Backstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, tonight, Yoko Ono made a surprising proclamation about Ringo Starr, the final Beatle to enter the institution as a solo artist. "No one is probably going to believe it," she told Rolling Stone, "but he was the most influential Beatle."
Ono said Starr's honor "means so much to all of us in the Beatle family," and that she was pleased to see the band's happy-go-lucky drummer finally get his moment in the spotlight. "For some reason John got it, then George got it, then Paul got it," she said. "So why didn’t they think about Ringo?"
John Lennon's widow said that when she entered the Beatles' orbit, she came to understand Starr was the most popular member of the band. Her explanation? Starr's steady, kind personality. "John would go up and down and all that," she said, "but Ringo was always just very gentle. And he really believed in peace and love."
Ono said she's glad Ringo has "a long, long life ahead of him" and says Starr doesn't even have to preach anymore, because "he just sort of embodies peace and love."
She added there's only thing missing from tonight: "It would have been better if George and John were here, too."
Joan Jett, Green Day, Bill Withers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the "5" Royales are also entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Reporting by Patrick Doyle