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(Credit: Takahiro Kyono)

Music

Ringo Starr's biggest regret about The Beatles

@josephtaysom

During their time together, The Beatles achieved things that will never be seen again and accomplished more than they could have wildly imagined when they began frequenting The Cavern Club as whippersnappers. On that stage, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr found their passion for making crowds go wild.

For the last few years of their career, the Fab Four retired from playing live, and instead, they focussed on their studio work, hanging up their instruments in 1966, bar one memorable show. Such was their fame they’d almost become too gargantuan to tour. Dealing with hysterical fans and below-par equipment to achieve their studio sound on the road, it became clear that there weren’t the mechanisms in place to cater to the demands for their shows.

When they tried to play huge vast outdoor spaces in the States, it was famously a disaster, and the technology didn’t exist for the sound to travel to those standing towards the back at Shea Stadium. Additionally, it was an exhausting experience for the band, and it made them reluctant to endure something similar again.

Following their split, rumours were rife that they’d bury the hatchet and return to the stage for the right amount of money while all four members were still alive. It was routinely suggested by the media and, on a few occasions, they nearly did just that. For the band’s drummer, it remained a huge regret.

Ringo Starr has always regretted that The Beatles never managed to perform again before John Lennon’s life was cruelly stolen from him in 1980. Hefty financial rewards weren’t the incentive for the drummer wanting to get the band back together, he simply felt that it was a waste of their talent that they never got round to doing it and missed their opportunity to reunite while they still had the chance.

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“We still had the songs and we still could play,” he told Rolling Stone in 2015. “We could have put it together and we could have done ‘A Day In The Life’.” Interestingly, Starr puts this down to communication problems and the struggles they faced in getting in the same room together.

“With the technology you have now we could have got it together,” he continued. “I think the stumbling block was just sitting around and saying, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ We never got to that. We did in twos, we talked about it.”

Speaking to the New Yorker in 2021, Starr again discussed their chances to get back together and revealed that they were once offered “a fortune” for a one-off concert that included being supported by a man wrestling a shark. “We called each other and said no,” Starr explained. “We were taking our own roads now.”

In truth, that show wouldn’t have been fitting or in line with The Beatles, and it’s probably for the best that they didn’t reunite in those circumstances. Their refusal to accept the offer has enhanced their legacy, and they didn’t let money potentially tarnish their impeccable reputation.