A few minutes ago CNN ran a report about Ringo Starr. I perked up, because as a huge Beatles fan, any news about the Beatles is perk-worthy.
Then the reliably alluring Kyra Phillips said something akin to, “Ringo is sick of your fan mail.” Wait. What? Then the broadcast turned to a YouTube message the onetime Richard Starkey of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes taped recently. Like, maybe, today. He speaks for 43 seconds. His message is: “Peace and love. Stop sending me fan mail.” Right. Peace and love, kiss off, says Ringo. He gives a drop-dead date of Oct. 20; anything postmarked on that day or after will be cast aside in the same way Pete Best was discarded to allow Ringo to join the Beatles – where he received tons of fan mail.
This is a first. I’ve never been critical of a Beatle, living or late, even in cases when they have deserved it (a new biography of John Lennon, one of my artistic heroes, portrays him as not only a jerk but a menace), but that stops now:
Ringo, shut it.
Ringo’s been slipping into cranky old-man territory for a while now. Two years ago on the red carpet after the gala opening of Love at The Mirage, a freelance writer (also reliably alluring) on assignment for People magazine asked Ringo, “What would John and George thought of the show?” A perfectly sensible question, at which Ringo groused, “Why don’t you ask them?” then hustled off to mug for photos with Siegfried & Roy. Somewhere, maybe around the time he realized he could still draw adoring audiences across the globe with his brilliant All-Starr Bands, Ringo lost sight of who he is. Which is, a pretty ordinary musician with a goofy/funny disposition who managed to luck his way into the greatest band ever. But left on his own, today, Ringo is not always so appealing. “Stop the fan mail,” he says. Give me a break. If it weren’t for the most fortuitous break in music history, Ringo likely would have been left carrying the bag.
I say that in the spirit of peace and love, of course.