As he turns 80 on July 7, Ringo Starr reflects on the major turning points in his life.
“If I’d have gone and lived in Houston because of Lightnin’ Hopkins, who knows where I would have been?” he asked aloud, referring to what would have happened if, at 19, he immigrated to the United States just to be where his country blues musician idol lived.
“And if I’d have stayed with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, what would have happened there?” Ringo was with the band until he decided to join the Beatles to replace drummer Pete Best.
There was also the matter of Ringo being sickly as a child. He suffered from appendicitis, then a ruptured appendix, pleurisy, food allergies and tuberculosis. Lying in a hospital bed, the 13-year-old was given a little drum by a music teacher. In that instant, Ringo decided that it was the only thing he wanted to do in life—to be a drummer.
He ended up playing drums for the greatest band in rock history, alongside Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison. In this recent video call, the man who was considered the Beatles’ heart and soul suddenly showed up on my laptop screen, half an hour early. He thought the interview was at 11:30 in the morning. It was set at noon.