Richard Starkey was born in a small two-story terraced house in the
Dingle area of Liverpool, on July 7, 1940, making him the oldest Beatle,
three months older than John. His father, who's name was also Richard,
was originally a Liverpool dock worker, and later worked in a bakery
where he met Ringo's mother Elsie. His parents broke up in 1943, and
Elsie later married Harry Graves, who little Richie called his "step
Although remaining cheerful throughout
his childhood, it was filled with hospital time, for appendicitis at 6,
at which time he went into a coma for two months, and a cold which
developed into pleurisy when he was 13, causing him to miss much school.
By fifteen he could just barely read and write.
Like the other Beatles, young Ritchie also eventually became caught
up in Liverpool's Skiffle craze. After starting his own group with
Eddie Miles called The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group in 1957, he joined
The Raving Texans in 1959, a quartet which played while Rory Storm sang.
During this time, he got the nickname Ringo, because of the rings he wore,
and because it sounded "cowboyish", and the last name Starr so that his
drum solos could be billed as "Starr Time".
Notice Ringo's real name listed
as "Richard Sharkey"
Ringo first met the Beatles in Hamburg in October 1960 while there
performing with what had become Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. Ringo joined
the Beatles on August 18, 1962. Rory Storm was magnanimous about the theft
of his drummer, but Pete Best fans were upset, holding vigils outside Pete's
house and rioting at the Cavern Club, shouting "Pete Best forever! Ringo
never!" His health would cause him problems again later, he missed three
quarters of the 1964 tour of Scandanavia, Holland, the Far East and Australia,
because of acute tonsillitis (he had them taken out later, during the next
Christmas break). He was replaced in the Beatles during this time by
The Beatles' first movie, originally to be called Beatlemania
became to be called A Hard Day's Night because it was something
Ringo had said one evening after a long and particularly grueling session.
Ringo married his long-time girlfriend Maureen Cox on February 11, 1965,
and they had three children, Zak, Jason and Lee.
In His Own Words
About his early drumming, Ringo said:
"I started to be an engineer but I banged me thumb on the first day. I
became a drummer because it was the only thing I could do. But whenever I
hear another drummer I know I'm no good. John learned me the song I sing.
I can only play on the off beat because John can't keep up on the rhythm
guitar. I'm no good on the technical things but I'm good with all the
motions, swinging my head, like. That's because I love to dance but you
can't do that on the drums.
"I figure we're good for another four years. I don't want to invest me money
in stocks or anything. I just want to have it and draw twenty or thirty quid
a week. The main thing is, I don't ever want to go back to work."
This is a sound clip in which Ringo describes how he always knew he'd be a
Here, Ringo talks about how he changed his name from Richard Starke to Ringo Star.
In this sound clip, Ringo talks about meeting the other boys and becoming a Beatle.
Ringo remembers performing concerts at the height of Beatlemania.
Ringo talks about the process of making the unique sound of Beatles records.
Biographical info from the book Shout! by Philip Norman,
The Beatles: A Private View by Robert Freeman, and
The Beatles A To Z by Sue Weiner.