HE’S STILL A STARR

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - KATHY MCCABE

WHEN you hear the idio­syn­cratic Liver­pudlian ac­cent of Ringo Starr de­liver his sig­na­ture “peace and love” greet­ing, you in­stantly un­der­stand why mil­lions of hys­ter­i­cal fans screamed their lungs out five decades ago.

It is im­pos­si­ble to di­vorce the world’s most fa­mous drum­mer from The Bea­tles in your mind.

Love or hate his singing voice, his lead vo­cals on songs in­clud­ing With A Lit­tle Help From My Friends, Yel­low Sub­ma­rine, Good Night and Oc­to­pus’s Gar­den made them in­deli­ble hits in the Fab Four’s canon.

While Ringo has is­sued a vast body of solo work since the band that changed the world parted ways in 1970, it ap­pears mu­sic me­dia re­main as ob­sessed with The Bea­tles as ever. On his first day of spruik­ing his 19th solo al­bum Give More Love at the lux­ury Beverly Wil­shire in Los An­ge­les, Starr fielded more ques­tions from the Bri­tish me­dia about his pre­vi­ous life in the world’s most pop­u­lar band.

So his reps gen­tly sug­gest sub­se­quent in­ter­views fo­cus on the new record rather than what he did five decades ago.

It is a rea­son­able re­quest con­sid­er­ing Starr and his good mate Paul McCart­ney did a lot of talk­ing about that iconic band on the 50th an­niver­sary of the sem­i­nal Sgt. Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record just weeks ago.

And there is plenty to talk about with Give More Love, start­ing with the muse be­hind any love song he writes, his wife of 37 years Bar­bara Bach. Rock bal­lad Show Me The Way, writ­ten with his mate Steve Luthaker of Toto, was in­spired by their en­dur­ing love af­fair.

“I am a hope­ful ro­man­tic; I be­lieve in peace and love. I got a lot of help from Bar­bara on Show Me The Way,” he says. “I have loved her since 1980. We’ve wiped each other’s tears and we still have bad days but there is al­ways love.”

Starr had planned to have last year off. But when some of your best mates are mu­si­cians and you find your­self hang­ing out in the vicin­ity of in­stru­ments, mak­ing mu­sic is in­evitable.

Eury­th­mics le­gend Dave Ste­wart, an artis­tic al­chemist who will work with any­one from his Bea­tles bud to Aus­tralian rocker Jon Stevens, had planted the seed of head­ing to Nashville to make a coun­try record.

So the pair de­cided to pen some coun­try-in­flu­enced tunes in ad­vance of their trip but it was put on hold when Starr was of­fered a sum­mer tour with his All Starr Band.

The diehard road dog – his new al­bum opens with the song We’re On The Road Again – kept tour­ing through­out 2016, adding dates in Ja­pan and Korea be­fore wind­ing up back in the US at the end of the year.

“So in Jan­uary I de­cided to make an al­bum here, like I made the last three, in my guest­house,” he says.

“I have a lot of friends who are writ­ers and they’ll come ’round for a cup of tea, we write a song and do a track.” Be­sides Ste­wart, his list of tea-sip­ping, quick com­posers on Give More Love in­clude Richard Marx, Peter Framp­ton and Van Dyke Parks.

Starr re­fuses to con­tem­plate re­tire­ment ei­ther from the stu­dio or the road and has two months of tour­ing with his band booked in the US be­fore the end of the year.

Whether that will be ex­tended to Aus­tralia is yet to be de­ter­mined and Starr couldn’t say as his min­ders ush­ered him to the next chat.

“Send­ing you peace and love,” he says as the line cuts out.

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