February 9 - Ringo Starr, former Beatle and legendary drummer, received the 2,401st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday. The ceremony commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Walk of Fame with a special nighttime dedication which took place in front of the Capitol Records building, a building which Starr quipped, "[The Beatles] helped pay for."
The ceremony organized by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce began with members of the Los Angeles Unified School Districts' Marching Band performing a 21-drum salute in Starr's honor. Other celebrities attending the ceremony included David Lynch, Jeff Lynne and Eric Idle.
(See slideshow of the ceremony below)
The three guests who spoke on Ringo's behalf represented different periods in Ringo's solo career. Musician Joe Walsh, who also happens to be Starr's brother-in-law, first worked with Ringo on the 1980s album,Old Wave. He called Ringo "the most kind and helpful friend you could ever want." Walsh was also part of Ringo's first All-Starr Band back in 1989. This year Ringo will tour with his 11th All Starr band.
Producer Don Was, who first worked with Ringo on his 1992 album Time Takes Time, called Ringo "one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock and roll." He described Ringo's innovative style of "musical drumming" stating "Ringo's musicality, his groove and his spirit are absolutely essential components of all those great Beatle records...what I hear in his drumming is humility... respect for the song, respect for the singer...compassion for what the other musicians are doing."
Singer/songwriter Ben Harper began his praise for Ringo by saying, "Ringo Starr is simply another way of saying peace and love." Harper and his band Relentless7 have been the support band for Ringo in his recent live appearances to promote hist latest album Y NOT.
An awestruck Harper gushed that there were "no words enough to define the global cultural and spiritual effect and influence Ringo Starr has had on the entire planet." Harper became friends with Ringo after they both appeared at David Lynch's Transcendental Meditation benefit concert last year.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presented Ringo with an official proclamation from the city and host Leron Gubler, President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce proclaimed it was Ringo Starr Day.
Finally when Ringo took the stage, he described how touched he was to hear all the compliments given by the three musicians: "It's hard to stand up here and to have guys like that saying what they said -- I want a record of that. I want to put it on CD and never take it down... These three guys who spoke tonight are at the top of my list."
Ringo went on to thank his wife, Barbara Bach, of 30 years, who he says he fell in love with instantly when he saw her at LAX airport in 1980. Then Ringo talked about his former bandmates:
"The Beatles in my book was the best band in the world. I have three brothers. They looked out for me, I looked out for them, and we all supported each other. It was really beautiful to be part of that and besides that, we made some great records!
"They're still my closest friends, they're nominated here in front of me - John and George. I love them both. Peace and love! And let's not forget the guy who's in England - Paul. Peace and love!"
Ringo's star is placed right next to those of John Lennon, who received his star posthumously in 1988, and George Harrison in 2009. The Beatles star was dedicated in 1998 and placed in a special location at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and La Brea next to Elvis Presley's star. Paul McCartney has been approved to receive a star but has not yet scheduled the date for his ceremony.
"I'm thrilled to be getting this star," Ringo continued. "This is the start of the next 50 years of stars and I'm proud to be the first one. It's also cool to get it at night. I don't know about you, but where I live the stars come out at night."
Ringo ended his speech with his favorite motto: "Peace and Love!"
Ben Harper summed it up best: "Today, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is receiving a star by which all other stars are measured -- Ringo Starr."