Sir Paul McCartney is a key figure in contemporary culture as a singer, composer, poet, writer, artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, and holder of more than 3 thousand copyrights. He is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for most records sold, most #1s (shared), most covered song, "Yesterday," largest paid audience for a solo concert (350,000+ people, in 1989, in Brazil). He is considered one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
He was born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942, in Liverpool General Hospital, where his mother, Mary, was a medical nurse and midwife. His father, Jim, was a cotton salesman and a pianist leading the Jim Mac's Jazz Band in Liverpool. Young Paul McCartney was raised non-denominational. He studied music and art, and had a happy childhood with one younger brother, Michael. At age 11, he was one of only four students who passed the 11+ exam, known as "the scholarship" in Liverpool, and gained a place at Liverpool Institute for Boys. There he studied from 1953 to 1960, earning A level in English and Art.
At the age of 14, Paul McCartney was traumatized by his mother's sudden death from breast cancer. Shortly afterward, he wrote his first song. In July 1957 he met John Lennon during their performances at a local church fête (festival). McCartney impressed Lennon with his mastery of guitar and singing in a variety of styles. He soon joined Lennon's band, The Quarrymen, and eventually became founding member of The Beatles, with the addition of George Harrison and Pete Best. After a few gigs in Hamburg, Germany, the band returned to Liverpool and played regular gigs at the Cavern during 1961.
In November 1961, they invited Brian Epstein to be their manager, making a written agreement in January 1962. At that time McCartney and Harrison were under 21, so the paper wasn't technically legal, albeit it did not matter to them. What mattered was their genuine trust in Epstein. He improved their image, secured them a record deal with EMI, and replaced drummer Best with Ringo Starr. With a little help from Brian Epstein andGeorge Martin, The Beatles consolidated their talents and mutual stimulation into beautiful teamwork, launching the most successful career in the history of entertainment.
The Beatles contributed to music, film, literature, art, and fashion, made a continuous impact on entertainment, popular culture and the lifestyle of several generations. Music became their ticket to ride around the world. Beatlemania never really ended since its initiation; it became a movable feast in many hearts and minds, a sweet memory of youth, when all you need is love and a little help from a friend to be happy. Their songs and images carrying powerful ideas of love, peace, help, and imagination evoked creativity and liberation that outperformed the rusty Soviet propaganda and contributed to breaking walls in the minds of millions, thus making impact on human history.
All four members of The Beatles were charismatic and individually talented artists, they sparked each other from the beginning. Paul McCartney had the privilege of a better musical education, having studied classical piano and guitar in his childhood. He progressed as a lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a singer-songwriter. In addition to singing and songwriting, Paul McCartney played bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, piano and keyboards, as well as over 40 other musical instruments.
McCartney wrote more popular hits for the Beatles than other members of the band. His songs Yesterday, Let It Be, Hey Jude, Blackbird, All My Loving, Eleanor Rigby, Birthday, I Saw Her Standing There, I Will, Get Back, Carry That Weight, P.S. I Love You, Things We Said Today, "Hello, Goodbye," Two of Us, Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, Helter Skelter, Honey Pie, When I'm 64, Lady Madonna, She's a Woman, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," Mother Nature's Son, Long And Winding Road, Rocky Raccoon, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Fool on the Hill, You Never Give Me Your Money, Your Mother Should Know, The End, Yellow Submarine, and many others are among the Beatles' best hits. Yesterday is considered the most covered song in history with over three thousand versions of it recorded by various artists across the universe.
Since he was a teenager, McCartney honored the agreement that was offered by John Lennon in 1957, about the 50/50 authorship of every song written by either one of them. However, both were teenagers, and technically, being under 21, their oral agreement had no legal power. Still, almost 200 songs by The Beatles are formally credited to both names, regardless of the fact that most of the songs were written individually. The songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was really working until the mid-60s, when they collaborated in many of their early songs. Their jamming on a piano together led to creation of their first best-selling hit 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' in 1963.
In total, The Beatles created over 240 songs, they recorded many singles and albums, made several films and TV shows. Thousands of memorable pictures popularized their image. In their evolution from beginners to the leaders of entertainment, they learned from many world cultures, absorbed from various styles, and created their own. McCartney's own range of interests spanned from classical music and English folk ballads to Indian raga and other Oriental cultures, and later expanded into psychedelic experiments and classical-sounding compositions. His creative search has been covering a range of styles from jazz and rock to symphonies and choral music, and to cosmopolitan cross-cultural and cross-genre compositions.
Epstein's 1967 death hurt all four members of The Beatles, as they lost their creative manager. Evolution of each member's creativity and musicianship also led to individual career ambitions, however, their legacy as The Beatles remained the main driving force in their individual careers ever since. McCartney and The Beatles made impact on human history, because their influence has been liberating for generations of nowhere men living in misery beyond the Iron Curtain.
Something in their songs and images appealed to everybody who wanted to become free as a bird. Their songs carrying powerful ideas of real love, peace, help, imagination and freedom evoked creativity and contributed to breaking chains and walls in the minds of millions. The Beatles expressed themselves in beautiful and liberating words of love, happiness, freedom, and revolution, and carried those messages to people across the universe. Their songs and images helped many freedom-loving people to come together for revolutions in Prague and Warsaw, Beijing and Bucharest, Berlin and Moscow. The Beatles has been an inspiration for those who take the long and winding road to freedom.
McCartney was 28 when he started his solo career, and formed his new band, Wings. His first solo album, "McCartney," was a #1 hit and spawned the evergreen ballad "Maybe I'm Amazed", yet critical reaction was mixed. He continued to release music with Wings, that eventually became one of the most commercially successful groups of the 70s. "Band on the Run" won two Grammy Awards and remained the Wings' most lauded work. The 1977 release "Mull of Kintyre" stayed at #1 in the UK for nine weeks, and was highest selling single in the UK for seven years. In 1978 McCartney's theme "Rockestra" won him another Grammy Award. In 1979, together with Elvis Costello, he organized Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. In 1979, McCartney released his solo album "Wonderful Christmastime" which remained popular ever since.
In 1980 McCartney was arrested in Tokyo, Japan, for marijuana possession, and after a ten-day stint in jail, he was released to a media firestorm. He retreated into seclusion after the arrest, and was comforted by his wife Linda. Yet he had another traumatic experience when his ex-band-mate, John Lennon, was shot dead by a crazed fan near his home in New York City on December 8, 1980. McCartney did not play any live concerts for some time because he was nervous that he would be "the next" to be murdered.
After almost a year of absence from the music scene, McCartney returned in 1982 with the album "Tug of War," which was well received by public and enjoyed great critical acclaim. He continued a successful career as a solo artist, collaborated with wife Linda McCartney, and writers such as Elvis Costello. During the 80s, McCartney released such hits as 'No More Lonely Nights' and his first compilation, "All the Best." In 1989, he started his first concert tour since the John Lennon's murder.
In 1994, the three surviving members of The Beatles, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, reunited and produced Lennon's previously unknown song "Free as a Bird." It was preserved by Yoko Ono on a tape recording made by Lennon in 1977. The song was re-arranged and re-mixed by George Martin at the Abbey Road Studios with the voices of three surviving members. The Beatles Anthology TV documentary series was watched by 420 million people in 1995.
During the 1990s McCartney concentrated on composing classical works for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, such as "The Liverpool Oratorio" involving a choir and symphony, and "A Leaf" solo-piano project, both released in 1995. That same year he was working on a new pop album, "Flaming Pie," when his wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, and caring for his wife during her illness meant only sporadic public appearances during that time. The album was released in 1997 to both critical and commercial success, debuting at #2 on both the UK and US pop charts. That same year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as Sir Paul McCartney for his services to music.
In April 1998, Linda McCartney, his beloved wife of almost 30 years, mother of their four children, and his steady partner in music, died of breast cancer. McCartney suffered from a severe depression and undergone medical treatment. He spent much of the next year away from the public eye, emerging only to campaign on behalf of his late wife for animal rights and vegetarian causes.
He eventually returned to the studio, releasing an album of rock n'roll covers in 1999. "Run Devil Run" made both Entertainment Weekly and USA Today's year-end top ten lists. McCartney also slowly returned to the public spotlight with the release of his another classical album, "Working Classical" in November 1999, in recording by the London Symphony Orchestra. His 2000 release "A Garland for Linda" was a choral tribute album, which raised funds to aid cancer survivors.
In 2000 he was invited by Heather Mills, a disabled ex-model, to her 32nd birthday. McCartney wrote songs dedicated to her, he and Mills developed a romantic relationship and became engaged in 2001. However, the year brought him a cascade of traumatic experiences. On September 11, 2001, Paul McCartney was sitting on a plane in New York when the World Trade Center tragedy occurred in front of his eyes, and he was able to witness the events from his seat. Yet there was another sadness, as his former band-mate George Harrison died of cancer in November, 2001.
Recouperating from the stressful year, McCartney received the 2002 Academy Award-nomination for the title song to the movie Vanilla Sky (2001), and also went on his first concert tour in several years. In June, 2002, Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills married in a castle in Monaghan, Ireland. Their daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney, was born in October 2003. Four years later, the high profile marriage ended in divorce, after a widely publicized litigation. "Whenever you're going through difficult times, I'm at the moment, it's really cool to be able to escape into music" says Paul McCartney.
In 2003 Paul McCartney rocked the Red Square in Moscow with his show "Back in USSR" which was attended by his former opponents from the former Soviet KGB, including the Russian president Vladimir Putin himself, who invited McCartney to be the guest of honor in the Kremlin. In 2004 Paul McCartney received a birthday present from the Russian president. In June 2004, he and Heather Mills-McCartney stayed as special guests at suburban Royal Palaces of Russian Tsars in St. Petersburg, Russia. There he staged a spectacular show near the Tsar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg where the Communist Revolution took place, just imagine.
In 2005 the Entertainment magazine poll named The Beatles the most iconic entertainers of the 20th Century. In 2006, the guitar on which Paul McCartney played his first chords and impressed John Lennon, was sold at an auction for over $600,000.
On June 18, 2006, Paul McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday, as in his song "when I'm Sixty-Four." McCartney's celebrity status, made it a cultural milestone for a generation of those born in the baby-boom era who grew up with the music of The Beatles during the 1960s. The prophetic message in the song has been intertwined with McCartney's personal life and his career.
In 2007 McCartney left his longtime label, EMI, and signed with Los Angeles based Hear Music. He learned to play mandolin to create a refreshing feeling for his latest album "Memory Almost Full," then appeared in Apple Computer's commercial for iPod+iTunes to promote the album. In June 2007 McCartney appeared together with Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison and Guy Laliberté in a live broadcast from the "Revolution" Lounge at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
His 3-DVD set "The McCartney Years" with over 40 music videos and hours of Historic Live Performances was released in November 2007. His classical album "Ecco Cor Meum" (aka.. Behold My Heart), recorded with the Academy of St. Martin of the Fields and the boys of King's college Choir, was voted Classical Album of the Year in 2007. That same year, Paul McCartney began dating Nancy Shevell. The couple married in 2011, in London. Sir Paul's "On the Run Tour" once again took him flying across world from July through December 2011 giving sold out concerts in the USA, Canada, UK, United Arab Emirates, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
In July 2012, Paul McCartney rocked the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He delivered a live performance of The Beatles's timeless hit "Hey Jude" and engaged the crowd of people from all over the world to join his band in a sing along finale. The show was seen by a live audience of close to 80000 people at the Olympic Park Stadium in addition to an estimated TV audience of two billion people worldwide.
On the long and winding road of his life and career, Sir Paul McCartney has been a highly respected entertainer and internationally regarded public figure.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov
John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. In the mid-1950s he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, which he attended) who, with the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, later became The Beatles. After some years of performing in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany, "Beatlemania" erupted in England and Europe in 1963 after the release of their singles "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me". The next year the Beatles flew to America to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) (aka The Ed Sullivan Show), and Beatlemania spread worldwide. Queen Elizabeth II granted all four Beatles M.B.E. medals in 1965, for import revenues from their record sales; John returned his four years later, as part of an antiwar statement. John and the Beatles continued to tour and perform live until 1966, when protests over his calling the Beatles phenomenon "more popular than Jesus" and the frustrations of touring made the band decide to quit the road. They devoted themselves to studio work, recording and releasing albums such as "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "Magical Mystery Tour" and the "White Album". Instead of appearing live, the band began making their own "pop clips" (an early term for music videos), which were featured on television programs of the time. In the late 1960s John began performing and making albums with his second wife Yoko Ono, as the Beatles began to break up. Their first two albums, "Two Virgins" and "Life With The Lions", were experimental and flops by Beatles standards, while their "Wedding Album" was almost a vanity work, but their live album "Live Peace In Toronto" became a Top Ten hit, at the end of the 1960s. In the early 1970s John and Yoko continued to record together, making television appearances and performing at charity concerts. After the release of John's biggest hit, "Imagine", they moved to the US, where John was nearly deported because of his political views (a late-'60s conviction for possession of hashish in the U.K. was the excuse given by the government), but after a four-year legal battle he won the right to stay. In the midst of this, John and Yoko separated for over a year; John lived in Los Angeles with personal assistant May Pang, while Yoko dated guitarist David Spinozza. When John made a guest appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving 1974 concert, Yoko was in the audience, and surprised John backstage. They reconciled in early 1975, and Yoko soon became pregnant. After the birth of their son Sean Lennon, John settled into the roles of "househusband" and full-time daddy, while Yoko became his business manager; both appeared happy in their new life together. After a five-year break from music and the public eye, they made a comeback with their album "Double Fantasy", but within weeks of their re-emergence, Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman, a onetime Beatles fan angry and jealous over John's ongoing career.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: paulabb
A master musician, a film producer and actor, best known as the lead guitarist and occasionally lead vocalist of The Beatles, George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. He was also the youngest of four children, born to Harold and Louise Harrison.
Like his future band mates, Harrison was not born into wealth. Louise was largely a stay-at-home mom while her husband Harold drove a school bus for the Liverpool Institute, an acclaimed grammar school where George Harrison attended and first met a young classmate, Paul McCartney. By his own admission, Harrison was not much of a student and what little interest he did have for his studies washed away with his discovery of the electric guitar and American rock'n roll.
There were a lot of harmonies in the Harrison household, he had the knack of sorts at the age 12 or 13, while riding a bike around his neighborhood and getting his first whiff ofElvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel that was playing from a nearby house. By the age of 14, Harrison, who grew up in the likes of listening to such legends as: Carl Perkins, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly, had purchased his first guitar and taught himself a few chords.
Having to accomplished all the musicians for which he listened and having been influenced by, Paul McCartney, who had recently joined up with another Liverpool teenager, John Lennon, in a skiffle group known as the Quarrymen, invited Harrison to see the band perform. Harrison and Lennon would have some things in common. Both had attended Dovedale Primary School, but the two didn't know each other. Their paths finally crossed in early 1958. McCartney had been egging the 17-year-old Lennon to allow the 14-year-old Harrison to join the band. But Lennon was reluctant to allow the young Harrison team up with them. As legend has it, after seeing McCartney and Lennon perform, George was granted an audition on the upper deck of a bus, where he wowed Lennon with his rendition of popular American rock riffs.
By 1960, aged 17, Harrison's music career was in full swing. Lennon had renamed the band the Beatles and the young group began cutting their rock teeth in the small clubs and bars around Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany. Within two years, the group had a new drummer, Ringo Starr, and a manager, Brian Epstein, a young record storeowner who eventually landed the Beatles a record contract with EMI's Parlophone label.
Before the end of 1962, Harrison and the Beatles recorded a top 20 U.K. hit, "Love Me Do." Early that following year, another hit, "Please Please Me," was churned out, followed by an album of the same name. Beatlemania was in full swing across England, and by early 1964, with the release of their album in the US and an American tour, it had swept across the States as well.
Largely referred to as the "Quiet Beatle" Harrison took a back-seat to McCartney, Lennon, and to a certain extent, Starr. Still, he could be quick-witted, even edgy. During the middle of one American tour, the group members were asked how they slept at night with long hair.
From the get-go, Lennon-McCartney were primary lead vocalists, when the band started. While the two spent most of the time writing their own songs, Harrison had shown an early interest in creating his own work. In the summer of 1963, he spearheaded his first song, "Don't Bother Me," which made its way on to the group's second album. From there on out, Harrison's songs were a staple of all Beatle records. In fact some of the group's more memorable songs such as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Something," the latter of which was only the song ever recorded by Frank Sinatra, were penned by Harrison.
But his influence on the group and pop music in general extended beyond just singles. In 1965, while on the set of Beatles' second film, Help! (1965), Harrison took an interest in some of the eastern instruments and their musical arrangements that were being used in the movie. Harrison soon developed a deep interest in Indian music. He taught himself the sitar, introducing the instrument to many western ears on Lennon's song, "Norwegian Wood." He soon cultivated a close relationship with renowned sitar player, Ravi Shankar. Other groups, including the Rolling Stones began incorporating the sitar into some of their work. It could be argued that Harrison's experimentation with different kinds of instrumentation help pave the way for such groundbreaking Beatle albums as Revolver and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."
Harrison's interest in Indian music soon extended into a yearning to learn more about eastern spiritual practices. In 1968, he led the Beatles on a journey to northern India to study transcendental meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Having grown spiritually and musically since the group first started, Harrison, who was feeling the pangs to include more of his material on Beatle records, was clearly uneasy by the group's McCartney-Lennon dominance. During the "Let It Be" recording sessions in 1969, Harrison walked out, leaving the band for several weeks before he was coaxed to come back with the promise that the band would use more of his songs on its records.
But tensions in the group were clearly high. Lennon and McCartney had ceased writing together years before, and they too were feeling the yearning to go in a different direction. In January 1970, the group recorded his "I Me Mine." It was the last song the four of them would ever record together. Three months later, Paul McCartney announced he was leaving the band and the Beatles were officially done.
After the breakup of the Beatles, Harrison pursued on a solo career. He immediately assembled a studio band consisting of ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr, guitarist Eric Clapton, keyboardist Billy Preston and others to record all of the songs that had never made it on to the Beatles catalog. The result was a three-disc album, "All Things Must Pass." While one of its signature songs, "My Sweet Lord," was later deemed too similar in style to the The Chiffons 1963 hit, "He's So Fine," forcing the guitarist to cough up nearly $600,000, the album as a whole remains Harrison's most acclaimed record.
Not long after the album's release, Harrison brandished his charitable work and his continued passion for the east, when he put together a series of groundbreaking benefit concerts at New York City's Madison Square Garden to raise money for refugees in Bangladesh. Known as the Concert for Bangladesh, the shows, which featured Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, and Ravi Shankar, would go on to raise some $15 million for UNICEF, produced a Grammy winning album, and laid the groundwork for future benefit shows like Live Aid and Farm Aid.
But not everything about post-Beatle life went smoothly for Harrison. In 1974, his marriage to Pattie Boyd, whom he'd married eight years before, ended when she left him for Eric Clapton. His studio work struggled, too, from 1973-77, starting with, "Living in the Material World", "Extra Texture," and "33 1/3," whose albums all failed to meet sales expectations.
Following the release of that last album, Harrison took a short break from music, winding down his self-started label, Dark Horse, which had produced works for a number of other bands, and started his own film production company, Handmade Films. The outfit underwrote Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and would go on to put out 26 other movies before Harrison sold his interest in the company in 1994.
In 1979, he returned to the studio to release his self-titled album. It was followed two years later with "Somewhere in England," which was still being worked on at the time ofJohn Lennon's assassination late in December 1980. The record eventually included the Lennon tribute track, "All Those Years Ago," a song which reunited ex-Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with ex-Wings members Denny Laine and Linda McCartney.
While the song was a hit, the album, its predecessor, and its successor, "Gone Troppo," wasn't. For Harrison, the lack of commercial appeal and the constant battles with music executives proved draining and prompted another studio hiatus.
But a comeback of sorts came in November 1987, with the release of the album "Cloud Nine," which was produced by former Beatle craze, Jeff Lynne (of "Electric Light Orchestra" fame), which produced several top-charting hits, including "Got My Mind Set On You," a remake of the 1962 song by Rudy Clark, and "When We Was Fab," a song which reflected on the life of Beatlemania, with 'Ringo Starr (I)', but without Paul McCartney, who was unavailable for the recording, in February 1988. Later in the year, Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys, for his group's first album. The record featured a pair of hits, and spawned the guitarist to link up with Lynne, the late Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan to join his band, which was a "super group." Buoyed by the group's commercial success with its two studio albums Harrison took to the road with his new bandmates in 1992, embarking on his first international tour in 18 years.
Not long after he was reunited with McCartney and Starr for the creation of an exhaustive three-part release of the Beatles Anthology, which featured alternative takes, rare tracks, and a John Lennon demo called "Free as a Bird," that the three surviving Beatles completed in the studio. The song went on to become the group's 34th Top 10 single.
From there, however, Harrison largely became homebody, keeping himself busy with gardening and his cars at his expansive and restored home in Henley-on-Thames in south Oxfordshire, England.
Still, the ensuing years were not completely stress free. In 1997, Harrison, a longtime smoker, reportedly was successfully treated for throat cancer. Two and a half years later, that December, his life was again put on the line when a deranged 33-year-old Beatles fan somehow managed to circumvent Harrison's intricate security system and detail and broke into his home, attacking the musician and his wife Olivia with a knife. Harrison was treated for a collapsed lung and minor stab wounds. Olivia suffered several cuts and bruises.
In May 2001, Harrison's cancer returned. There was lung surgery, but doctors soon discovered the cancer had spread to his brain. That autumn he traveled to the United States for treatment and eventually landed at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He died November 29, 2001, at his ex-bandmates' Paul McCartney's house in Los Angeles, California, at aged 58, with his wife and son at his side.
In addition, in late 2002, just one year after his death, Harrison's final studio album, "Brainwashed," also produced by Lynne, Dhani Harrison and himself, featured a collection of songs he'd been working at the time of his death, was finished by his son and released.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Richard Collins II ([email protected])
Ringo Starr is a British musician, actor, director, writer, and artist best known as the drummer of The Beatles who also coined the title 'A Hard day's Night' for The Beatles' first movie.
He was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940, in a small two-storey house in the working class area of Liverpool, Merseyside, England. His father, Richard Starkey, was a former dockworker turned baker; his mother, Elsie Starkey, was a bakery worker. His parents divorced when he was three and he and his mother, Elsie, moved to another home in Liverpool. While attending Silas Infants' Schools he suffered from many afflictions that basically ruined his education: he had constant abdominal pains, was once diagnosed with a ruptured appendix that led to an inflamed peritoneum, which also led to one of his first surgeries. Ringo was in a coma, and his recovery took a couple of months, during which more operations were performed, and he was known to be accident-prone. Shortly after he came out of the coma, he was trying to offer a toy bus to another boy in an adjoining bed, but fell and suffered from a concussion. When he finally was able to go back to school, he learned that he was far behind in his studies. At age 13 he caught a cold that turned into chronic pleurisy, causing him another stay at a hospital in Liverpool. A few lung complications followed, which resulted in a treatment in yet another children's hospital, this time until 1955. Meanwhile, Richard's mother Elsie had married Harry Graves, the man who her son referred to as a "step-ladder".
At the age of 15 he could barely read or write, although he had aptitude for practical subjects such as woodwork and mechanics. At that time he dropped out of school and got his first job was as a delivery boy for British Rail. His second job was a barman on a ferry to New Brighton, and his next was as a trainee joiner at Henry Hunt & Sons. Ringo injured his finger on the first day of his new job, and then he decided to become a drummer. His dream came true, when his stepfather bought him a new drum kit, and Richard promised to be the best drummer ever.
In 1957, together with Eddie Miles, he started his own band called 'Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group'. At that time he became known as Ritchie, and eventually became caught in the Liverpool's Skiffle craze. Although he was self-taught, he was a good time-keeper, and developed an original beat with his signature accentuations, due to his left-handed manner of playing on the right-handed drum set. He traveled from band to band, but he eventually landed a spot with "Raving Texans", which was a backing band for Rory Storm, later known as "Rory Storm & The Hurricanes", a popular band at that time Liverpool. Rory Storm encouraged Richard to enhance his career by legally changing his name to Ringo Starr. The Hurricanes topped the bill at one of Liverpool's clubs, whereThe Beatles also had a gig. Ringo's group was at times sharing popularity with The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers. He wanted to leave The Hurricanes to join another group called "The Seniors."
Before Ringo, The Beatles tried several other drummers. At one point they were so desperate, that they even invited strangers from the audience to fill the position. Then came Pete Best who was not considered by the other band members to be the greatest drummer, and they were keen to recruit Ringo as his replacement. On June 6, 1962, at the Abbey Road studios, The Beatles passed Martin's audition with the exception of Pete Best. George Martin liked them, but recommended the change of a drummer. Being asked by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison; Epstein fired Pete Best. After a mutual decision the band was completed with Ringo Starr. Ringo contributed to their first hit in September of 1962, when The Beatles recorded Love Me Do, which charted in UK, and reached the top of the US singles chart.
Ringo's steady and reliable drumming became essential in their studio sessions, as well as in their numerous and exhausting live performances across the world. Ringo's positive disposition as well as his drumming style played the pivotal role in shaping the famous image and music style of The Beatles as they are now known to the world, under the management of Brian Epstein and music producer George Martin. Ringo filled the position of a drummer for The Beatles in the most critical time of the band's formation. He quickly connected with the other three members of The Beatles, and contributed to their music and creativity with his easy-going personality, light humour, reliable drumming and inventive musicianship. All four members were charismatic and individually talented artists, they sparked each other from the beginning. Eventually they made a much better group effort under the thorough management by Brian Epstein whose coaching helped consolidate their talents and mutual stimulation into beautiful teamwork.
Starr had dreamed of becoming a professional actor since his younger years. He wanted to be in movies probably more so than the other members of The Beatles. In 1964, during the first months of Beatlemania, Ringo coined the phrase 'A Hard Day's Night' which soon became the official title of the Beatles' first movie, in replacement for the working title 'Beatlemania'. Ringo received great reviews for his performance in A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965). At first, Ringo did not have a songwriting career, although he had no problem with his name recognition, however, he had a problem with getting his songs noticed. At that time he got help from his friends; John and Paul wrote a song or two for him to sing on their albums, such as "Boys", "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Honey Don't", and "Yellow Submarine". During his eight-year career with The Beatles, Ringo wrote two original songs: "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus' Garden" for which he also sang the lead vocals. Besides his drumming, Ringo's voice was recorded on many of the most popular Beatle's songs, contributing to their unique sound and tight harmonies.
He had a hectic solo career during the 1970s, after the breakup of The Beatles. However, Ringo eventually emerged as a steady performer, and sustained a very popular solo career, turning out a dozen chart-topping hit songs and eight best-selling albums. He made a famous appearance together with George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, and other popular musicians in the landmark 'Concert for Bangladesh' in 1971. His 1973 solo release "Ringo" was the last album to feature all four living Beatles, although not on the same song. He also appeared in various TV shows, including his own special, Ringo (1978), and a TV mini-series, Princess Daisy (1983), with his wife Barbara. In 1984 he did narration for the children's series Thomas & Friends (1984). During the 1980s, after having a long period of troubles with alcohol, Ringo and his wife attended a rehabilitation clinic, and came back to the scene sober. He made the All-Starr Band tour of America and Japan. The tour was so popular that he formed another All-Starr Band lineup in 1992, and began an American and European tour in June of that year. Since then Ringo Starr has been enjoying a continuous career as the leader of the All-Starr Band. In 1994, along withGeorge Harrison and Paul McCartney, the three surviving members of The Beatles, reunited and produced Lennon's previously unknown song 'Free as a Bird'. It was preserved by 'Yoko Ono' on a tape recording made by John Lennon in 1977. The song was re-arranged and re-mixed with the voices of three surviving members, and became an international hit. 'Free as a Bird' was also included in The Beatles Anthology TV documentary which was watched by 420 million people in 1995. Ringo, Paul and George sang their new songs, in addition to mixing their voices and music arrangements to John Lennon demos.
Ringo's old friend and band-mate George Harrison passed away on November 29, 2001, after a long battle against lung cancer. The following year, on the anniversary of Harrison's death, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton appeared in a Concert For George, to raise money for the support of Harrison's legacy in exploration of alternative lifestyles, views and philosophies. Starr also supported charitable organizations with consideration to those who have special needs.
Ringo Starr updated the role of a drummer in popular music, he made drummer an equal partner to the lead musicians, thus changing the whole paradigm in how the public saw drummers. His original performing style evolved from adjusting his natural left-handed manner of playing to the right-handed drum set, and allowing his left hand lead in weaving a pattern tightly intertwined with the music of other players, and adding such enhancements as unusual accents and stops. Ringo's musical originality as well as his inventive drumming patterns, time signatures and accentuations became essential to the sound of The Beatles. His on-stage presence and acting talent as well as his humor and musicianship was the essential part in formation and remarkable career of The Beatles.
He was married to his long-time girlfriend, Maureen Cox, from 1965 - 1975, and they had three children: Zak Starkey, Jason, and Lee. The couple broke up in July of 1975, and he married actress Barbara Bach. Ringo Starr divides his time between his residences in England, in Switzerland and his home in Los Angeles, California.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov