Ringo Starr

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Ringo Starr bigraphy, stories - Rock musician

Ringo Starr : biography

7 July 1940 –

Ringo Starr, (born Richard Starkey; 7 July 1940) 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 prolonged hospitalisations, fell behind scholastically: his classmates nicknamed him "Lazarus" after a twelve-month recovery from peritonitis following a routine appendectomy. At age eight, he had remained illiterate. 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. He then entered the workforce and briefly held a position with British Rail before securing an apprenticeship at a Liverpool equipment manufacturer. Soon after, he became interested in the UK skiffle craze, developing a fervent admiration for the genre. In 1957, he cofounded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, 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 with them in the UK and Hamburg, Germany, he quit the Hurricanes and joined the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best. Starr’s creative contribution to their music has received praise from drummers such as Steve Smith and Phil Collins. 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.

Personal life

Starr married Maureen Cox on 11 February 1965. Epstein served as best-man with Starr’s step-father Harry Graves and Harrison as witnesses.; . Soon after, the couples’ matrimony became the subject of a US novelty song, "Treat Him Tender, Maureen", by the Chicklettes. Starr and Cox had three children together: Zak (born 13 September 1965), Jason (born 19 August 1967) and Lee (born 11 November 1970). In 1971, Starr purchased Lennon’s former home, Tittenhurst Park at Sunninghill in Berkshire and moved his family there. Starr and Cox divorced in 1975, and she died from leukemia 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.

Starr is a vegetarian whose diet is limited due to ongoing stomach problems related to his childhood illnesses. He 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.