Ringo Starr, who drummed his way into the hearts and minds of fans all over the world when he was with the Beatles, will be knighted in the New Year’s Honors.
Starr will return to Buckingham Palace for a knighthood — 52 years after getting his MBE.
Bandmate Sir Paul McCartney urged the Queen: “Look, love it’s about time.”
McCartney was knighted in 1997 but Starr, 77, had given up all hope before a letter arrived from the Palace a few weeks ago.
A close family friend said: “It came as a bolt from the blue,. Ringo was totally knocked sideways but is chuffed to bits. Sadly, two of the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, are no longer here to be honored in a similar way. But giving Ringo a knighthood will go some way towards recognizing the enormous contribution The Beatles made to popular music.”
Ringo Starr, who is said to be worth £300 million, was born and raised in a two-up, two-down terraced house in Madryn Street, Liverpool, to a docker dad and bakery worker mum. His parents divorced when he was three and his childhood was dogged by illness. He missed so much schooling that by 15, he could barely read or write. But he had an aptitude for woodwork, mechanics and music.
His dream came true when his stepfather bought him a drum kit for Christmas 1957, and he promised to be “the best drummer ever.” By the time the Beatles were formed, Starr was already on the tour circuit with the successful band Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. The Fab Four’s manager Brian Epstein poached him to replace Pete Best as drummer in 1962 and it completed the magic formula that catapulted the group to international fame.
Pop historians believe the drummer’s comedy and acting talents were as important as his musicianship, providing the key ingredient of humor and stability that kept the group together.
While most of the songwriting was the genius of Lennon and McCartney, Starr had more than his fair share of input. He is credited with inventing the phrase “A Hard Day’s Night,” which became a hit single, album and film.
After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Starr released several successful singles including “It Don’t Come Easy,” “You’re Sixteen,” “Back off Boogaloo” and “Photograph.” He also made a new career in TV and film and was loved by a generation of kids for narrating cartoon “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.”
These days, Starr divides his time between Switzerland and California.
He said recently that Britain should get on with Brexit, calling it a “Great move.”