|Karen, The Man, and Pattie pose together at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Photo by Sil Perrone|
Ringo Starr Requests your Presence, April 17, 1978, Beverly Hills Hotel
by Karen Dyson
After the most incredible weekend in my life, at the Long Beach Grand Prix, I never thought anything that fantastic would ever happen in a million years. Well, Tuesday, April 4, as I wandered around in a dazed state, reliving the whole Grand Prix adventure over and over in my head, I received a phone call from my Columbia Records salesman, saying he had managed to get me invited to a cocktail party for none other than Ringo Star! I couldn't believe it! Could this be true? I was dumbfounded! Tom said he'd give me more details later, either he'd call or I'd receive an invitation in the post.
Of course, my first thought was my buddy Pattie in L.A. is going with me! Seeing as how Richie is her favorite on the UN-Beatles, I thought perhaps she would be slightly interested.
Monday afternoon Ringo was on the Mike Douglas Show, and was he great, or what? We girls gathered around the TV and got quite a giggle indeed. Ringo was lookin' good!
The cocktail party was to start at 6:30, and we arrived seconds after Ringo. Pattie and I, all decked out for the evening, strolled right in, gave our name at the door and received OGNIR RRATS badges to wear. Dear Ringo was right ahead of us, at the beginning of his rounds to meet and greet, and be photographed with each guest. Our L.A. mates waited about outside the door in the lobby. We felt a bit bad, leaving our buddies, Sil, Kris, Cindy and Sue, out there, but eventually, everyone got a good glimpse of the man.
Pattie and I went in, really not knowing what in the world to do except watch Ringo! We stood about checking the "noisy one" out, as he shook hands, joked about, and smiled for the cameras. Ringo was adorable and so good-natured about the whole thing.
After a bit more gazing at Ringo, we took a look around at our surroundings. The Rodeo Room was quite small really, and I'd estimate there was a crowd of 50, very intimate indeed. The tables were covered with white tablecloths with a vase containing yellow rose on each. A screen and video machine was set up to show us a glimpse of Ringo's TV special. Towards the back of the room were tables covered with hor'dourves and two open bars.
I soon found my salesman, Tom. Chatted with him a bit, when he suddenly said, "Where is the little rascal? Have you met him yet?"
"No. Not yet..."
"Well do you want your picture taken now or later? Come on, let's do it now."
Pattie and I looked at each other stunned. We stood and waited for Ringo to make his way to us, as we continued talking with Tom. Ringo finally arrived, and I wasn't quite ready for it. Tom proceeded to introduce us, which turned out quite amusing.
Tom: Hello Ringo.
Tom: This is Diane... (he quickly realized he'd blown it) Oh God...
Tom: Karen! Oh, I'm sorry!
Ringo: Hello. (He held out his hand for mine).
Tom: Karen is the tape buyer at Tower Records in San Diego.
Ringo: San Diego? You've come a long way for this!
Tom: And this is...
Ringo: Hello. (They shook hands) (speaking to Tom) I'm glad it was you that did that, I'm terrible at names, though I'm good at remembering faces.
Tom: She saw you on some show today, what was that you saw?
Karen: Oh yeah, we saw you on the Mike Douglas Show today.
Ringo: Oh yeah? How was it?
Karen: Great! (Ringo smiled) You were very funny.
Karen: You were very amusing.
Ringo: I guess I probably was.
We proceeded to be photographed with Ringo, one of us on each side of him. I put my hand thru his arms and tried hard not to look as though I was in a state of shock. The photographer seemed to take several shots, which made Ringo comment, "He's going crazy with you two!"
Soon Ringo was on his way to the next guest. It was incredible to be able to just sit there and watch him for as long as we did. Ringo stood around our table for a good 20 to 30 minutes. It was great. Pattie escaped to get us a drink. Much needed!
Person after person showed up to meet Ringo. By the end of the evening who knows how many hands he shook or how many photos flashed. I decided to try and gather up some extra badges for the troops outside. I had bumped into a couple of acquaintances, so I went up to inquire about the Ognir Rrats badges. While I stood to wait, I had a perfect view of Ringo he looked over at me a couple times, once he smiled, which I returned, but I felt a bit embarrassed.
At one point, I looked up and saw Cindy and Sil standing by our table. I thought I was seeing things. Those crazy two snuck in. Alright!
Ringo managed to wander his way to the other side of the room, and so did Sil and Cindy and eventually Pattie too. Was I surprised when I looked over and caught Cindy giving Ringo a kiss on the cheek! I later learned that Sil did too.
I headed over to Ringo's side of the room and watched all the rituals continue. At one point, Ringo stood there alone for a moment, he turned to me, then said, "I've met you! I've already done you!" As he jokingly shook his finger at me. I scooted over to his other side and said, "Oh, but one more time won't hurt."
Ringo: Oh, I remember you. From way back. I don't remember your name, but I remember that face.
Karen: Oh, I remember you.
Ringo: I remember you from San Diego. From way back.
Karen: Oh yes. San Diego, so long ago it seems.
Ringo: Oh yeah. At least twenty minutes ago, over there. (He stretched out his arm and pointed to the other side of the room).
Meanwhile, the photographer took many photos as Ringo and continued to talk, joke and laugh. It was so strange to be in a party situation with Ringo, but I felt so comfortable with him. Perhaps the gin and tonic helped out. Sil had her camera, took a few photos, then I took one of her with Ringo.
Eventually, everyone settled down. The president of Portrait Records said a few words, then introduced Ringo. Ringo thanked everyone for coming, then explained about the videotape, an unfinished bit from his TV special.
The clip was great. There were five tunes, including the two live tunes (Heart on my Sleeve and Hard Times). I had a clear view of Ringo from my seat, and I glanced over every once in a while to see his reactions. He sat quietly, with fingers on his lips, elbow rested on the table, still wearing his sunglasses. Ringo would not and then lean over and comment to friends at his table, which included Keith Allison (who plays guitar on the special). After a bit, Ringo began looking over at our table. We were obviously enjoying ourselves. When "Heart on my Sleeve" and "Hard Times" played, we really rocked in our seats. Ringo seemed to enjoy our reactions. At one point, he commented to Keith and pointed over to us.
After the tape, Ringo returned to the mic, and told us to watch the special on April 26th and plugged his new LP "Bad Boy." Portrait president presented him with a big pillow in the shape of an orange slice. It said PORTRAIT on one side and RINGO on the other. Ringo didn't know quite what to make of it.
Ringo: What can I say?
He paused, looked at the pillow, then said, "What CAN I say?" Everyone snickered, as he continued. "Thank you.... but you didn't have to go to that expense." The crowd roared. The man is so funny.
Surprisingly enough, Ringo hung out for a while longer. Bad Boy was being given out at the door. Tom grabbed a couple LPs and then asked me to get them signed. One for him and the other for me. I was a bit hesitant, as I didn't want to be a nuisance, and it has been mentioned that he wasn't going to sign autographs.
I went over in Ringo's direction, and I waited for the right moment. It seemed right, as he stood there looking at me. So I stepped over to him.
Karen: Ringo, can I bother you just one more time? Will you sign these?
Ringo: Sure, but no names. I don't' do names.
Karen: You won't sign my name?
Ringo: I'll sign my name, I know who I am.
He signed my lps, then used my pen to sign Sil's and a couple of others.
Karen: You know Ringo, we're part of the troop that cheered you on at the live taping.
Ringo looked quite surprised and smiled. "Oh yeah?"
Karen: Yeah, we got the crowd going for you.
Ringo (full of smiles) Wait a minute, wait a minute...from where I was looking out. On my right?
Karen & Sil: That was us!
Ringo: And they let you in here?
Ringo was so cute. Somewhere along the line, Sil said, "Oh Ringo, you're the greatest!"
Ringo: I am aren't I? I am the greatest.
Ringo, Sil, and Karen: Yeah!
It came time for the parting of the ways and Is aid, "Oh Ringo, thanks so much" as I put my hand on his face. I'm not sure what he said to all that. He was there for a few minutes more and then he left for the evening.
And what an evening it was. We girls sat back at our table again, had another drink and literally gleamed. This is one night we'll never get over!