Ringo Starr turned 80 on Tuesday, and while the COVID-19 pandemic kept him from playing live or hosting his usual annual public “Peace and Love” birthday celebration, the legendary Beatles drummer made do with an hour-long special called Ringo Starr’s Big Birthday Show.

The special, which also raised money for several charities — including Black Lives Matter Global Network, The David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and WaterAid — streamed on YouTube and was broadcast on AXS TV on Tuesday and featured a mix of newly created video performances and unseen archival concert footage featuring Ringo and his All Starr Band, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow and many others.

The show also included the premiere of a special prerecorded video performance of Ringo’s 2017 song “Give More Love” benefiting MusiCares and featuring Peter Frampton, Jackson Browne, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and others.

Starr also acknowledged the Black Lives Matter movement, playing a clip from Ron Howard‘s 2016 documentary film Eight Days a Week, in which The Beatles refused to play before a segregated audience in Jacksonville, Florida in 1964.  “It was the right thing to do then, and the right thing to do now,” he said afterwards, adding, “Stand up and make your voice heard.”

Musical highlights included Crow, performing The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love,” on which she played cello, piano, accordion, ukulele, bass, lead guitar and percussion, backed by a trumpet player.

Sheila E. performed a mashup of the the fab four’s “Come Together,” “All You Need Is Love” and “Revolution,” backed remotely on drums by Ringo.

Other original performances included Gary Clark Jr. also performing “Come Together” and Walsh performing “Boys.”

Others sending along birthday wishes included Sir Bob Geldof, Nils Lofgren and Edgar Winter.

By George Costantino
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