RINGO’S 82ND BIRTHDAY
7.7.22 BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA
Photos by Paul Zollo
& with a Little Help from His Friends
Words & Photos by PAUL ZOLLO
LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2022. In what has become one of L.A.’s most beloved and joyful traditions, Ringo celebrated his birthday on this past July 7th as he has since 2005: gathered with a big gang of friends, family and some lucky members of the press, he celebrates another year on this planet by inviting friends nearby, as well as all around this world, to join together in a celebration of peace and love at 12 noon Pacific time.
Though this event was inaugurated in Chicago, fortunately for us Angelenos, it’s mostly been held here, and usually outside the iconic Capitol Records tower on Vine Street in Hollywood. ***
Ever since the pandemic & lockdown, however, with ongoing Covid caution, they have maintained the tradition but held it away from Capitol at a different location unannounced to the public. This year it was at the Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills, which is already famously distinguished by its monumental Ringo connection: it’s there that stands an immense and shining eight-foot tall, 800-pound steel sculpture of his own design of his own hand giving the peace sign.
He donated the sculpture to Beverly Hills, which (after initally rejecting it, before coming to their senses) installed it here across the street from their City Hall.
Friends and luminaries in attendance included many of the great members, past and present, of his All-Starr band, including Steve Lukather, Greg Bissonette and Edgar Winter. The legendary drummer, Jim Keltner was also there (who is the only drummer, except for Ringo and Pete Best, to have played with all of the Beatles), and Ringo coaxed him up onstage to join the others.
The great photographer and beloved friend Henry Diltz was there, and received a shout-out from Ringo, onstage. “There’s Henry Diltz,” he said, “still standing!”
Also present were Diane Warren, Linda Perry, Richard Marx, Colin Hay, Warren Ham, Matt Sorum, Ed Begley Jr, Roy Jr. & Alex Orbison, Randy Lewis, the photographer Jill Jarrett, and others.
This year Ringo’s global message of love was sent even farther than usual:.
The Artemis Music Space Network, through the International Space Station (ISS), brought Ringo’s message out to the galaxy. At noon he signaled their Mission Control Center in Houston to beam his message & music (his 2021 single release “Let’s Change The World” and his “Star Song”) to the International Space Station.
From there it was sent into orbit around the Earth, passing over many countries and much of the Earth’s population and beaming back down messages of peace and love while also traveling out to distant stars.
Before this commenced, two great performers – Langhorne Slim and Sawyer Fredericks – performed many of Ringo’s great songs with infectious joy.
As Ringo greeted the press before noon, I had the chance to ask one quick question. Captured on video (see below), it is preserved. It starts with another press guy asking about Boris Johnson, who resigned days earlier. Ringo’s shakes off that question. Then you hear Elizabeth sweetly exclaim, “Paul!!”
Then I mentioned that last year I asked him how he looked so great at 81. His answer was “It’s because I don’t wear a hat,” pointing at mine.
This year I mentioned that answer, which caused him to laugh. (My first time ever causing a Beatle to laugh.) I then asked if there were any other reasons that in his 80s he looks so young and healthy. The video cut out here, but he said, “Well, you know I try to keep myself fit. You are what you put into the world.”
I asked if having a great marriage was part of it. “Yes, it is,” he said warmly. “She is my best friend. She is always with me. Yes, Barbara is a big reason I’m still here.”
Ringo’s Answer to Zollo’s Question
Video by Allison Johnelle Boron
Cohost, BC the Beatles podcast @BCtheBeatles
*** Capitol, as you probably know, was the Beatles’ label in America, as part of the EMI label. And though the lads recorded famously at Abbey Road in London mostly, Capitol has been an American touchstone for them for decades. It’s there they famously charmed all the secretaries and everyone else when first visiting back in 1964. And it’s there, on the sidewalk in the front, where The Beatles’ star on the Walk of Fame is located, as well as their individual stars.
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