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Ringo Starr Said the Beatles Were ‘Shocked’ When He Had a Successful Solo Career

Showbiz CheatSheet logo: MainLogo Showbiz CheatSheet 2/11/2023 Emma McKee

After The Beatles broke up, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr set off on separate careers. While they would work together sporadically over the years, they were now solo artists. This was uncharted territory for them, but they all found success. Starr said that his former bandmates were shocked when his music hit number one. 

The Beatles announced their break up in 1970

By the end of the 1960s, tensions within The Beatles were at an all-time high. After disagreements over the band’s creative direction and management, they decided to call it quits. Lennon said it was good that they were moving on.

“It’s far better music (we’re all making now) because we’re not suppressed,” he said in 1971, per Express. “In the Beatles, by the time the Beatles were at their peak we were cutting each other down to size. We were limiting our capacity to write and perform by fitting it into some kind of format and that’s why it caused trouble … I knew I wouldn’t be doing the same thing. It just doesn’t work like that. It’s like a rugby team. Sometimes you just have to get married and leave the boys on a Saturday night. That’s just how it is.”

Ringo Starr said his Beatles bandmates were surprised by his success

After the band’s breakup, each former member dug into their solo career. Harrison became the first of the group to have a No. 1 hit with 1970’s “My Sweet Lord.” Soon, though, the other Beatles found similar success.

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Perhaps the biggest surprise, both to his bandmates and himself, was Starr. While he’d been slightly embarrassed about his position in The Beatles, he found massive success with his 1973 album Ringo. He also set himself apart from his bandmates when he received praise for his acting in the film That’ll Be the Day.

“John, Paul, George, and Ringo were shocked — never mind anyone else,” Starr told Us Weekly in 2000. “I was number one. The biggest seller. It was incredible.”

Ringo Starr admitted he was angry when The Beatles broke up

Despite his success, Starr admitted that he had a difficult time processing The Beatles’ split. 

I was mad,” he said, per the New York Daily News. “For 20 years. I had breaks in between of not being.”

He also experienced some of the most significant career lows of all his bandmates.

“After the band broke up, I wasn’t working,” he said, per the book Ringo: With a Little Help by Michael Seth Starr. “I wasn’t doing what I love, which is playing drums and performing. I ended up as just some f***ing celebrity. Someone in England put it so cruelly: They said, ‘If there’s an opening of an envelope, he’ll be there.’ That hit me. I thought, ‘S***, yeah, this is what I’m doing now.’ I’d be at movie premieres in London with my bow tie on and a bottle of cognac in my pocket mixed with some Coca-Cola, so people would think it was just soda. It got really sad.”

Despite this, Starr has continued to tour to this day.

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