Many factors contributed to his upbringing out of all the iconic band members.
Paul McCartney, the renowned musician and former member of The Beatles, has disclosed the difficult upbringings of each of the band’s four members. However, McCartney emphasized that it was Ringo Starr, the group’s drummer, who faced the most severe hardships.
McCartney revealed that parental absence, chronic sickness, and prolonged hospital visits characterized Starr’s upbringing. At an early age, Ringo’s parents divorced, leaving him with little contact with his father and just a few brief recollections of their time together. Ringo grew up in Liverpool with McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison.
Starr’s difficulties grew worse when, at the young age of six, he had an appendectomy. This was followed by a terrifying fight with peritonitis that required him to spend a year in the hospital. Due to his prolonged absences from both home and school, he fell behind his fellow classmates in terms of academic performance.
And just as he caught up, Starr suffered another setback when he developed TB, necessitating a two-year confinement in a sanitarium. The staff encouraged patients to pass the time by playing music within the walls of the sanatorium. According to Biography, this is when Starr’s love for the drums first took hold, paving the way for him to become one of the most well-known percussionists in the world.
Reflecting on the turbulent pasts of The Beatles, McCartney spoke candidly to Rolling Stone in 2015, revealing, “I don’t want to bring in the violins, but we all came from hardship. All of us except for George [Harrison] lost someone. I lost my mum when I was 14. John [Lennon] lost his mum. But Ringo had it worst.”
“His father was gone; he was so sick they told his mum he wasn’t going to live. Imagine making up your life from that, in that environment. No family, no school. He had to invent himself. We all had to come up with a shield, but Ringo came up with the strongest shield.”
Starr had a positive attitude in his youth despite the weight of his background; however, he now acknowledges that his perspective might not have accurately portrayed the reality of his situation. He conceded in the same interview, “I always thought I had a great childhood. Then a therapist told me, ‘Well, actually, it sounds like you were abandoned and lived in a slum.’”
Starr and McCartney have a close relationship and see one another as a family during the course of their career together as bandmates and lifetime friends. Although McCartney agreed that they occasionally clash, he compared it to the inevitable conflict that occurs between siblings.
He expressed, “It’s family. Sometimes we get pissed off at each other. I’ll want something from him, and he won’t give it to me, and I’ll get pissed off. But then it passes. Brothers fight sometimes.”
“There’s this revisionist history that it was all John and Paul. But it was four corners of a square; it wouldn’t have worked without one of the sides. Ringo was the right angle.”
The profound influence of Ringo Starr’s early hardships on his emotional and creative growth is becoming more apparent as information about his challenging upbringing comes to light. The story serves as a reminder of the tenacity and perseverance displayed by The Beatles, a group that overcame their individual struggles to produce timeless music that still mesmerizes listeners worldwide.