Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Sunshine, Music and Ringo Starr

Note:  Photo just for reference.  It was not taken on the day of the story. 

Here is a story of a fan encounter found in the March 1973 issue of McCartney Lovers and Friends.

Sunshine, Music and Ringo Starr
By Sher

During our trip to London in 1970,  Sarah and I were lucky enough to see John, George and Ringo at various times while they recorded at EMI.  This particular day was extra special to me as Richie was so nice to us and it was also my 20th birthday.    And so on October 3, 1970, Sarah and I arrived at the studios at about 5pm and met up with Valerie.  Soon after 3pm some of our English friends (who were at one time known as Paul's baddies), Marion, Adrienne, and Eileen came and we tried various ways to pass the time.  One of those ways was to try to sneak in by the side entrance.  This didn't work so we just stood outside the gates directly in front of the opened studio doors.  Every once in a while we'd see Ringo or George pass by in the hallway.  Ringo was recording his single, "It don't come easy" and George was helping him. 

George had on a gray-ish blue shirt, orange pull over, and faded blue jeans.  Mr. Starr wore a dark suit jacket and a pink flowered shirt.  Plus, as was the style of the day, George's hair was in a ponytail.  During one break in the recording, we watched our English friends went to pull a joke on George just to see what would happen.  They went to a phone booth nearby and called the studio saying it was Pattie wanting to talk to her husband.  Sarah and I had stationed ourselves so that we could see George when he came out to get the phone.  He picked up the phone, looked towards the street where we were, and seemed to be having quite a nice chat.   The girls had never really thought he'd believe it was Pattie after hearing the voice and they thought that he would appreciate the fact that it was a joke.   Well, he seemed to be enjoying himself from what we could see of him, and he kept leaning on one leg and then the other -- looking out towards us.  After about seven minutes he got off the phone and the girls came back from the booth.  They told us that he'd really taken the joke well and kidded around with them on the phone.  Little did we know what was really going on inside his head.

AT 10:15pm George came out with Richie by his side.  They both carried guitar case and small amplifiers.  WE around to the gate to George's car as he began to load the trunk with the guitars.  Richie would hand stuff to George and then give him suggestions on how to pack it.  He would tell George, "Put the bigger one in first," which was obvious anyway, so George would just nod.  Then Val said, "Uhh George, I've got a letter from your fan club president but I haven't had a chance to give it to you and I didn't bring it here because I didn't think you'd be here."  He replied, "Well, don't worry about it, they usually write me a lot of old rubbish."  (Then he laughed).  Our mouths fell open in shock because we thought George was fond of the fan club president.   Sarah and I both said, "Ohhhhh" and George looked at us as if we were nuts.   Then, to try to change the subject, I asked him when the album would be out (All things Must Pass).  He looked up at me as he loaded the trunk, "I think the first or second week in November."   Then Richie shook George's hand and said, "Well, thanks for everything," and went back inside. 

George went to his car door and then stopped short.  Here is comes.  He turned towards Sarah, Val, and I and snapped at us, "Who are the ones who made the call?"  They had left about an hour before, so we told them this.  Well, he glared at us so intensely that I finally said, "We're not lying George!!"  With that, he got into the car.  Obviously, he didn't find the joke as funny as he had when the call was first made.   He spoke to Carolyn Mitchell at the car window for a while and then roared off.  Not five minutes later he came back, this time with his beautiful hair down around his shoulders.  He ran inside the studio, picked up some albums he had forgotten, and raced off again.  After George had gone most of the people waiting around left.  It seemed so rotten that no one bothered to wait for Ringo so we decided to be the ones.  Once more, the three of us Sarah, Val, and I sat in front of the doors.  This time inside the studio grounds.  We'd see Richie go by in the hallway and he'd look out at us every time.  It was obvious by his expressions when he still sees us sitting there when it was nearly midnight waiting just for him.  Not many "Beatle people" do that over there.  We felt happy that he'd realized we were waiting for him.  Only problem was that Val and I had to go to the bathroom so badly that we were doubled over with hysterics.  I'm sure it wasn't hard for Richie to guess what was wrong when he'd see us without legs crossed and laughing our heads off.  Finally, at the ungodly hour of midnight, Richie, Mal, and Richie's driver and another guy came down the steps.  Richie had a guitar in his hands and he was singing and playing!   We got a private impromptu concert!  He kept looked at us as he approached the car, which we were standing next to.  We walked up to meet him and he stopped playing.  For a minute there was sort of a nervous silence and Richie just said "Goodnight."  I panicked for second thinking after all our waiting he would just get into the car and zoom away, so I said, "Wait a minute!"  He looked up at me with a big smile and I felt sort of embarrassed at having given him a command.  Val said, "Can I talk to you, Ringo?"  He said yes, and she said, "I wanted to say I bought your album (Beaucoups of Blues) and it's fantastic!"  He smiled again and said, "Thank you very much."  When she asked for his autograph he jokingly answered, "Anybody who bought MY album deserves an autograph!"  He signed it while leaning on the neck of the guitar.   While he signed it, I asked him how Maureen was (she was pregnant with Lee at the time).  He replied, "Fantastic, thank you."  I said, "When is she due?"  "Six and a half weeks," he answered and I told him that was great and Val said, "Hope it's a girl."  Richie turned from the car door and said, "Well you never can tell."   Then we said goodnight again and we walked out of the gate and watched as the little car sped down the road with Richie waving at us from the back seat.



  2. I met an American fan outside the studios in the late 60's named Sher Riddle (Sheila). We remained friends for many years, through letters, but I lost touch with her. If anyone knows her, please tell her I'd love to hear from her. I don't know if it's the same Sher from this story.