Ringo Starr has been in the music business for six decades and he shows no signs of slowing down. The drummer rose to fame playing with the Beatles, but those years represent only a fraction of his career. He has contributed to a number of other artists’ classic albums (and not just as a drummer), in addition to his steady stream of solo work and concert tours. Ringo’s career might have been very different had it not been for a chance encounter with Ed Sullivan that propelled The Beatles to international superstardom.
Ringo Starr and the Beatles built a following by playing live
Any musician can post a song or album on the internet to help build an audience. But the Beatles had to cultivate a following the old-fashioned way — by playing live.
Ringo, George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney honed their skills with a residency in Hamburg, Germany in the early 1960s. When they weren’t entertaining the Germans, the Fab Four played shows all over Britain. As Ringo once told Jimmy Kimmel (via YouTube), the Beatles not only played live to build an audience, but because they loved it.
“When we played at Liverpool, it was us [just] to play. Nobody was like, ‘Oh, 20 years from now I’m going to live in LA’ or whatever… We just played because we loved to play,” Ringo said. “We got gigs and then we got more gigs. And then we became quite well known… You have to build that up.”
Ringo said the biggest breakthrough the Beatles ever had came when they met Ed Sullivan on a trip back from Europe.
Ringo said Ed Sullivan booked the Beatles based on their reception when they came back from a tour
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Playing live for love helped The Beatles build a large fan base in the UK. The band’s two albums from 1963 — please please me and With the Beatles – cemented their reputation as one of the most popular bands on the island.
In late October 1963, the Fab Four completed a brief tour of Sweden. When they returned to London, they were greeted at Heathrow by a crowd of screaming fans. As Ringo told Kimmel, Ed Sullivan happened to be there too. He booked the Beatles on the spot.
“The craziest thing about it all is that we’re from Sweden and there are all the kids at Heathrow airport. We didn’t even know him, but Ed Sullivan is from New York and he doesn’t know us either, so he just sees the reaction we’re getting and books us to New York, to America. You can’t plan that… It happened, and coming to America was so huge for us.”
Ringo Starr describes the Beatles’ chance encounter with Ed Sullivan
The Fab Four made their first North American appearance on Sullivan’s show a few months later on February 9, 1964. An estimated 73 million people watched the Beatles’ performance on the show. Although the band already had a solid reputation, their Sullivan performances (they performed three times in 1964) made The Beatles superstar.
The Ed Sullivan Show made the Fab Four international stars
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Ultimately, it was music that made The Beatles famous, but Ed Sullivan’s performance didn’t hurt.
Even as their popularity exploded, the band played to a few thousand fans in theaters across England. Shortly after their US debut on The Sullivan Show, The Beatles began playing to thousands of fans around the world. Returning to North America in mid-1964, the band played in coliseums and amphitheaters such as the Hollywood Bowl and Red Rocks.
When the Beatles stopped touring in 1966, baseball stadiums were sold out. Between their North American debut with Sullivan in 1964 and the end of their tour, the Beatles played in Japan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and many major European cities.
Ringo Starr said a chance encounter got her on The Ed Sullivan Show, and the drummer was 100% right about the impact an appearance had on her career.
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TIED TOGETHER: Ringo Starr’s drumming skills are even more impressive because of 1 fact about him
https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/ringo-starr-lucky-beatles-ed-sullivan-changed-career.html/ Ringo Starr once revealed the happy way the Beatles got on The Ed Sullivan Show and he was right about how it changed their careers