitburn 2010, p. 620: peak US chart positions for "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen".
- Harry 2000, pp. 298–300: the Concert for Bangladesh; Harry 2003, p. 11: All Things Must Pass; Harry 2003, p. 253: Living in the Material World; Clayson 2005, pp. 217: Plastic Ono Band.
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- Harry 2004, pp. 281–282.
- "AppleRecords-British Vinyl Releases". Archived from the original on 6 July 2007.
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- The Beatles 2000, p. 36: influenced by country artists (primary source); Clayson 2005, p. 20: influenced by country artists (secondary source); Everett 2001, p. 119: influenced by country artists (secondary source); Spitz 2005, pp. 343–344: influenced by jazz drummers Chico Hamilton and Yusef Lateef.
- Clayson 2005, p. 42.
- The Beatles 2000, p. 36: (primary source); Clayson 2005, p. 40: (secondary source).
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Further reading 
- Barrow, Tony (2005). John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story. Thunder's Mouth. ISBN 978-1-56025-882-7.
- Ingham, Chris (2009). The Rough Guide to the Beatles: The Story, the Songs, the Solo Years (3rd ed.). Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1-84353-140-1.
- Kirchherr, Astrid; Voormann, Klaus (1999). Hamburg Days. Genesis Publications. ISBN 978-0-904351-73-6.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-517-57066-1.
- Martin, George (1979). All You Need Is Ears. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-11482-4.
- Martin, George; Pearson, William (1994). Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt. Pepper. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-60398-7.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Ringo Starr|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ringo Starr|
- Official website
- Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band
- Ringo Starr's Drummerworld profile
- Ringo Starr at the Internet Movie Database
- Ringo Starr at AllRovi
- Ringo Starr Artwork
- Press Conference with Ringo Starr on The BackStage Pass internet radio show
- The art of Ringo Starr
- NYTimes interview for his 70th birthday
- Ringo Starr (Paris Le Palais des Sports 2011)
|Narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends