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Ringo Starr has made “peace and love” his personal mantra – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The beloved Beatle told Fox News Digital during a press launch ahead of his All-Starr Band’s first North American tour since 2019 that it’s never been more important to spread the message.
“Well it’s always been important – and I do spread the message,” said the 81-year-old. “I mean, you look at the photos in the ‘60s, we’re all doing this. We loved ’66 when flower power was coming in. It was such a change in those years – people with flowers and loving each other.”
The English drummer is rarely photographed without flashing the peace sign. It is believed the heartfelt statement is connected to the Maharishi, the Indian spiritual leader the Beatles famously visited in 1968. It has stayed with Starr as his career and music evolved as an artist.
Ringo Starr has made peace and love his personal mantra. (RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
“There were a few bad moments, like Kent State and things like that, but we just went right for it,” said Starr about the 1970 massacre where the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed college students at a war protest at Kent State University.
Four students were killed, and nine others were injured. Not all of those hurt or killed were involved in the demonstration, which opposed the U.S. bombing of neutral Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
“It was part of how we felt,” said Starr on sharing the message then and now. “And I keep doing it now. I do it, I can only have myself do it. I can’t force anybody to be peaceful and loving.”
The statement is one Starr will continue to share as he hits the road. His vehicle for the last three decades has been the All-Starr Band. He is known for inviting a rotating crew of veteran musicians with the main requirement being that they must have been part of some hit song to keep the set list varied and fresh.
Ringo Starr performs with his All-Starr Band at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on Oct. 20, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Starr also spreads his message of peace and love every year on July 7 – his birthday. During this time, Starr is known for requesting his fans take a moment and ask for peace and love. He’s been holding the event since 2008 and has celebrated in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Germany and other places.
Last year, during the pandemic, he held a peace and love drive-by in Beverly Hills. In 2020, the event was online as people were quarantined at home.
The idea started when someone asked Starr what he wanted for his birthday.
“And out of the blue, I thought, ‘You know what would be great if everyone at noon on the 7th of July went ‘peace and love,’” he previously recalled in 2016. “Wherever you are – on the bus, down the mine, wherever – you could just go ‘peace and love.’ That would be… a great gift to me.”
The Beatles, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, in 1962. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Starr’s seemingly boundless enthusiasm for making music has endured. And it all stemmed from the moment that he decided to join a band that gave him three brothers for life.
Starr and McCartney, 79, are the remaining members of The Beatles. Lennon was murdered in 1980 at age 40. Harrison passed away in 2001 at age 58 following a battle with cancer.
“It was a super incredible connection of peace and love,” Starr reflected in 2021 on becoming part of the Fab Four. “It was so great. I still miss John and George, but that’s how life is. Paul and I are still great friends, and we support each other.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.