After the break-up of the Beatles, the assumed wisdom was that their drummer would fade off into obscurity to count his millions on some Caribbean island. The press had simplistically styled him as a grinning stickman, whose main role had been to keep the group together with his good humour while they were besieged in hotel rooms hordes of screaming fans.
To everyone’s surprise, Ringo bounced back with an incredible roll of hit singles, including It Don’t Come Easy (1971), Back off Boogaloo (1972), and two US Number Ones You’re Sixteen (1974) and the incredible, beautiful Photograph (1973)
Today at the age of 77 (he’ll be 78 in a fortnight), Sir Ringo Starr is still confounding expectations and touring with his All-Starr Band. Despite my misgivings about his advanced age, I had to see him when he hit Barcelona last night.
As Ringo himself said, we were just there to hear some great music and have a great time. He played most of his solo hits and he still has that wonderful deep Liverpudlian voice that we all know and love so well. Beatles hits brought the house down every time. How can it not give you a thrill to be singing along to Yellow Submarine and With a Little Help From My Friends, knowing you’re doing it with the same man who was there in Abbey Road all those years ago with John and Paul and George?
The surprise of the night was the All Starr Band. These guys are not just some hacks hired to strum along with a living legend. They are mega-successful musicians in their own right. Ringo’s right-hand man is singer-songwriter and front man of 10CC, Graham Gouldman, who I would have paid to see on his own.
Though unnecessarily apologetic at times (“This is another one from 10CC”), Gouldman gave Ringo a break by blasting out several of his hits, many of which are all-time classics: The Things We Do For Love, Dreadlock Holiday, and of course I’m Not In Love. He didn’t even have time to play the best song he wrote, though one made famous by the Yardbirds, For Your Love.
Forget cynicism, ageism, bagism and all the rest, Ringo is still giving people a great time in 2018. It was worth every penny to see a man who has given me and so many others so much pleasure over a lifetime.
And he didn’t even play Octopus’s Garden. Sniff.