Ringo Starr's “Big Birthday Show” ran last night (July 7th) providing the former-Beatles drummer's friends and family a chance to wish him a happy 80th birthday through well wishes and song — all in the name of charity. The online broadcast benefited four charities near and dear to Ringo's heart — the Black Lives Matter Global Network; the David Lynch Foundation; MusiCares; and WaterAid.
Ringo opened the show by addressing the fact that Covid-19 has forced this year to keep everyone isolated, but showed scenes from 2019's “peace and love” birthday celebration in front of the Capitol Records Tower in L.A.
Musical portions included Ringo's 2019 All Starr Band performing “It Don't Come Easy” and “With A Little Help From My Friends/Give Peace A Chance” featuring All Starr alumnus, along with Ringo's 2019 cameo with Paul McCartney at Dodger Stadium performing “Helter Skelter.”
Birthday wishes came from Ringo's wife Barbara Bach and their dogs, Bach's sister Marjorie and her husband Joe Walsh — who served as the show's co-host, Bettye LeVette, Bob Geldolf, Ringo's step-daughter Francesca Gregornia and her partner Morgan Marlin, daughter Lee Starkey and her husband and three daughters, son Jason Starkey and his four kids, granddaughter Tatia Jane Starkey and her son — Ringo's great-grandson, Stone Zakamo Low, photographer Henry Diltz, Roy Orbison's sons Alex and Roy Jr. and their respective familles, Jaden Smith, Giles Martin, All Starr Band members Edgar Winter, Nils Lofgren, and Colin Hay, along with Ron Howard, and Olivia Harrison with a ukulele-playing Mick Fleetwood in Hawaii.
Musical highlights included Shelia E.'s virtual performance of “Come Together” with Ringo on drums — with bits of “All You Need Is Love” and “Revolution” thrown in. Gary Clark, Jr. also contributed a live concert version of “Come Together.” Sheryl Crow performed a multi-instrumental virtual version of “All You Need Is Love” — and popped up seemingly topless while playing cello. Joe Walsh posted a new video of his new take on Ringo and the Beatles' classic cover of the Shirelles' “Boys.”
There was a fan-made photo retrospective played to Ringo's 1973 solo signature hit, “Photograph,” and a clip from Ron Howard's 2016 Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years doc, which chronicled the band's decision to not perform in America before segregated crowds. Ben Harper and Dave Grohl teamed up for a virtual bare bones blues shuffle rendition of Ringo's fan fave 1973 B-side, “Down And Out.”
A newly created video of Ringo's 2017 track “Give More Love” featured the 2018 All Starr Band, along with cameos by Rodney Crowell, Willie Nelson, Peter Frampton, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Michael McDonald, Keb' Mo', Jeff Bridges, Kenny Loggins, T Bone Burnett, and Ray Wylie Hubbard.
We caught up with Ringo last week and he explained how his first virtual birthday bash came about: “Y'know, this year, by February, we were planning to do the whole thing all over again — a big thing, a big party, a big this. . . But, because of the pandemic, of course, we had to think of something new to do. First of all we were actually going to something — musicians, y'know — on the Zoom, but it's very awkward. Then we were gonna do some stuff in Joe Walsh's place, 'cause he's got a good system. So, to cover ourselves, I'm puttin' this video together; y'know, they're either gonna give me footage from one of their tours, or they're gonna write something, or they're gonna do a Beatle track, or they're gonna do a Ringo track. So, we're gonna put this celebratory show on.”