Happy birthday, Richard Starkey, better known as the unstoppable Ringo Starr, who's 70 years of age today. It's hard to pictured that a Beatle is now 70 -- and yes, still hard to believe only two of them survived to senior citizenhood (Sir Paul is a mere 68).
It's a funny thing to be Ringo, of course. Even the most generous assessment would have to place him as the least artistically successful of the four Beatles, although for a brief spell circa 1970 he was actually the biggest-selling solo Beatle. But I don't think anyone would say tunes like "You're Sixteen" and "The No No Song" quite matched up with "My Sweet Lord" or "Imagine." And if it weren't for Pete Best's poor fortune, we'd probably not care about Ringo turning 70 today at all. Really, wasn't he just lucky?
None of that matters, though. The thing about Ringo is that he was the gawky Beatle, the odd Beatle, the charmingly rumpled big-nosed fella who was the underrated drumming engine behind the Beatles sound, the guy who's just been happy to be here all along, the Mr. Billy Shears who sang out of tune.
He's the everyman Beatle and our eyes among the Fab Four. Even his rather goofy solo work has the amiable Ringo charm to recommend it.
Everyone has a different pick for who their favorite Beatle was, but if you had to choose which one of the Beatles to be? I bet a lot of us would want to be Ringo, the drummer who endures, the guy whose entire life was changed by a band's roster switch. Happy birthday, Mr. Starr.