Ringo Starr on his ‘needed for a long time’ birthday wish: ‘I can’t demand peace and love. I can only say it.’

Published On July 7, 2024 » By »

Ringo Starr held his first annual Peace & Love Birthday Celebration back in 2008, but as he celebrated his 84th birthday Sunday, during possibly one of the most chaotic and fraught years of his long lifetime, he was asked if his benevolent birthday message of “peace and love” was needed now more than ever.

“I don’t think it’s more needed than ever; it’s been needed for a long time,” the Beatles drummer clarified, speaking with me July 7 at his birthday bash in Beverly Hills. “As you know, it started in the ‘60s  in my eyes, in San Francisco. The hippies came to power and then they realized, ‘Peace and love.’ And we’re just following on. It just something I do now to try… 35 countries had things like this today. And so, what else can you do? I can’t demand peace and love. I can only say it: ‘Peace and love.’ And it’s being said more and more. And what is great is on TV, you see now guests on talk shows [saying it]. So, it looks like it’s moving on. So, life is good.”

Ringo Starr greeting me and other journalists and fans at his 2024 Peace & Love Birthday Celebration in Los Angeles.

Ringo Starr greeting me and other journalists and fans at his 2024 Peace & Love Birthday Celebration in Los Angeles. (photo: Steve Rood)

Thirty-five global Peace and Love Celebrations (and one out-of-this-world celebration, as NASA literally beamed Starr’s message up to the actual stars) took place July 7 — with the legend not exactly demanding, but encouraging fans to fulfill his birthday wish by thinking, saying, or posting #peaceandlove at noon their local time. Starr’s in-person L.A. celebration included an outdoor concert with Ben Dickey performing Ringo’s “Weight of the World,” Ben Harper doing “Walk With You,” and Willie Watson, Greg Leisz, Don Was, Gregg Bissonnette, Steve Dudas. and other all-stars covering the Americana classics “Act Naturally” and “Beaucoups of Blues.”

Starr’s best buddy Joe Walsh then led the L.A. attendees, which included recent Ringo Starr collaborators Linda Perry and Diane Warren and superstar drummer Matt Sorum, in the Pacific-time countdown to noon. Walsh recalled that he first met Ringo in 1973 at the nearby Record Plant West studio during a “good old-fashioned late-night jam session. At least that’s how the legend goes, because neither Ringo nor I remember much about that night! But people that were there said we were instantly best friends. And it must be true, because more than 50 years later, here I stand in the blistering California sun besides a statue of his fingers.

“The world loves Ringo Starr, because how could they not? He is the Beatle you wanted to hang out with, the beating heart of the most beloved musical act in history, the drummer by which all drummers will be measured for all time, and the man with a very simple message for the world: peace and love,” Walsh continued. “Think of the power we can harness when so many of us from so many corners of this great big world can all come together at the same time and say, think, post online, or turn to their neighbor and straight-up declare ‘peace and love.’ Demand it! Peace and love. That’s what we’re here for. That’s who we are. That’s why we do what we do. That’s the only thing that makes it all of this worthwhile. It’s my great honor and pleasure to carry this message on behalf of my brother, my friend, and my favorite drummer. … Grab hold of someone you love, or someone you don’t know, if you’re able, and declare to the world what we’re all about. Peace and love.”

Share this post


Comments are closed.