Ringo Starr’s “Peace and Love”-themed 70th birthday

Ringo Starr gestures as he is interviewed during a ceremony where the former Beatle celebrated his 70th birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE)

It’s hard to believe that the Beatles are old enough to be grandparents- but drummer Ringo Starr just turned 70 years old. Ringo celebrated with a “Peace and Love” themed party attended by fans, family and friends, and closed out the evening with an all-star show at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall that thrilled concert goers. An unannounced appearance by Paul McCartney sent the crowd into fits, and Yoko Ono also made an appearance.

The cake had been served, the candles had been blown out, and Ringo Starr had all but told the sold-out crowd at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall to go home, but the most exciting part of his 70th birthday show last night was still to come. That was the exact moment, right around 10 p.m., that none other than Paul McCartney bounded on stage in his skinny tie and fitted suit. The art-deco hall filled with 1964-style squeals as Sir Paul tore through the Beatles’ “Birthday” with the wild-eyed drive of someone decades younger.

McCartney’s unannounced appearance was the perfect end to an evening of festive collaboration. Ringo calls his touring act the All-Starr Band for a reason: They’re all handpicked veterans of bands from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. In between his solo hits (“Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy”) and Beatles classics (“Yellow Submarine,” “Act Naturally,” “Boys”), he gave each of his bandmates ample time to demonstrate their own claims to fame. Keyboardist/saxophonist Edgar Winter led electrifying renditions of “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.” Guitarist Rick Derringer of the McCoys rocked “Hang On Sloopy.” The Romantics’ Wally Palmar told us “What I Like About You.” Mr. Mister’s Richard Page spread his “Broken Wings.” Gary Wright crooned “Dreamweaver,” which he said was inspired by a book on Eastern philosophy that George Harrison once gave him. (“George Harrison never gave me no damn book,” cracked Ringo.)

I’m not sure I’d sit through an entire concert by any of those guys’ original groups, but seeing them run through their hits with Ringo was fun — a classic-rock radio revue with one of history’s greatest beat-keepers behind the kit. Starr himself was as energetic as any 70-year-old I’ve ever encountered, grooving gamely at front stage or drumming with that familiar head-bobbing enthusiasm.

Halfway through a Mr. Mister song, my mother and I noticed the E Street Band’s Stevie Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren and ELO’s Jeff Lynne simultaneously leaving their seats a few rows ahead of us. For a moment I thought they must not be big “Broken Wings” fans, but of course they were only heading backstage. A few numbers later, Starr said he wanted to play a tune that he was considering cutting from his set list due to lukewarm crowd reactions. The song was “With A Little Help from My Friends.” Oh, Ringo, you joker! This was the cue for a cavalcade of celebs to join him. Seeing Starr giddily jam with Van Zandt, Lofgren, Lynne, Yoko Ono, Joe Walsh, and quite a few others is not a sight I’ll soon forget.

My mother and I had been hoping all along that McCartney might pop up. He was conveniently in between tour dates in London and San Francisco this week, and 70 is a big birthday. But “With A Little Help” transitioned into a sweet singalong of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance,” followed by a spontaneous crowd rendition of “Happy Birthday” and the aforementioned cake and candles, and Macca was nowhere to be seen. Oh well. Who could complain after all those other guests? And then he turned up after all. His “Birthday,” with Walsh on wicked lead guitar, was the best possible way to end that show. Afterward, teary hugs were exchanged between McCartney, Starr, and Ono. McCartney softly repeated the words “Happy birthday to you” into the microphone. The appreciative surprise on his old friend’s face looked altogether genuine.

And so, for the second time in as many years, the two surviving Beatles shared a concert stage. (The same stage, as it happens.) My mom, who never got to see them when she was a teenaged fan in the ’60s, was pretty psyched to be there. So was I. On our way out from the venue, someone was raving about “history in the making.”

[From Entertainment Weekly]

Oh, man, do I wish I could have been there! I am kind of in denial about how old Paul and Ringo are. I would like to think they will live forever, wouldn’t you? At any rate, Ringo looks damn good for 70 years old. Despite the substance abuse problems he had earlier in his life, he looks like he’s taking very good care of himself these days. Happy Birthday, Ringo!

Ringo Starr gestures after blowing out a candle on his birthday cake during a ceremony where the former Beatle celebrated his 70th birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE)

Ringo Starr gestures as he is interviewed during a ceremony where the former Beatle celebrated his 70th birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE IMAGES THE DAY)

Ringo Starr gestures after blowing out a candle on his birthday cake during a ceremony where the former Beatle celebrated his 70th birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE)

Ringo Starr flashes the peace sign during a photo opportunity while celebrating his 70th birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE)

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24 Responses to “Ringo Starr’s “Peace and Love”-themed 70th birthday”

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  1. Sarah says:

    He doesn’t look 70. Happy B-day Ringo! :)

  2. Tess says:

    His wife of many years (especially by celebrity standards) is Barbara Bach.

    I think that’s her standing beside him in the third picture. She was a knock-out and a Bond Girl many moons ago.

  3. BReedy says:

    I saw the Beatles as a young teenager when they landed in the USA and WOWZA Ringo and Paul still have it ALL going on. Miss George. Miss John. Beatles Forever.

  4. Jillian says:

    Happy Birthday, Ringo!!

  5. Jeri says:

    Happy Birthday Ringo. Far out and Peace Out.

  6. katyalia says:

    Yeah, he looks way better than Gibson.

  7. Kayleigh says:

    I want to look like that at 70. And be that rich. Lucky SOB!

  8. Eileen Yover says:

    He looks amazing for 70! What do you think: Rhino Horn? kidding!
    Anyway Happy BD Ringo!

  9. Allie says:

    WOAH! He doesnt look a day over 50. Honestly, if i saw those pics and didnt know who that was i would think they were of a guy in his mid-40s. way to go Ringo!

  10. Chris says:

    Good on you, Ringo. My boys loved your work in Thomas the Tank Engine.

  11. Jack says:

    he looks like 50..

  12. Aussie Mama says:

    Fountain of youth or what!
    The man looks incredible for 70!

  13. Monica says:

    His wife, the former Barbara Goldbach, is 64. She looks great too. She’s not only a former Bond girl, she’s a former Breck girl too, for those of us old enough to remember.

  14. Bobby the K says:

    Macca has a lot of class and he probably only showed up at the end so that Ringo would get all the attention on his big night.

    Best Beatles doc is Anthology.

    Something else worth checking out is Concert for George.

  15. GatsbyGal says:

    Ringo does take very good care of himself. He’s also a vegetarian because he had serious stomach problems when he was a younger man. So yeah, he watches what he eats and that probably helps him look younger.

    He also just has a great soul! Ringo was my favorite Beatle (lol, listen to me talk like I was alive in the 60′s…I’m only 24!) and I hope he’ll still be here making music and being cool for decades to come!

  16. moi says:

    love him. Happy birthday ringo!!!!

  17. gg says:

    Ringo looks great! Long live the Beatles music.

  18. Fae says:

    Whatevs, the man is a prime tosspot. Promise.

    Oh yeah, and a fabulously mediocre drummer.

  19. Lady Jane says:

    I love you Ringo. Happy Birthday.

  20. Renee says:

    How’s that fan mail coming along, Ringo? PEACE AND LOVE! PEACE AND LOVE!

  21. SammyHammy says:

    May he live another 70 years…

  22. daisy says:

    old enough to be great great grandparents..lol

  23. daisy says:

    and no he does NOT look 70

  24. Lynda says:

    Love you Ringo. I wish all four of you were still here and together.

    I work with memory impaired older adults and they sing Beatles songs. I wonder what I’ll sing when I’m that way!!