On November 29, 2001, after a long battle with cancer, surrounded by those he loved, George leaves his body and moves on to wherever his spiritual journal will lead him.
Gardener, musician, composer, film producer, record producer, philanthropist, car racing enthusiast, spiritual seeker and slide guitarist extraordinaire, the multi-faceted George Harrison continues to enrich our lives. His inner light will shine forever.
Richard Starkey Jr. was born in the front room of 9 Madrid Street in Liverpool's Dingle area on July 7, 1940. His parents were Elise and Richard Starkey Sr. Elise and Richard would soon divorce in 1943 and she and her son moved to 10 Admiral Grove. Richard attended St. Silas Infants' School where he began to suffer the first of many illnesses which seriously affected his education.
At the age of six he was taken to the Royal Children's Infirmary suffering from acute abdominal pains. A ruptured appendix was diagnosed and this led to an inflamed peritoneum and the first of several operations for the young Richard. He went into a coma for two months during which several more operations were made. Richard was known to be accident prone. After he woke up from the coma he tried to hand a toy bus to the boy in the next bed. Richard fell over head first onto the floor resulting in a concussion. He remained in the hospital for several more months.
When he finally returned to school, he found himself far behind in his school work which gave him an undeserved reputation of being stupid. In 1953, at the age of thirteen, Richard caught a cold which turned into chronic pleurisy necessitating another stay at Myrtle Street Hospital. The illness caused some lung complications which resulted in the youth being sent to Howell Children's Hospital where he remained until 1955.
By this time Elise had married Harry Graves, whom Richard referred to as his "step ladder". For a short time he had a job as delivery boy for British Rail. He next took on a job as barman on a ferry to New Brighton before becoming a trainee joiner at Henry Hunt and Sons. Richard's stepfather, Harry, bought him a secondhand drum kit and Richard showed promise of becoming a great musician.
Richard bounced around from band to band but he finally found a home with "Rory Storm & the Hurricanes". Rory Storm was a showman and he insisted that Richard add some flare to his act by renaming him Ringo Starr. To which he eventually legally change his name. The Hurricanes became one of the most popular groups in Liverpool and they topped the bill at Hamburg's Kaiser keller club, above The Beatles. Pete Best was not always the most reliable drummer so Ringo would occasionally fill in for Pete if he didn't show up.
The Hurricanes were by now being out shown by The Beatles and Gerry & the Pacemakers. Ringo had thought about leaving The Hurricanes and joining another group called "The Seniors". After a brief lull period, Ringo decided to fill the spot of drummer for The Hurricanes once again. Ringo, feeling like he was going nowhere thought about taking up his apprenticeship at Hunt's again, when fate stepped in.'
The Beatles were now the top band in Liverpool and throughout most of England. The Beatles had just signed with Parlophone and George Martin didn't like Pete as their drummer describing him bluntly as "not good". The new task was to find a replacement drummer. Many considered Johnny Hutchinson of "The Big Three" to be the best drummer in Liverpool but then the idea was put around to ask Ringo if he would like to fill the position.
When Ringo went to record with The Beatles for the first time George Martin had already hired a session drummer, Andy White. Ringo was devastated and the fact that at first the fans didn't take kindly to him didn't help matters either. When Ringo first appeared with The Beatles at The Cavern Club, the fans still upset over Pete getting fired, started shouting "Pete forever, Ringo never!"
As it turned out, Ringo was perfect for The Beatles and at one time was the most popular member of the group with American fans. He also proved to be more of a natural actor than any other members of the group and received favorable reviews for his performance in "A Hard Day's Night". Because of this, Ringo was placed in the center of the spotlight in The Beatles second film "HELP!".
Ringo married his long-time girlfriend Maureen Cox on February 11, 1965 and the couple were to have three children: Zack, Jason, and Lee. The couple would eventually divorce in July 1975 and Ringo was to marry Barbara Bach. Ringo at first had the same problem as George did which was getting his songs noticed. Mainly John and Paul would write a song or two for him to sing on a particular album. Such songs were: "Boys" on Please -Please Me, "I Want Be Your Man" on With The Beatles, "Honey Don't" on Beatles For Sale, "Act Naturally" on HELP!, "What Goes On" which was co-written by Starr on Rubber Soul, "Yellow Submarine" on Revolver and Yellow Submarine, and "A Little Help From My Friends" on Sgt. Pepper's.
While with The Beatles, Ringo had two songs that were "original Starr compositions". They were "Don't Pass Me By" on The White Album and probably his most famous one "Octopus's Garden" on Abbey Road. Following The Beatles break up, Ringo had a very successful solo career which consisted of eight albums and thirteen singles. Ringo also appeared in various TV shows, including his own special, "Ringo", and a TV mini-series "Princess Daisy", with his wife Barbara.
After many years out of the limelight, during which he did voice-overs for the children's TV series "Thomas The Tank Engine" and experienced drinking problems, which resulted in himself and Barbara attending a drying out clinic. He reappeared on the scene sober with an All-Starr Band to tour America and Japan.
This proved to be so successful that he formed another All-Starr Band in 1992, which began an American and European tour in June 1992. Members comprised his son Zack, guitarists Dave Edmunds, Nils Lofgren, Todd Rundgren and Joe Walsh, saxophonist Tim Cappello, bassist Timothy B. Schmit and keyboards player Burton Cummings.
Lennon met McCartney on July 6, 1957 at the annual St. Peter's Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete. Lennon was in a skiffle group called The Quarry Men who were performing at the event. Lennon was impressed by McCartney as he knew the words to several rock 'n' roll songs (Lennon would just make his own words up), and because he taught him some guitar chords (Lennon only knew the banjo chords taught to him by his mother Julia). McCartney subsequently joined the band, and brought Harrison along soon after, on February 6, 1958. In 1958, The Quarry Men recorded a demo of two songs; the first was an original Harrison/McCartney tune called "In Spite Of All The Danger"; the other was a cover of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day". A number of songs that were later recorded for Beatles records, were originally written at this time including "I'll Follow The Sun" (which McCartney had written independently), "When I'm Sixty-Four" and "One After 909".
After a brief split, the Quarry Men regrouped in 1960 as The Fabulous Silver Beatles, later shortened to The Beatles. The name was a tribute to Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets, combined with beat music, a common British term for rock and roll at the time. In another tribute, they had sometimes called themselves the Foreverly Brothers.
The reformed band consisted of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, plus Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Allan Williams served as their first manager. They were offered a gig in Hamburg, West Germany, but they had no drummer. Pete Best, who had played occasionally with the Quarry Men, was auditioned on August 12th, 1960. Four days later, the group (with new member Pete Best) left for Hamburg. Hamburg was a wild place for the young men. They were featured at a small club and were playing to Germans who often didn't understand English. They were uninhibited on stage, drinking alcohol, sometimes goading the crowd and acting unruly, but such was the club's atmosphere. The Beatles playing together in Hamburg had the group becoming more tight-knit, better musicians and better showmen. When Harrison was deported for being underage, they returned to Liverpool.
In March 1961, the Beatles played their first gig at Liverpool's 'Cavern Club' before returning to the lucrative Hamburg scene with a now legal Harrison. During their stay in Germany they were hired by Bert Kaempfert to record backing for the singer Tony Sheridan. A single, "My Bonnie", was released in Germany on the Polydor label in August 1961, credited to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys. It was the Beatles' first commercial release.