Watch Ringo Starr’s Jovial Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Speech
Ever one to get by “With a Little Help From My Friends,” Ringo Starr was applauded by a stellar array of friends, colleagues and admirers Saturday night when he took the stage at Cleveland’s Public Hall to accept the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Award for Musical Excellence from his former bandmate Paul McCartney.
The award corrected a glaring (and lengthy) oversight on the part of the Hall, which had inducted Starr into the institution in 1988 as a member of the Beatles. Fab Four members McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison had all been inducted as solo artists — Lennon posthumously in 1994, McCartney in 1999, and Harrison posthumously in 2004. Beatles producer George Martin was inducted in 1999 in the Non-Performer category; and in 2014, the late Beatles manager Brian Epstein was posthumously given the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement. But before this year, the Hall had yet to recognize Starr’s contributions to music as a sideman and solo artist.
Not that the jovial drummer was particularly troubled by the oversight. “I didn’t think about it much or expect it,” he told Rolling Stone in December, when asked about his induction. “I didn’t know that George and John were in it [as solo artists].” Still, Starr — whose 19th solo album, Postcards From Paradise, was released in March — admitted that he was excited about the honor. “It means recognition,” he said. “And it means, finally, the four of us are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, even though we were the biggest pop group in the land.”
Ringo Starr’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech:
Thank you. My name is Ringo and I play drums. I want to thank Paul for all the great things he told us. Some of them are true. You know, it’s a great honor to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was doing the press and they’re all saying, “Well, why did you wait so long?” It has nothing to do with me. You have to be invited. But anyway, apparently I’m invited and I love it. I also love that I got lucky that it’s actually in Cleveland, and I’ll tell you why. When I started playing, I was playing in skiffle bands, sort of house party bands, and we had a guitarist and the first band I was in was really great. I had a snare drum and Roy, the bass player, had a tea-chest bass with a hole in it and strings.
And so we’re playing this skiffle music, playing anywhere we could. And then I joined a couple of other bands and I always wanted to play with great players and I kept moving up a little; up to the next band. Of course, I did end up with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and when I joined them, we were still a bit of a country-folk band, and the guitarists in those days — this is a nice one for all you big-shot guitarists with the big amps — we played the Cavern Club, which was a jazz club in Liverpool. And he brought a radio to plug into so we’d be electric. And we got thrown off. “Get out of here! That’s not quite jazz.” Anyway, we started off with a radio; the first amp we had. Things got going a lot better and we ended up playing a lot in Liverpool and around Liverpool. We never really made it anywhere else, but while that was going on, I was working in a factory. [Responds to Paul McCartney jokingly tapping on his watch] After the things I’ve sat through tonight. Blah blah blah. I got some stories.