Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Date with Ringo Starr

Here is a story from a blog by someone named ML. He met Ringo during his partying with Harry days in the mid 1970's and has a great story. The second part of the story is sort of funny, but not what most of us here would have done at all!!! I add a photo of Ringo in 1975 just so this post wouldn't look so bland on the blog. :)

After what I thought at the time was an amazing show, my friend and I made our way to the after concert area, which in this case was a place called the Forum Club, a bar about halfway up the rather large building. We found seats and ordered some free drinks and gawked at all the music and movie celebrities that were wandering around. The table that was directly across from us held the most interest for us. Ringo Starr was sitting there with several other people, including a very drunk Harry Nilsson.

Now I should interrupt here to let you know that celebrity has always meant very little to me. I seldom care if there's a famous person next to me and I rarely ask for an autograph. People are people to me, and the fact that some are more famous and recognizable than others is something I just don't care that much about. But there are exceptions and at the time, an ex-Beatle was one of those exceptions.

I was very excited and decided that I was going to walk over there and ask Ringo for his autograph. I grab a nearby napkin and both my friend and I walked over to his table.The first thing we noticed is that Nilsson wasn't the only one who was horribly inebriated. Everyone at the table was, including Ringo. They were all being rather loud and obnoxious, but I was at the table and I wasn't going to let anything stop me. I asked, "Ringo, can you please sign this?" All conversation at the table stopped and Ringo turned to look at us .He sat there for quite a long time just eyeing us without saying a word and then he finally said, "I'll sign it if I can have your pin."

At that time, just like these days, I almost always wore a pin on whatever jacket I was wearing. In this case, I had one that I was really rather proud of. It was a Sun Records label for the Elvis Presley song, "Mystery Train". I wore it everywhere I went. It was something I really didn't want to part with.I looked at the pin. Then I looked at Ringo. I looked at the pin again. I looked at Ringo again. This went one for a few minutes and then I sighed loudly and unclipped the pin. "Okay. You can have it", I said as I handed it to him. He took the pin and signed my napkin. (I still have that napkin to this day.) I thanked him as I turned to go back to my table and he said, "Hey Kid". I looked back at him and he handed back the pin to me. "I was just kidding", he claimed. I didn't take the pin back though. "That's okay, Ringo. A deal's a deal. Besides, I think you need that pin worse than I do."

A look of surprise broke on his face. Then he did the last thing I expected. He stood up and grabbed me in a bear hug, thanking me the whole time. He then invited us to sit at the table with him. We proudly took him up on that offer and sat there for over an hour, listening to stories and BS while Harry Nilsson's head bobbed up and down trying to keep conscious. That single moment was one of the best memories of my life!

Cut to almost thirty years later. Joe and Chris were in town for some reason or other and along with Skip; we decided to go to the Whiskey to see a band I've long forgotten. Before the show, we decided to duck into the great L.A. independent book store, Book Soup, to see what was new. We spent some time in there and then realized that the show was going to be starting any moment. I wanted to buy something, so the other guys went outside to wait for me while I made my transaction.

As they were leaving, Ringo Starr walked in, causing a bit of a stir amongst them. Ringo looked over and saw me at the register. He just stood there by the door. As I finished paying for the book and started to head out the door he said, "Excuse Me".I turned towards him and he said, "Don't I know you from somewhere?"I said, "No. I don't think so" and headed out the door, leaving him standing there staring after me.

When I got outside, the other guys asked me what that was all about.I told them the whole Ringo story (Skip had already heard it) and they were in amazement. They asked me why I didn't tell him that I was the kid at that show. I just said that we had a show to go to and we were going to be late. "Right now, I just don't have time for Ringo", I said. That caused both Joe and Chris to go into hysterics and Joe claimed he would use that quote in one of his books someday. And this year he finally did. I just wish he would have gotten it right.

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