Ringo Starr Tells Dan Rather He Started Playing Drums in the Hospital at 14


Ringo Starr is the guest on the Oct. 2 edition of The Big Interview with Dan Rather, marking the 100th episode of the AXS TV show. 

In an all-engaging chat, Starr talks about a childhood of illness when he would spend months in one hospital room after another, even learning the drums while in bed.

“At seven, I had my birthday in hospital; I had peritonitis really bad,” Starr said. “Then, I had my 14th birthday in hospital with tuberculosis… They moved us to a greenhouse away from where I lived in Liverpool, and Streptomycin was the pill, and put you in bed for months.”

Though the experience was a challenging one, it sparked his lifelong love for the drums—unwittingly laying the groundwork for what would become a legendary career in rock n’ roll.

“One woman used to come in… and she had percussive instruments… maracas and tambourines and a little drum that you hit,” Ringo recalled. “I hit that drum, and it was amazing. I only would play the drum in this mad band that she’d bring in, and I only ever wanted to be drummer from when I was 13… It just was one of those moments in my life that I wanted to be a drummer.”

Dan Rather's guest on his 100th episode is Ringo Starr - Courtesy photo
Dan Rather’s guest on his 100th episode is Ringo Starr – Courtesy photo

Starr said The Beatles were a brotherhood and the guys kept each others’ egos in check.

“I always give credit that there was four of us… and we all came from the same city. We would look at each other, [and] if one of us would be freaking out or being a big shot, three other people would go, ‘Excuse me’… and that kept us (in check). You know, it’s interesting, ’cause the time we met Elvis, I really thought, ‘How sad, he’s on his own.’ He had all those people around, but he was on his own. I had three great mates.”

Starr has launched a new leg of his current tour with his All Starr Band – US September tour dates are available at www.ringostarr.com, and he is also preparing for his third book release, Another Day In The Life.



Oct. 2 – Ringo Starr

Oct. 9 – Rod Stewart

Oct. 16 – Toby Keith

Oct. 23 – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Oct. 30 – Kansas

Nov. 6 – Joan Baez

Nov. 13 – Dan Aykroyd

Nov. 20 – Buddy Guy

Nov. 27 – Kenny Loggins

Dec. 4 – Ricky Skaggs

Dec. 11 – Brian Setzer

Dec. 18 – Dickey Betts

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