Why Ringo is hated in Liverpool

In 2008, Liverpool celebrated being one of the cities named “Capital of Culture” and a big celebration was held, one which included Ringo Starr coming home to perform and do some bits for the city. Unfortunately, a few days after the celebrations Ringo was a guest at the Jonathan Ross Show, and his comments about Liverpool on that show offended Liverpudlians. You can watch his appearance on the show on the clip presented here:

Unlike Paul McCartney, Ringo no longer has any living relatives remaining in Liverpool, which means he no longer has any current connection to the city – and a reason to go there. Which is likely to have been on his mind when he said that he wouldn’t want to live there any more. After that show, a lot of people in Liverpool turned their backs on the drummer, and even now, otherwise intelligent people are referring to Ringo as “the lucky guy who managed to join the Beatles just as fame struck”. This is really a sorry state, and as someone who both loves Liverpool (I just came back from spending this week there), and who has more than just a tad of knowledge about the Beatles, I’m not happy with this situation. It was taken wrong, and now it’s all this.

Still, Ringo returned to Liverpool in 2011, playing at the Empire Theatre, where the Beatles also held a few concerts in the sixties. Sadly, people who would have enjoyed the show didn’t turn up, because they were still angry with Ringo. The local newspaper Liverpool Echo had a commentary titled “We are a city that forgives“, unfortunately this was not the case.

Ringo has a lot of love for Liverpool, and his last three solo albums have all had a song about Liverpool on them.

There’s no need for me to justify Ringo’s place in the Beatles, a world of drummers have been thankful for what he taught them and have openly paid tribute to him many times over the years, he was easily the most popular Beatle in the USA, and John Lennon has testified that Ringo would have made it to stardom even without the Beatles. When the Beatles were over, Ringo’s single “It Don’t Come Easy” was a big hit, outselling his fellow former-Beatles’ singles at the time: John Lennon’s “Power to the People”, Paul McCartney’s “Another Day” and George Harrison’s “Bangla Desh”. In 2011, Rolling Stone readers named Ringo Starr the fifth-greatest drummer of all time. And no, John Lennon (who by the way is the hero the city of Liverpool most worships, over all the three other guys) never said anything about Ringo not being the greatest drummer in the Beatles. Lennon never had anything but praise for his drummer, and made use of him on his first solo albums.

8 Responses

  1. Isko says:

    Six years on, why bring this all back up again today?

  2. wogew says:

    Because I just came back from Liverpool, and I still felt that sentiment among the Liverpudlians. It was fresh on my mind, and I wanted to say something about it.

  3. Sara S. says:

    I was in Liverpool on Ringo's birthday in 2013 and I was surprised how much dislike for him people still had. I understand what Ringo was saying and I do not think it was meant in any way as an insult to the town or the people there. And obviously he has no bad feelings towards the place, because he has a Liverpool song on almost every album. I think it is sad that his hometown has turned their back on him and aren't very nice about it.

  4. Ole M. Olsen says:

    I always considered "The Other Side of Liverpool" as a kind of answer to the (mostly misunderstood) criticism raised against Ringo after 2008. I personally think it's the greatest song Ringo has recorded since the mid-70s, and its lyrics seem to explain why he has somewhat mixed feelings about Liverpool.

    "The other side of Liverpool
    Is cold and damp
    Only way out of there
    Drums, guitar and amp"

  5. Anonymous says:

    "Liverpool" (or rather the purveyors of this sentiment, readers of sub-gutter press) isn't owed sh*t by any of The Beatles. Paul never left it, in any real sense and seems to be somebody everybody has met in some or other 'chip shop' style context so there's a lot of respect for him, especially during his fight to get LIPA happening (which, it's hard to remember now, was for a long time a less than sure thing).

    But it's not like the city celebrated its favoured sons in any way, other than naming four streets on a new housing estate during the 80's.
    The bands of 80's Liverpool scence built around Eric's were well known for expressing their hatred of The Beatles.

    I've visited the city many times and found that only when the tourists are around is there any love shown for The Fabs.

    Only the kerching hangers-on from circa 1956 kept the spirit alive until Macca's Cavern return really kicked Beatledom into big business after 2000. I was at that year's massive surge of a Beatle Week and it seemed that it had taken the city by total surprise.

    But in an exclusive I can reveal that among those who were taking advantage, selling hastily-made Beatle souvenirs, was none other than Randolph Peter Best who was selling digital prints with Beatles' faces resembling Peter Gabriel's famous 'dripping polaroid' shot.

    Bizzarely, I was seemingly one of the few visitors to recognise him and he had a good laugh about that, yet know he IS actually Indian!)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Another thing about Liverpool is that Statue of Lennon at 'Lennon airport' whose genesis I was sadly privy to at close hand.
    To say that it had little to do with Lennon or The Beatles and all to do with the worst form of local and small-time political ambitions and in-fighting is an understatement. I really wanted to write to Yoko to advise her to have nothing to do with it but never got round to it.

    The fact that the (not very Apple Corps) Yellow Submarine (which had sat by the river for years as an 'undocumented' feature for tourists) had to be moved to 'John Lennon Airport' after the conclusion of these political wranglings evoked a sense of what would have happened if Allan Williams and Alistair Taylor had been elected to opposing political parties with the purpose of securing a Beatle tourist income.

    Quite frankly, as has often been said before in moments of transcendental illumination (usually while listening to 'Octopus Garden') by acid-heads,



  7. Martin says:

    The gag about Ringo not being the best drummer in The Beatles was by Jasper Carrott. John Lennon never said any such thing…

    It was/is a ridiculous overreaction to Ringo's Jonathan Ross appearance. Mind you, it isn't the first time that Scousers have gone over the top in this manner.

  8. Unknown says:

    Internotional Tomes, I'm sorry but that simply isn't true, we are very proud and embrace the Fab Four. How have you come to the conclusion that we don't? I think you're just projecting. Also I don't know what that incoherent rambling about politics and in-fighting was all about, projections much? (sound snooty enough to be just to make your false projections sound more reasonable and thought out).

    Bottom line; yes we ARE proud of it, but they're the biggest band in history for god sake, we don't need to remind everyone of how proud we are about it every time we mention we're from Liverpool. Do Seattle natives always hammer on about Hendrix and Nirvana? Do Australians always hammer on about AC/DC? The answer is; as much as we do about the Beatles but probably to a lesser extent than us I'd say (because did you know that the Beatles are the biggest band in history?). Don't worry next time you visit I'll greet you off the plane with my hair mop-topped and say "I love the Beatles" every 5 seconds, following you around Matthew Street.

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