Written by Doug Wolfburg
I met Ringo Starr on October 26, 2015 in New York City. To say it was the thrill of a lifetime would be a drastic understatement.
I was born during the height of Beatlemania in 1965, and discovered the Beatles in 1975 when I was ten. For the next couple of years I stood in front of my mirror with a tennis racket, pretending it was a guitar and that I was playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and other Beatles hits in front of thousands of screaming fans. Finally my parents bought me a guitar in 1978 and for the first few years all I wanted to play were Beatles songs. I then moved on to dissecting every note, chord and riff – and read everything I could get my hands on about the Beatles. It is fair to say the Beatles are a lifelong obsession. I’ve raised my kids on the Beatles and taken them on pilgrimages to Liverpool and London to see all the Beatles sites. Two of my three kids are musicians too, and the Beatles are big parts of their repertoires.
So, when I got the opportunity for a meet and greet with Ringo in October, I jumped at the chance. The occasion was a book release event for Ringo’s book “Photograph” at the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan. I had purchased one of the signed, limited editions from Genesis Publications when it first came out in 2013, so when the open edition of the book was released in 2015, I was fortunate enough to be on the Genesis VIP invitation list for the NYC event. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet some “rock stars” – the results have been mixed. Sometimes you meet idols only to find they’re rotten people in person. I am delighted to report that Ringo was the nicest, funniest and friendliest guy you could ever hope to meet. He was interested in where we were from, he was bantering back and forth with us…he was everything you hoped he would be, and more.
Another highlight for me was that I got to bring my son along. The Genesis rep in NY e-mailed me the night before and told me that if I wanted to bring a guest, he might be able to get him in for the meet and greet. My son in a music industry major at Drexel, so he hopped on the train in Philly and made the trek to NYC with me. Luckily he was able to get in to the meet and greet as well. I raised him and his sisters on the Beatles, and he was pretty thrilled about meeting Ringo. One of the most rewarding aspects of the whole wonderful episode was what my son wrote afterwards on his Facebook page when he posted the picture of us with Ringo:
“Yes this actually happened a few weeks ago and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Not just because of the significance of meeting a member of The Beatles, but because I fully realized what it meant to my Dad. I can't put into words how excited he was going into this. He has been an avid Beatles fan all his life and has consequently raised his kids on the fab four, even taking us to Liverpool last summer for part of our vacation. I feel privileged to have been there to witness what was one of the greatest moments of his life and to share that moment with him. I also feel lucky to have been raised by parents that know so much great music which has always been a gigantic part of my life. Thanks to my dad for making this happen and thank you to Ringo Starr for his amazing contribution to music and for being so cool in person.”
So not only was meeting Ringo one of the greatest experiences of my life, it provided a wonderful “father and son” day we’ll remember forever. Now I can say I’ve met a Beatle. Life now seems to be divided into two categories – life before I met a Beatle, and life after.