It was hard to disagree with musician Brian Aubert’s statement that “The mere mention of the name Ringo makes people happy.” Aubert’s words came at Ringo Starr’s 83rd birthday party at Beverly Gardens Park on July 7.
Just feet away from the iconic silver “Peace and Love” statue that Starr donated in 2019, Starr and his wife Barbara Bach Starkey hosted family and friends at a musical celebration that made the park come alive with fun and joyful vibes.
As he has done every July 7 since 2008, Starr celebrated his birthday by encouraging fans around the world at 12 p.m. in their local time zones to prioritize “peace and love.”
While fans remarked that Starr, who looks fit, happy and laid-back, could pass for 53, the Beatle was asked whether he was proud to be here at age 83.
“I’m here,” Starr said with a laugh. “It’s not like a proud thing; it is just where I am at.”
When Starr, who is launching a tour in the U.S. and Canada, was asked how it is for him to be back on the road, the drummer said with a smile, “I’ve been on the road since 1989. It’s what I do.”
He added, “I am the drummer, so I need a few guitars and pianos around me. But I love being in the back; that is where I do my stuff.”
When the longtime Beverly Hills resident was asked how he most wanted passersby to be inspired by his fun, ‘60s pop art sculpture in the park, Starr told the Beverly Hills Courier, “Residents and tourists come down here to this beautiful park, and then they see this sign, maybe take a photo by it, and they remember to take peace and love both inside themselves and also to spread it around the world.”
Joining Starr were his children and many friends, including, (brother-in-law, musical collaborator, and close friend) Joe Walsh, Roy Orbison, Jr., Sheila E, Richard Marx, and Ed Begley Jr., and hundreds of other fans.
“The Beatles’ message, period, was “Peace and Love,” said Walsh, the guitarist for the Eagles, who also lives in Beverly Hills.
As for the Eagles, who still play together, Walsh told the Courier, “We are just so grateful that our fans have stuck with us all this time: and we’re not done yet!”
When asked what song he most likes to play with his friend Ringo, Walsh, of “Hotel California” fame, said, sounding like the ‘60s rocker that he is, “Well, we go into unexplored territory.
“We don’t necessarily sing songs that exist. We might just get a groove going and see where it goes from there. We have a lot of fun doing that.
“When we get a chance to play, we just go free form. We know each other well, and we go into some interesting places.
“Rhythmically, Ringo always keeps me guessing.”
Although Beatles fans will be thrilled to hear the group’s latest collaboration, thanks to Artificial Intelligence, adds the voice of John Lennon and the rhythm guitar of George Harrison while Ringo plays drums while his still good friend Paul McCartney plays bass and sings, Ringo has released 20 albums of his own.
His next album very well might be country, Starr confided.
One group of fans who held signs that wished Ringo a “Happy Birthday” just met today for the first time, but they have been meditating together in a Zoom class for 20 minutes every day since the pandemic after joining a “White Album Meditation Challenge” Facebook group.
Before the clock struck noon, when everyone would flash their Peace signs, the crowd swayed and bopped as local bands King Tuff and Blake Mills played. It was Aubert’s band Silversun Pickups, however, that brought down the park when it launched into Starr’s 1971 hit, “It Don’t Come Easy.”
“Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues,” sang Aubert and vocalist Nikki Monniger, paying tribute, as Starr danced appreciatively in the front row.