Yesterday at noon, on what turned out to be another day of record-breaking heat in NYC, crowds descended on Times Square and surrounded The Beatles’ storied Magical Mystery Tour Bus. The occasion? A celebration of iconic Beatles drummer Ringo Starr’s 70th birthday, hosted by the Hard Rock Cafe.
In what seemed like a callback to Beatlemania of the ’60s, Starr was greeted by the crowd with screams and cheers, followed by a chorus of “Happy Birthday.” Per Starr’s special request, the crowd shouted “peace and love” at noon, local time, and showed off peace signs. Starr greeted the crowd with thanks and mentioned that being in New York was “a magical moment in 1964, and it’s still a magical moment” (referring to The Beatles’ now legendary 1964 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, just blocks away). He threw “Peace and Love” bracelets to fans, along with cookies designed with hearts and peace signs.
Starr, who is currently on tour with his “All-Starr Band,” was also honored by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum inaugurated a special display of Starr’s gold-plated snare drum, which will remain on view to the public through December 2010 in the Museum’s Musical Instruments Galleries. The custom-made drum was presented to Starr in 1964 by the Ludwig Drum Company after The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (featuring a Ludwig drum set) produced a large surge in drum sales.
In celebration of Starr’s 70th birthday, this Friday THIRTEEN will broadcast Live From the Artists Den: Ringo Starr with Ben Harper and Relentless7. The one-hour concert marks the premiere of the series’ second season, and features Starr, folk-funk star Ben Harper, and Relentless7, and singer Joan Osborne. The episode was taped at the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, and also features an interview with Starr and Harper. It is set to air on Friday, July 9, at 9:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN, and Saturday, July 10 at 10 p.m. on WLIW.