Maureen & Ringo met Richie Havens on the Isle of Wight Festival.
August 31, 1969.
From Meet the Beatles for Real.
Aww, thank you so much! ♥
I agree, aren’t they wonderful?
Ringo and Maureen’s Wedding
February 11, 1965
Maureen and Ringo with their newborn daughter Lee, who was born on November 11, 1970.
Photographs by Ringo Starr of his family at Sunny Heights, 1969. (Unfortunately these photos look blurry because in the magazine the color printing process was off set. The third photo was the worst of the three.)
The following article is from UK Woman magazine, January 10, 1970. Ringo took the photos of himself and his family that accompanied the article. They show Ringo and Maureen with their sons Zak, age 4, and Jason, age 2, in the garden at Sunny Heights circa late summer or fall 1969. The Starkey family was between homes at the time of the interview and were looking for a new home in London (they moved into Roundhill in Highgate, north London, on December 5, 1969 before the article was published). Meanwhile they had moved out of their Elstead home, Brookfields, and back to Sunny Heights while house hunting. As far as the public knew the Beatles were still together - but their work as a group had already concluded.
RINGO takes the lead
A rising film actor, RINGO STARR may well be the one Beatle we shall remember best. But despite his broadening career, GAY SEARCH finds he still often hankers after being simply Richard Starkey – family man
RINGO STARR rarely goes shopping nowadays. It’s not that he’s frightened of being mobbed, or held up for hours by shop assistants wanting autographs, or even that, like most men, he just hates shopping – it’s simply that he does not like being taken for a ride.
"It took me some time to realize I was gettin’ done in shops over things that weren’t marked with a price. For a while after, I didn’t really mind – I was flush, so why should I worry? But there’s only so many times you let yourself be taken for a mug. Now I send someone else in first to ask the price, then go in meself, and if I find, as I usually do, they ask me more, I send me mate back in to get it. Maureen does all the family shopping for the same reason – hardly anybody recognizes her.”
That’s just part of the price Ringo Starr has to pay for having a name and a face known to millions of people all over the world. Although it upsets him, he accepts it along with a lavish home, his M.B.E. and enough money to make a sizeable hole in the National Debt, as part and parcel of success.
The phenomenal rise to fame the Beatles have had in just five years is already legendary, and literally millions of words in dozens of languages have told the story of the four lads from Liverpool over and over again.
“One of the favourite questions is ‘Has success changed you?’ In the early days I went through a phase of saying ‘No, I’m still the same simple lad I always was’, but that’s a load of rubbish. Of course I’ve changed – I’m changing every day – but how much of it is due to success, I don’t know. It’s like when people ask what I’d have been like if I hadn’t made it – I can’t tell, because I have.”
He carries his success well – he doesn’t flaunt it, nor does he try and belittle it. It’s something almost apart from the four lads who come together to play the music they like.
“When we’re just muckin’ around, after a recording session, it’s always the real old rock ‘n’ roll numbers we play –‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’.” He shakes his shoulder length hair self-consciously as if the old Ringo doesn’t really approve. “I still prefer jiving to any of the other dances that have followed it!”
Unlike the other Beatles, Ringo married a girl from back home – Maureen Cox. (There was a big photo of her, taken before she went blonde, pinned on the wall.) They met at the Cavern in the early days, when the Beatles were just getting started, and Ringo still lived with his Mum and his stepfather.
“Me Mam doesn’t live in our street any more” – his accent still places him firmly on the banks of the Mersey, although he now likes to think he talks “posh” – “because like all good pop singers, I bought her a posh new house. It makes me very angry,” he went on, sounding anything but, “the way the papers sneer about that, I mean if your mother’s worked all her life to bring you up, and then you make it, it’s the least you can do, isn’t it?”
When Ringo and Maureen first met, he’d already become, for professional purposes, “Ringo Starr” – but off stage he was still very much Richard Starkey, and Maureen still calls him “Richie”. He’s never minded at all about having to change his name.
“Mind? Why should I mind? It was all part of turnin’ professional and that was the biggest thrill of my life – suddenly I wasn’t an engineering apprentice any more, I was a professional musician.” He threw his chest out and stuck his thumbs under his lapels. “Nothing will ever give me such a thrill again – except perhaps discovering that I can fly!” He grinned as he said it – refusing to acknowledge that there could be pathos in that remark.
Their marriage has obviously been an enormous success – her name crops up time and again as he’s talking. And it’s always “Maureen and I” never just “I”.
“I suppose I am a bit of an Andy Capp about marriage– but you can’t undo twenty-one years of strong working class upbringing just like that!”
Maureen always waits up for him, no matter how late he is, to make sure he’s had something to eat. As a child he spent a long time in hospital – a year when he was six with peritonitis, and almost two years when he was thirteen with a form of TB that followed an attack of pleurisy. As a result of the former, his stomach is still weak so he sticks to simple things like steak, eggs and chips.
“When we go to a posh restaurant, I study the menu with great care and then,” the length of the pause is perfect, “I order my steak and chips!”
As he talked, he smoked more or less non-stop, using a special cigarette holder. “It filters out half the tar and nicotine and stuff. This way I get lung cancer only half as fast!”
The Starr family have been involved in the problems of moving house for a few years. When they left their Weybridge mansion for one in Elstead, Surrey, which they bought from Peter Sellers, they thought they’d found their ideal home.
“The old house (Sunny Heights) wasn’t bad, but all the rooms were so big, there just wasn’t anywhere cozy. I bought it just after we really started hittin’ the big time. After the ‘two up two down’ in Liverpool I was born in, I wanted the biggest house I could find.”
He tells the story of how they bought the Elstead house as if he were talking about dolls’ houses, not vast mansions.
“We heard from a friend that Peter Sellers was selling his house, and as it happened we’d been over there to see him just a few days before. We’d both like what we saw, but when you’re visitin’ you only see the living room and the loo, don’t you? So we rang him up and asked if we could look it over properly. We went on a Saturday afternoon, Maureen and I both loved it right away, so we did the deal Saturday evening, and were moved in by the Saturday after.”
Maureen organizes her domestic routine with a ‘daily’ and a nanny, who’s there more to babysit and keep Maureen company when Ringo’s out, than to look after Zak, who’s four, and Jason who’s two. Although he doesn’t want a big family – “I wouldn’t like to put Maureen through having lots of kids” – he wouldn’t have wanted Zak to be, as he himself was, an only child. “It could be very lonely – especially on rainy days. There’s only so many times your Mum’ll let you have friends in, or you can go to their houses!”
Ringo obviously adores his two sons – his face lights up when he talks about them and once he’s started on the subject he’ll go on happily for hours.
He worries about them and the future. “It took me, as an adult, quite a while to sort out friends from the hangers-on who just want to be seen with you, and I’d hate them to have to go through it while they’re still small. Zak’s a very bright kid – at least I think so – and he needs to be with other children, but me bein’ his Dad makes it a bit difficult.”
He would like them to go to State schools when the time comes, but if he thinks they won’t be left alone, then he’ll have to think again.
He plays with them quite a lot. “Some days I don’t feel like it, so I don’t. Other days I start leapin’ about the floor going ‘Bang bang you’re dead!’ and Zak just looks at me as though I’ve gone soft in the head and says: ‘What you doin’ that for? Come on Jas, let’s go!’”
He wants them to have a freer upbringing than his mother allowed him, but he doesn’t believe in letting them run wild. And he’ll smack them if he thinks it necessary.
“I don’t care very much about things like ashtrays gettin’ smashed but other people do, and I’d hate them to be disliked just because they haven’t been taught how to behave properly.”
HE won’t attempt to impose his own beliefs on them too strongly – he’s seen the result of that in the small son of a friend of his. “This kid’s always been dressed in flower power gear because his dad likes it, but he hates it – all he wants are some nice grey flannels. Zak’s got his little Afghan waistcoat, but he’s got the usual gear as well.” There’s a long pause as he concentrates, frowning, on exactly what he wants to get across. “I suppose I want them to be aware of all possibilities.”
In show business anyway, famous sons of famous fathers is a concept that doesn’t appeal to him at all. He has seen he says, too many talentless neurotics trying to live up to the family name, to ever try to force one of his children into following in father’s footsteps. On the other hand, he isn’t at all worried that his name will open doors for them, spoil them.
“The only doors I could open would be into the pop, and perhaps the film world. I can’t use my influence to get ‘em jobs as doctors, or lawyers or gangsters, can I?”
Like success, money is something Ringo has come to terms with very well. He doesn’t flash it about, but neither does he pretend he doesn’t enjoy having it. “When I first got flush, I went mad. I’d have a dozen suits, fifteen pair of shoes, fast cars – but you soon get over that. You have to or you go broke!”
He has enough money now to bring anything he wants within his grasp. When he decided to take up photography, he went out and bought two of the most expensive cameras in the world, an 8 mm cine camera and a 16 mm one, plus screen, projectors, the whole lot. “But you know, I get more fun out of me Instamatic.”
The novelty’s worn off, and he doesn’t consider himself a big spender any more. The only items he still spends quite a bit on – apart from houses – are clothes. He’s got wardrobes full; so has Maureen. “But she still swears blind she’s got nothing to wear – I’ve yet to meet one of you lot that has!”
Ringo’s style of dressing goes in phases – that day he was wearing a black knitted waistcoat under a brown tweed hunting jacket, and black bell bottoms. “I do have sharp phases sometimes – you know, suit, white shirt, tie, the lot. And I like wearing me dinner jacket.” He pushed the hair out of his face. “I think I look pretty natty in that!”
Although, like royalty, he never carries money around with him, he’s got a clear picture of the state of his own and the Beatles finances.
“I had to learn about high finance, because we suddenly found we were in a big mess. For years we’d been signin’ bits of ourselves to various people. All this dealin’ in shares we’ve been doin’ lately doesn’t mean we’re tryin’ to become tycoons – it’s just that we’re buying ourselves back. And it’s goin’ to cost us a fortune just to own ourselves again.”
Of all the Beatles, Ringo is the only one to emerge unscathed from the battering their image has taken, perhaps because he alone still lives up to the ideal of “those four lovable lads from next door” that the public had had for so long. But he sticks up for the others.
“It goes in cycles – an editor says: ‘Hey! The Beatles have been getting too much good publicity. I want someone to knock them.’ Then all the other papers start knocking us, too. In a few months’ time another editor will say: ‘Hey, the Beatles have been having a rough time. Write something nice about them.’
“When they first started knocking us, we didn’t know why. We hadn’t done half the things they said, and it hurt. Now I know it sells more newspapers, that’s all, so I don’t worry.”
The artier reviews of their records give him a good laugh. “It knocks me out when they start unravellin’ the hidden philosophical meanin’ that lies in our songs.”
For a long time, Ringo was “hung up” – his term – by the fact that he couldn’t write songs like the other three. Now he doesn’t let it tie him in knots – his stock answer is: “Three creative ones out of four isn’t a bad average.”
His lyrics are simple and have a charm of their own, and if his spelling leaves a lot to be desired, then so does a lot of other people’s who got their full quota of schooling.
I wish you were a tadpole living in the sea one starts, and another tells of the delight in the “Octopus Garden”.
He still listens to a lot of pop music, and enjoys a fair proportion of it. One element in the pop scene that he doesn’t like is the anti-commercial attitude of some way-out groups.
“It’s daft playing music for nobody to hear. A lot of these groups sneer at people who get into the charts, but popularity is the name of the game, and the more people you can reach, the better.
“That’s why I prefer a good poster to a Picasso. Lots of people can enjoy the poster, not just the few friends you invite to your home.”
He doesn’t own a Picasso, but he came very close to it. “Maureen was negotiating to buy one for me birthday, and one night we’d seen a programme about him on telly, and I said, quite innocently, that I didn’t like his stuff, very much. She must have had a fit!”
Luckily she was able to stop the deal, and bought instead a limited edition of Salvador Dali (he pronounces it “Dally”) drawings.
“She got him to do me a special drawing in the front – it’s got ‘Happy Birthday Ringo’ all jumbled up with other weird things, including a guitar. He doesn’t know what instrument I play!” he said with a grin.
For Maureen’s birthday (1968) Ringo got Frank Sinatra to make a record specially for her. “She likes him as much as she likes us – more, I think sometimes.” Set to the tune of “The Lady Is A Tramp,” it starts, “She married Ringo, but she thinks of me.” We don’t believe in givin’ big presents,” Ringo added.
THE pop star’s responsibility to the public is a question that troubles him. “You do have a responsibility to the public” – he frowned again, as he considered the problem – “but you also have a responsibility to yourself.
“This first came up when we were in the States on the first tour, and a TV producer told me not to smoke while we were on the air. That struck me as dishonest. I do smoke cigarettes and I do have a drink from time to time, so why should I pretend otherwise? I don’t believe the sight of me with a cigarette in my hand sent the youth of America on the downward path. You’ve got to be honest – that’s vitally important.”
While he accepts that the public do have some claim on him, he guards what little private life he has jealously. “One of the reasons we liked the Elstead house so much was because it was secluded but, even so, at weekends we got people peering through the hedge at the kids playin’ in the garden, and they turned quite nasty if I asked them, politely, to leave us alone. ‘Please go away,’ I’d say, ‘it’s not a zoo you know.’ That’s when we began to think that a house in central London might be much more anonymous.
“It’s not really fair – just because you buy his bread, you don’t think you own Mr. Hovis. And after all, our music’s only a commodity like everything else – people don’t have to buy it if they don’t like it.
“I’m perfectly happy to give them Ringo Starr nearly all the time, but sometimes Richard Starkey just wants to be left alone to play with his kids, to feed the ducks or sail boats on the pond. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
For quite a long time, Ringo was the unknown Beatle – the one in the background.
Now the Beatles are only coming together once in a while to make records and the other three are pursuing interests of their own out of the limelight – we read much more about their private lives than we do about their artistic activities. Ringo, in his new career of film star – first in Candy and now in The Magic Christian – is the one we see performing more than the others now. More and more, the weight of everything the word “Beatles” once meant to the public is falling on Ringo, and he’s carrying it very well indeed.
In thirty, even fifty years’ time I’m sure we’ll still be hearing Lennon and McCartney songs. But it could be Ringo, because of the warmth of his personality, or perhaps because his old movies are being shown on TV, that we’ll remember most.
* * * * *
Yes, it’s been more than 30 years, and it’s now been 50 years time since America met the Beatles in 1964, and we still remember Ringo, and we still need him - now that he’s 74!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO!
Absolutely wonderful! Happy birthday, Ringo!
Ringo and Maureen watching Bob Dylan perform, 31 August 1969
Was searching for something else and found this photo website with a couple of new (new to me, anyway!) photos plus many other familiar ones:
January 21, 1966 - George and Pattie just after their wedding ceremony at the Epsom Register Office.
December 1967 - Maureen with Ringo on the set of Candy in Rome.
I’d never seen the bottom one! You just made my day.
MO’S VOICE IS LIKE THE MOST ADORABLE THING ON EARTH
June 27, 1969: Maureen and Ringo at Heathrow Airport awaiting their flight to Nice, France.
Source of scan: [x]