by John M. Borack
(All photos copyright John M. Borack, 2017)
The weather was unusually hot and humid, but that didn’t deter hundreds of Beatles fans from gathering outside the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, CA on July 7 to help Ringo Starr celebrate his 77th birthday. As he’s done the past several years, Ringo also used the occasion to have the crowd join him in his trademark “Peace & Love” salute at 12:00 noon.
As always, Ringo was joined by many of his famous pals, including his brother-in-law/Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, who served as an MC of sorts for the event, greeting the crowd with his trademark, “How ya doin’?” Also on hand to help celebrate with Ringo were Nils Lofgren, Edgar Winter, filmmaker David Lynch, Peter Asher, “Breakfast With the Beatles” radio show host Chris Carter, Ringo’s wife Barbara Bach and his son, Who drummer Zak Starkey, among others.
Adding to the festivities was the appearance of a makeshift, all-star—not All-Starr—band which played a few Ringo tunes to the appreciative crowd. The combo featured former Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis on vocals, Van Dyke Parks on accordion, Don Was on upright bass, longtime Ringo cohort Jim Keltner on drums, and Michael Bearden on keys.
Prior to the music and the “Peace & Love” salute, a trim, fit-looking, and good-natured Ringo and his friends paused for photos along the media-only red carpet, where Ringo also briefly discussed his upcoming album, Give More Love, set to be released in September. The record includes performances by Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, Peter Frampton, Steve Lukather, Dave Stewart, Don Was, Timothy B. Schmit, Jeff Lynne, Richard Marx and Benmont Tench. “I love what they do,” Ringo told journalist David Wild. “None of us have attitude, and none of us are afraid to just rock.”
Ringo also had a bit of fun with the assembled media: he tapped a journalist on the chest who was wearing a vintage Ringo Starr t-shirt and said, “Love it,” and when a photographer shouted, “Kiss your wife,” Ringo stopped, placed his hands on his hips, looked at the shutterbug and jokingly said, “You’re sure bossy,” before complying with the request.
After Ringo blew out the candles on his birthday cake to much applause, he and his famous friends and family tossed silicone wristbands emblazoned with the words “Peace & Love” and “7-7-17” into the crowd (Zak Starkey seemed to particularly enjoy hurling handfuls into the throng), while special “Peace & Love” cookies were also distributed to the assembled.
For those who couldn’t make it to Hollywood, similar events – sans Ringo, of course – were held in such far flung locations as the Cavern Club in Liverpool, Abbey Road in London, Moscow’s Red Square, New York City’s Strawberry Fields, and Lima, Peru’s Parque John Lennon, to list just a few.