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Ringo Starr Reflects on Beatles’ Rapid Rise to Fame: ‘We All Went Mad’

Ringo Starr Reflects on Beatles’ Rapid Rise to Fame: ‘We All Went Mad’

It must have been quite a heavy load for Ringo Starr to carry as the Beatles changed the course of rock music. Starr has had a front-row seat for it all as the drummer in the band. Starr and Paul McCartney are the remaining live members of the Beatles. They have a deep kinship that was formed back during the active days of the Fab Four.

“Yeah, they know me,” Ringo Starr told AARP. “Paul loves me as much as I love him. He’s the brother I never had. As an only child, suddenly I got three brothers. We looked out for each other. We all went mad at different times. You can’t imagine what it was like, being in the Beatles. It got bigger and crazier.”

He even recalls the first time he heard the band on a record.

“We were playing clubs, and then we made a record, Love Me Do. My God, there’s nothing bigger than that, our first vinyl. We found out the BBC was going to play Love Me Do at 2:17, or whatever time it was, and we pulled the car over. ‘Wow! We’re on the radio, man!’”

Ringo Starr, Beatles Had Trouble Celebrating New Success

There were many times when Ringo Starr and his other Beatles could not enjoy their newfound success. They were chased down by thousands of teenagers. In fact, they fought for their safety at times.

Yet today, Starr heads out on the road with his All-Star Band and performs a lot of Beatles songs. He’ll also do songs like It Don’t Come Easy and, at the end, (With A Little Help From) My Friends. He knows that a tour like that one is very strenuous on the body and mind.

“I prepare every day,” Ringo Starr said. “I work out with a trainer three times a week, and I do a couple of days on my own as well, just to keep moving. In the first All Starr Band, Joe Walsh was the guitarist. I said to Joe, ‘Let’s rock!’ I went down on my knees, but I couldn’t get back up. [Laughs.] That’s when I started getting myself together physically.”

Beatlemania was a real thing for millions of kids in the early 1960s. That fanatic of a following could be quite taxing on a musician. Next year will mark 60 years since they first came to New York for The Ed Sullivan Show.

“Wow, 60 years. I can’t tell you how incredible it was,” Starr said. “All the music I loved came from America: country, blues, probably half the records I bought were Motown. It was always American music, and 60 years later, I’m still here talking about it.

“Ed Sullivan was at the airport in London when we came back from a tour of Sweden,” he said. “He didn’t know who we were, but when he saw the reaction of the crowd, he booked us. By the time we got to America, we had a single [I Want to Hold Your Hand] that was number 1. Everything just worked out for the Beatles.”