Ringo Starr was the final piece in the Beatles puzzle. Though he was once brutally honest about his creative place in the band, his immense drumming talent helped propel the Fab Four to worldwide fame. The Beatles were internationally known by the late 1960s, but Ringo found the one place where no one knew him when he returned from India.
Even when the Beatles were at the height of their fame, Ringo never got the recognition he deserved. But his drumming was perfect for the band.
Although Ringo was a talented timekeeper, his greatest skill was playing within the song. He never did too much, and he never really had to. Dubbing would have risked stepping over the carefully constructed melodies of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Ringo said the Beatles were lucky to land here The Ed Sullivan Show, performances that helped them conquer North America. Lucky or not, they were internationally famous when they attended a 1968 Transcendental Meditation retreat in India. Still, on the way back from that trip to India, Ringo discovered a place where no one knew him.
Not long after their longtime manager Brian Epstein died (and Ringo attended a bizarre ritual before his funeral), the Beatles committed to attending a week-long retreat beginning in February 1968 at the grounds of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India.
Well, it wasn’t a long stay for Ringo.
He was tired of eating the food he packed (his sensitive stomach restricted his diet). His wife Maureen hated being constantly swarmed by insects. Both were homesick and missed their young children.
Ringo and his wife arrived in India on February 19, 1968. They left on March 1st, and on the way home Ringo found the only place where no one knew him. Ringo Starr: Straight or Joker? Author Alan Clayson writes that someone asked if he was one of the Beatles at the airport in Tehran, Iran:
That was maybe one of the few places where Ringo didn’t know anyone. The Beatles toured internationally and were a staple of newspapers and magazines until 1968. North-central Iran was perhaps one of the few places on earth where Ringo could flatly deny being a Beatle and get away with it.
He continued to produce successful solo songs and records, including 1973’s self-titled, platinum-selling album, but Ringo fell into an addiction after the Beatles broke up. The drummer more or less retired from making music in the 1980s. His Beatles fame and solo career waned over the years, but much of the world still knew and saw a lot of Ringo.
Ringo continued to act in non-Beatles productions throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He doomed his career by making several bad films, but he narrated the early ones Thomas & friends episodes and later starred in the spinoff Glowing time station.
He and the Fab Four inducted the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988; In 2015 he received his solo entry. Ringo was already in another musical Hall of Fame (one of the few inducted rock drummers) and had received a rare French artistic honor at the time of his personal RNR HOF ceremony.
In 1968, Ringo Starr found the only place no one knew him – Tehran Airport. Even after the Beatles broke up, the drummer was hardly anonymous as he continued to make music, act in films and shows, and collect awards.
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