Sometimes the message of peace and love needs to be celebrated in a near state, at least when there is still a pandemic and you are a Beatle trying not to draw a crowd. This is how Ringo Starr’s annual birthday celebration went somewhat stealthily on Wednesday, as he met the press and posed for photos in front of his peace sign statue in the park around the corner. of Santa Monica and Canon in Beverly Hills.

Starr’s birthday gatherings are usually larger, pre-announced events, with many more than the 20 fans who discovered the venue and were watching behind a barricade on Wednesday. Probably more fans were staking out the Capitol Tower in Hollywood, where the (r) star launched worldwide cries of “peace and love” at noon Pacific time in 2014-17 and 2019. (Last year , the event was online only, and in other years it was based in Hard Rock Cafés around the world.)

He was 81 on Wednesday, but said he didn’t care if it was an odd number like this or last year’s major round number. “Birthdays are birthdays, you know – you have to live with it, you know? He told Variety before posing with guests including his brother-in-law Joe Walsh and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather. “I mean, emotionally, sometimes I’m 18. We were laughing in the car saying I’m 18 today because it’s 81 in reverse.”

As it turned out, Starr and his wife Barbara Bach had stopped by the statue last year around this time, but with no fans or press in attendance, as attention turned to the special streaming he was featuring instead of a live countdown. “In fact, last year at the height of the pandemic,” Starr said, “because we live here, just Barbara and I ran here to do it, to keep the tradition going, by the hand. ‘Yes, we have several more. I have a mask here if anyone complains, “he joked, pretending to reach inside his jacket for free masks.” C ‘is what it is today. Two years ago we were at Capitol Records with a lot of guests playing for me and hundreds of people outside. But things have changed.

What had he done to celebrate his 81 years? “I woke up this morning,” he said with a laugh.

In fact, he had heard Paul McCartney: “He just called me. We still say hello. I’m still waiting for the gift.

And how does he look better at 81 than most participants from decades younger, someone asked? “I don’t know,” he said at first, before deciding to reveal his secret: “I don’t wear a hat, that’s why.”

Starr, who recently released an EP, “Zoom In,” is slated to release a follow-up EP later this year, and will be seen in Peter Jackson’s Beatles docu-epic “Get Back” this fall.

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