A star for Ringo Starr
By Caitlin O'Connor
Assistant Diversions Editor
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Share this article Published: Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr received the 2,401st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday night — the 50th anniversary of when construction began on the famed sidewalk.
The star was unveiled on Vine Street in front of the Capitol Records building, next to those of his late bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison.
According to a press release, “The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has plans for a year-long series of celebrations that will showcase the history of this cultural landmark as well as continue to raise awareness and funds for the Walk of Fame restoration.”
Although fans began lining up as early as 9 a.m., Starr’s ceremony did not begin until 7 p.m., signifying the first to be held at night. Several hundreds of Beatles fanatics of all demographics braved the brisk winds for a chance to see one of the original Mop Tops in person.
Prior to the start of the event, a reel of Starr’s most popular music videos emerged on the big screen. Top ten hits like “You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine)” and “Back Off Boogaloo” energized the masses into a sing-along frenzy.
The unwavering passion of the most dedicated fans shone through on the faces of many, as well as on custom-designed Beatles merchandise and clothing.
One fan sewed several patches containing The Beatles’ image on to her jacket. “Ringo’s very presence is so consuming and delicious. Being in the same area as him makes me happy,” said Vienna Vasquez, 18, from Ventura, Calif.
Some attendees were looking forward to seeing Starr for the first time while others simply hoped to add the event to their extensive repertoire.
Former journalist and CSULB alumnus, Peter Palmiere of Palos Verdes, Calif., counted seeing Ringo Starr on 88 different occasions. “I have spent every dime of my hard-earned money to see him and it’s worth every penny,” he said.
Having had the opportunity to question the drummer twice before, Palmiere was surprised to hear about Starr’s 2008 announcement in which he bluntly stated that “[no fan mail] will be signed after the 20th of October.”
“He’s entitled to do what he wants, but I personally think it was a public relations nightmare because he came across as a Grinch,” Palmiere said. “Why should he suddenly get upset now? People have been selling celebrities’ autographs for years.”
Palmiere still recalls his confrontations with the drummer as “thrilling experiences.”
In anticipation of seeing Starr again, many other longtime fans could be overheard reminiscing with one another about vivid memories of The Beatles. Particularly, their 1966 performance at Dodger Stadium proved unforgettable for many Los Angeles natives. The younger generation of Beatles fans may have missed that show, but it does not mean that they do not have memories of their own.
“I was raised on The Beatles. All of my childhood memories revolve around them,” said Rachel Syatt of Calabasas, Calif. Despite being 19 years old, Syatt has managed to see both Starr and fellow Beatle Paul McCartney at numerous events within the past eight years. “I had a fever of 105 degrees, with strep throat, before Paul’s concert at Staples Center in 2002, and I still managed to sing along to every song,” she said.
In addition to unconditional fan support at the ceremony, Starr was greeted with guest speakers, including current Eagles’ guitarist Joe Walsh, producer Don Was and folk musician Ben Harper. However, when Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa approached the podium, a chorus of boos erupted from the audience.
When it was time for Starr to make his acceptance speech, the drummer continuously flashed his usual peace and love hand gestures at the crowd. His lighthearted nature carried the speech, which included an exceptionally fond acknowledgment of his Beatle roots.
“I’m an only child and I joined this band and I had three brothers,” Starr said. “They looked out for me and 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.”
Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band will depart on a tour across the country this summer in support of his 16th studio album released last month entitled “Y Not.” The stint begins on June 24 in Niagara Falls and ends on Aug. 7 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.