We’re stepping back into the Far Out vault to remember a tragic story as Beatles drummer Ringo Starr remembers the last time he saw his close friend John Lennon.
The gut-wrenching interview, which was conducted not long after Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman in front of the building where he lived, sees Starr on the cusp of tears as he remembers his bandmate.
Discussing how he met Lennon at New York’s Plaza Hotel prior to his death, the interview includes a particularly uncomfortable moment in which he asks the interviewer to stop mentioning the topic yet she picks up again.
Starr though, typically focusing on the music and describing how it was always the focus of the band’s attention, was suddenly taken over by the realisation that Lennon was no longer with him. Making his point, the drummer made his own personal opinion known before stating: “You’ll have to ask the other two,” in regards to their opinion on the matter in hand.
It is in that moment, as the saddened look across his face becomes more apparent, that Starr added: “Isn’t it funny when you say that now,” cutting off the interviewer’s next question with a raw moment of contemplation. “You know it’s so new to me that it sort of clogs you up a bit. I used to say ‘ask the other three’ but now we can only ask two which is a drag but I’m sure he’s ok.”
After a moment of contemplation, with a silence that feels more real than anything else said in the interview, Ringo simply fills the space by stating: “I’m really sad. I still miss John a great deal, I’ll always miss him you know. But it’s still brand new.” It’s clear to see by the wretched expression across his face, his drooping eyes and the lump in his throat that this conversation is too difficult. After explaining how he found out about Lennon’s death, explaining that he received a phone call about the shooting, Starr cuts the answer short with a simple: “Do you want to stop that now?” with an almost desperate plea to move on. “It doesn’t help and it always gets me upset,” he explains.
Moving away from the raw discussion around the discovery of Lennon’s death, the interviewer instead attempts to make the conversation more positive and asks about Starr’s last meeting with his former bandmate. Starr, however, is still reeling from the past comments. Struggling to get his words out in places, the drummer details a joyous moment he met Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, in the Plaza hotel. “We had such a great time,” he says. “It was particularly great.”
See the clip, below.