Beatles world exclusive: 'Don't call us traitors' - Ringo
Dec 17 2007
WORLD EXCLUSIVE by Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpoo ... -20259938/
RINGO STARR today said the Beatles never betrayed Liverpool nor let the city down.
In an exclusive ECHO interview, the 67- year-old musician also spoke of his excitement at performing at the Capital of Culture opening weekend.
The Fab Four's drummer also believes Capital of Culture will show Liverpool “in an incredible light” to the rest of the world.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the ECHO, the legendary drummer says he cannot wait to return to his home city next month.
He also gave a heartfelt defence to the accusations that the Beatles were traitors by leaving Liverpool.
Ringo reveals the accusations the Beatles had abandoned Liverpool did hurt, but they simply did not have the choice of staying in their home city.
He said: “When we left they all called us traitors. We only left because we had to go where the jobs were and in those days it was London.
“Now you can live in Liverpool, Leicester, it doesn’t matter where you live, but at the time people were shouting ‘traitors, you left us’.
“But I think no matter what – and we’re still loved in Liverpool – that even though we left we never let Liverpool down and we’re always still proud of that heritage.”
Thousands of people will see the former Beatle when he takes part in the Capital of Culture opening weekend, including a performance from the top of St George’s Hall.
He will showcase his new single and album, both titled Liverpool 8, in homage to the city.
The 67-year-old said: “I’m coming in January to celebrate the year of culture with everyone in Liverpool.
“And the good thing about it is also, because the city’s the Capital of Culture, they will get into lots of other situations to present Liverpool in an incredible light.”
US TV giant CBS is reported to be in negotiations to broadcast a two-hour breakfast show live from Liverpool to its American viewers on January 11, to tie in with Ringo’s appearance in his home city.
It will be the first time the former Beatle has performed in Liverpool for 15 years. His last public show was at the Empire in 1992.
But he has made a number of unheralded visits over the years.
He said: “I’ve popped up to see the family a couple of times, but I’m not there a lot now.
“I went walking around once, I took my son to see Madryn Street and Admiral Grove, and all the places daddy grew up, and some woman just linked arms with me saying ‘ooh, it hasn’t changed’.
“I said, it’s really changed actually, where’s this, and where’s that gone?”
It is the Toxteth of Ringo’s childhood which is recalled in Liverpool 8, the most autobiographical song he has ever written.
He said: “I had the title for several years actually and then I started to work with Dave Stewart and we were talking about, like a biography.
“I wrote all the words because it’s about my life and he wrote all the chords.”
The song chronicles Ringo’s early working life, from his teenage years as a sailor and factory hand to his time in Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, the red lights of Hamburg and becoming a Beatle. It draws to a close with the Shea Stadium concert in New York in 1966 and the lyrics “When I look back, it was cool for those four boys from Liverpool.”
Ringo said: “I was a sailor first, and it was on the SS St Tudno to Llandudno. It left at 10 in the morning and came back at eight o’clock every day.
“I wanted to go deep sea because everybody in our neighbourhood, there was always a lad in any family was in the Merchant Navy.
“If you did those coastal boats you stood a good chance of getting in the union and getting your deep sea ticket. Anyway, it only lasted five weeks because they didn’t like my attitude.
“And then I worked in a factory, H Hunt and Sons, then I went to Butlins with Rory – the song is like a little mini-biography.
“And then of course we went to Germany and later we played Shea Stadium. It has to stop somewhere because it’s a song, so we stopped it there - that was one of the peaks.“It could go on, because after the Beatles I still have a life and a career.”
Liverpool 8 also contains a chorus saying: “Liverpool I left you, but I never let you down.”
Ringo on... the street where he was born
When he was a baby he moved to nearby Admiral Grove, and both streets are mentioned in his new song Liverpool 8.
Madryn Street has been under the threat of demolition as one of 444 red-brick terraced houses in the Welsh Streets earmarked for the bulldozer.
Two years ago it was suggested the house should be saved and rebuilt, brick by brick, in another location.
At the time Ringo dismissed the idea, and he still feels the same two years on.
He said: "It made no sense to me. If you want to see where I come from, it’s no good putting me in the Wirral.
"It only works as far as I can see if it’s there."
A heritage assessment was recently carried out on a number of homes – including Ringo’s birthplace.
It said the building was of "neutral" heritage and unremarkable, but had heritage value "by association".
Suggested options include retaining the home in situ, integrating it into a new housing scheme or demolishing it - first creating a "virtual tour" and photographic archive.
School's field of dreams
STUDENTS at Dingle’s Shorefields technology college could get a surprise next month.
The school’s most famous former pupil is talking about paying a visit to the school where he says he "went for two minutes".
Ringo was a pupil at Dingle Vale, as it was known in those days, but childhood illness meant his attendance was anything but regular.
In 2005 the school took a derelict recreation area and transformed it into new sports facilities in a £1m scheme, naming it Starr Fields in honour of the former Beatle.
Teacher Andrew Chambers has been in contact with Ringo’s management for the past three years.
Headteacher John Charnock said the school had not yet had confirmation the pop legend would definitely pay a visit.
But he added: "We’d be very pleased if he found the time to visit the school and we’d be delighted to show him Starr Fields that’s been named after him."
Night to remember
THOUSANDS of people are expected to flock to the city centre for the Capital of Culture opening weekend.
On the evening of Friday, January 11, a cast and crew of more than 350 will put on the Capital of Culture People’s Opening outside St George’s Hall.
Ringo will perform from the roof of the grade I listed hall during the free event which will be open to all.
The next night the 67-year-old will headline the opening ceremony at the new ECHO Arena.
Others on the bill for the event include Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, who collaborated on Ringo’s new album, Echo and the Bunnymen, Pete Wylie, Ian Broudie, and Shack and The Christians.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will also take part, stacked on vertical scaffolding, in what is being billed as Liverpool the Musical: The Greatest Story Ever Told.