On Tuesday (July 7), the beloved Beatles drummer marked his 80th birthday by spreading peace, love, and political messages of hope and solidarity with his own Big Birthday Special livestream concert.
During the star-studded broadcast, Ringo takes a seat at his drum kit to play a number of long-distance performances, including “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Helter Skelter” with former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney, and a duet with Sheila E. for “Come Together.”
McCartney and Yoko Ono also shared heartfelt tributes to Ringo on social media. “Happy birthday SIR RICHARD alias RINGO. Have a great day my long time buddy!” McCartney tweeted, as Ono added, “Happy, Happy Birthday Ringo! lots of peaces and love, yoko.”
Ringo’s birthday bash was filled with as much rock & roll as it was with words of solidarity in alliance with Black Lives Matter Global Network, one of the many beneficiaries from the live special. “Let’s say it again: Black lives matter! Stand up and make your voice heard!” said Ringo, urging viewers watching around the world to join “the fight for justice, equality, and an end to all this racist violence.”
Elsewhere during his Black Lives Matter tribute, Ringo played documentary footage of the Beatles denouncing segregated concerts during their early U.S. tours in 1964.
The famous rocker also paid homage to several Black musicians who Ringo attributes to his band’s early success. “We loved listening to Ray Charles, Little Richard — my hero — Stevie Wonder. Sister Rosetta Tharpe: I saw her live at the Cavern. And my stepdad’s favorite: Billy Eckstine. The list goes on and on.”