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Ringo Starr ON TOUR - Ringo Starr photo

BEATLES together on Ed Sullivan show fair use photo

BEATLES PAUL McCARTNEY - photo Creative Commons Attribution 2.5

BEATLES "LOVE" in Las Vegas, Nevada USA - Mirage Hotel

WHO IS Larry King returns to the NR Top 10? - CNN photo

A party with Ringo and I - NR photo by Mo Starkey

Ringo's Tittenhurst Estate main house - NR photo

Beatles fan Charlie Tsai - NR photo

Ringo sends his message of love and peace - (Photo: Tina 63)



James Loving - National Radio Text Service



Brian Epstein took over as the Beatles manager in January 1962 and led The Beatles' quest for a British recording contract. In August 1962 the band asked Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey), the drummer for one of the top Merseybeat groups, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, to join the band - RINGO STARR'S TOUR SCHEDULE


Tuesday June 24, 2008



When I was a musician and at the beginning of my music journalism career I was reviewing a headline act at the Forum in Los Angeles, California USA in the mid seventies. The band was OK but what stood out was the guitarist/lead singer was wearing form fitting blue spandex pants with his pot belly sticking out. He wasn't that old but he wasn't in the best of shape. The first thought that came to my mind is a Rock N Roll musician has a limited life span. I then thought there are only two bands that can survive and be successful after reaching the age of 50. Those bands were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Thirty plus years on my thoughts have been somewhat prophetic as the Stones continue to tour as well as the two remaining Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Starr is currently in the midst of a tour in the USA. What is most remarkable is that Starr rocks on and is defying logic as July 7th will be his 67th birthday.

It's been 32 years since I was a guest at his Tittenhurst Estate in Ascot/Sunnydale, England for almost two weeks. We recorded a song in his recording studio in his main house with Harry Nilsson on piano. The song was titled Birmingham but the lyrics were, "Lets Have a party and have a good time, drink all the whiskey and drink all the wine." Needless to say that song never saw the light of day and wouldn't even if the London Symphony was added to the basic track.

Nilsson, Ringo, his recording engineer and I partied that night at a local pub and to be honest given the amount of Martell consumed that was also washed down with Guinness stout it's amazing that Ringo's still alive but Nilsson is not. He died January 15, 1994 at the age of 52 from heart failure. His most well-known recordings are "Without You", "Everybody's Talkin'" (theme from the movie Midnight Cowboy) & "Coconut". Since that time Ringo has cleaned up his act and is healthy and strong enough to be on a 31 date tour with dates to be added this summer. But that's not the real story.

What is amazing is that the music the Beatles created is perhaps the best body of music from any one source in the history of music and continues to have a major impact on its listeners due to its meaningful lyrics and unforgettable melodies. When I was a DJ in Cambodia I played 'Yesterday' for the listening audience. My then 23-year-old Cambodian female co-host had never heard of the Beatles. After she heard the song was impressed and became a new Beatles fan. When you rationalize that the band disbanded before she was born lends credibility to the strength of Beatles music.

When Ringo and McCartney were guests on the Larry King show last year promoting the Cirque Du Soleil show at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas USA that features the Beatles songs Ringo pointed out to King that they did create some great music during their Beatles career. No statement could be more precise.

While in Cambodia after downloading the tour schedule I was thinking about how I can approach this story. I went to get something to eat and talked the owner of the establishment Charlie Tsai who is from Taiwan. He speaks some English but admittedly not well. I asked him if he knew the music of the Beatles. His face lit up and he pointed to the shirt that he was wearing. On the shirt were images of the Beatles. "I love the Beatles," he said." I know the lyrics to over sixty of their songs."

He went on to say that he has 160 Beatles songs that he downloaded from the Internet. I asked how many Beatles albums he had. He didn't know what an album was. And that is the dynamic of the Beatles music a man who was born in November 1962 the year that Brian Epstein took over as the Beatles manager in January 1962 and led The Beatles' quest for a British recording contract. In August 1962 the band asked Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey), the drummer for one of the top Merseybeat groups, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, to join the band.

Their final live performance was on the rooftop of the Apple building in Savile Row, London, on January 30, 1969, the next-to-last day of the difficult Get Back sessions. Most of the performance was filmed and later included in the film Let It Be. At that time Tsai was only seven years old.

Tsai speaks very little English but knows the English lyrics to over 60 of the Beatles songs. You will seldom see him smile but the now 46-year-old's face beams with enthusiasm when he talks about the Beatles. His face lights up like a 1000 watt light bulb.

He asked if I knew he played guitar which I wasn't aware of. He instructed his waitress to fetch it and proceeded to play and sing 'Yesterday.' I was shocked. He played every chord of the song well and his English was perfect when he sang the lyrics. He willingly admits that he is not a musician but learned to play the guitar and Beatles music for his own enjoyment.

He said his brother taught him how to play the instrument when he was 12 -years-old five years after the Beatles disbanded yet he learned to sing the English lyrics and play the chords to over 60 of the Beatles tunes. Now if that isn't the positive power of good music what is? You could say the Beatles in their own way helped Tsai learn how to speak English.

As we talked he kept singing the lyrics of numerous Beatles songs while I was eating my spicy Taiwan Beef Noodle soup. During that time he must have sung parts of 30 Beatles songs . He noted that 'Let It Be' was his favorite song and then he blurted out 'The Long Winding Road.' I repeated but which is your favorite Beatles song. He then exclaimed, "What? I can only have one?" He then noted that 'Let It Be' was his favorite. The exuberant reply drew my laughter but that put the icing on the cake of my Beatles story with Ringo on tour after all these years.

You can be a fan of Motley Crue or any other metal band but one must admit that the music of the Beatles is the best and most enduring of all time. Their songs were written 40 to 46 years ago and remain fresh to listen to.

At 67 Ringo continues have a party and have a good time with his music. How does he do it? By getting by with a little help from his (musician) friends. Ringo's tour announcement reads, Ringo and his 10th All-Starr band will bring peace and love on a 31-date summer tour. The 10th All Starr-studded ensemble will include returning All Starrs (in alphabetical order): Colin Hay, Billy Squier, Hamish Stuart, Edgar Winter, and first timer Gary Wright and on drums, Gregg Bissonette.

What can you say about a trendsetter who continues to rock on. We say thanks for the party and the good times as well as Happy Birthday.


06.24.08 -- NEW YORK NY Radio City Music Hall

06.25.08 -- BOSTON MA Bank of America Pavilion

06.27.08 -- Holmdel NJ PNC Bank Arts Center

06.28.08 -- Atlantic City NJ Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort

06.29.08 -- WESTBURY NY North Fork Theatre

07.02.08 -- Clearwater FL Ruth Eckerd Hall

07.03.08 -- HOLLYWOOD FL Hard Rock Live (Seminole)

07.05.08 -- BILOXI MS Beau Rivage

07.06.08 -- NASHVILLE TN Wildhorse Saloon

07.08.08 -- KETTERING OH Fraze Pavilion For The Performing Arts

07.09.08 -- MILWAUKEE WI Potawatomi Casino

07.11.08 -- Windsor ON Casino Windsor Limted

07.12.08 -- MOUNT PLEASANT MI Soaring Eagle Casino

07.13.08 -- CHICAGO IL Charter One Pavilion/Northerly Isle

07.14.08 -- PRIOR LAKE MN Mystic Lake Celebrity Palace

07.18.08 -- AIRWAY HEIGHTS WA Northern Quest Casino

07.19.08 -- WOODINVILLE WA Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery

07.20.08 -- TROUTDALE OR Edgefield

07.22.08 -- Lemoore CA Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino

07.23.08 -- SARATOGA CA The Mountain Winery

07.25.08 -- RENO NV Silver Legacy

07.26.08 -- Primm NV Star Of The Desert Arena

07.27.08 -- SAN DIEGO CA Humphrey's By The Bay

07.29.08 -- PALA CA Pala Casino

07.31.08 -- PHOENIX AZ Dodge Theatre

08.01.08 -- INDIO CA Fantasy Springs Casino

08.02.08 -- LOS ANGELES CA Greek Theatre

More dates coming soon!


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