It seems that every generation since the ’60s has rediscovered the Beatles in some way — and usually, it’s tied to a new way to listen and buy their music. That’s happened again recently, as the surviving members of the band paved the way to include their classic hits on streaming services. This is after they received popularity bumps with CDs and digital downloads in other decades.
As it turns out, the Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr, doesn’t really use streaming services, or so he told Bloomberg Businessweek magazine in an August interview. But, he did observing something interesting about the younger generation.
“The other night, I was at dinner with friends and their 18-year-old kid,” Starr told Bloomberg. “He buys CDs and vinyl. The kids are going back to vinyl to be rebels. They’ve had CDs and streaming and all that stuff.”
No matter how the music plays, Starr was behind some of the most loved tunes of the rock era. He performs on Oct. 19 at Grand Sierra Resort as part of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band.
When he was fab
It seems like any fan of rock should know Starr’s own rags-to-riches story by now. A native of Liverpool, England, Richard Starkey joined the Beatles in 1962, his Starr nickname intact from his previous bands. One of those, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and the Beatles played the infamous Hamburg, Germany, club circuit together in the early ’60s.
Starr joined the Beatles right before they signed to a record label. From there, the Fab Four rode to the top of the charts and music history powered by Starr’s steady and influential drumming style. Among the songs that Starr sang lead on were “Yellow Submarine” and “With a Little Help from My Friends,” both written by the late John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden,” which Starr wrote.
With a new documentary film by director Ron Howard, “Eight Days a Week,” just hitting theaters, it’s clear that the Beatles work is still loved by many. That includes Starr, who told Billboard magazine in a recent interview that he enjoys seeing older footage of the band.
“I love them boys — they were my brothers,” Starr said. “I’m an only child, (and then) suddenly, I got three brothers and we went through that brotherly thing, I thought. There were some downs, but there was so much up. But overall, the music is what was important and it didn’t matter how we were fighting among ourselves. After the count in — two, three, four — everybody gave their best.”
Once the Beatles split in 1970, Starr struck out on his own as a film actor and as a solo artist. His films over the years include “The Magic Christian,” “Candy” and “Caveman.” But it was as a singer that he truly continued his fame, earning hit singles such as “Only You,” “Oh My My,” “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Back Off Boogaloo.” Two of his hits, “Photograph” and “Wrack My Brain,” were written by Starr’s Beatles bandmate, the late George Harrison.
An All-Starr life
From the ’80s onward, Starr balanced his time between occasional solo albums and tours with his All-Starr Band. The group features Starr with notable names from rock’s past and present, who also play and sing songs that made them famous as part of the concert.
The current All-Starrs include longtime rock guitarist/singer and producer Todd Rundgren, Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, former Mr. Mister bassist and singer Richard Page, former Journey and current Santana keyboardist and vocalist Gregg Rolie, and well known session players Warren Ham (woodwinds) and Gregg Bissonette (drums).
Starr told Billboard that performing hasn’t changed much over the years.
“If you’re thinking of the Beatles, the audiences were a lot bigger,” Starr said. But it’s still the same. I started in clubs and I love to play — that’s why I’m here because I love to play. I’ve gotten into several good bands, and of course ended up in the best band in the world. Paul’s still out there, it’s where we come from, we’re not there to be famous, we’re there to play.”