Ringo Starr became an international star with The Beatles, but he never lost the traits of his childhood. He always had an easygoing personality, which he developed despite growing up in a working-class section of Liverpool. Even when he was rich, Ringo and his wife lived like simple people in their mansion. Yet his lifelong fame stemmed from the Fab Four, and Ringo joked about the kind of Beatles fans he attracted just as he began a project that appealed directly to them.
Ringo Starr rebounded from a rough 20 years with a different kind of passion project
Like his former bandmates, Ringo found some solo success when the Fab Four fractured. His 1973 and 1974 solo albums, Ringo and Goodnight Vienna, respectively, both cracked Billboard’s top 10.
Yet he once said he was angry for 20 years after The Beatles broke up, and Ringo’s solo career suffered as he descended into alcohol addiction. His friends were afraid to talk to him about his addiction even though it was evident. Luckily for them and the drummer, he realized he needed to get sober. He found help and sobriety in 1988 and rebounded with a new sort of passion project.
Ringo landed the role of Mr. Conductor on the PBS show Shining Time Station, based on the classic Thomas the Tank Engine stories. While promoting the show, Ring, who played a pint-sized character with the help of green screen technology, revealed the kinds of Beatles fans he attracted compared to his bandmates.
Ringo said he attracted ‘mothers and babies’ as fans in The Beatles
A reinvigorated Ringo attacked his work on Shining Time Station with gusto. He did all the press rounds for the show and stared down questions about his years of addiction, writes Michael Seth Starr (no relation) in the Ringo biography With a Little Help.
Ringo’s penchant for humor came to the forefront as he promoted the show. During one press conference, Ringo predicted the show would be a hit as long as the fans he attracted with The Beatles tuned in:
“Shining Time Station is meant to be a children’s series, but it’s going to become a big hit with mums and dads, too. I’ve always got on with kids. Kids and mothers were my crowd. John had the intellectuals, Paul had the teenies, and George, the mystics. I always got the mothers and babies.”
Ringo Starr jokes about the kind of Beatles fans he attracted
Ringo joked he attracted mothers and babies to be Beatles fans. Shining Time Station almost certainly appealed to them with its good-natured humor, fun characters, and gentle lessons. George courted the mystics to be Beatles fans, but some of that must have rubbed off on the drummer because he was right about the show.
‘Shining Time Station’ proved to be a hit
Ringo and the other actors on Shining Time Station shared the spotlight with footage of model trains chugging around. He was right about it being a hit.
Whether or not the Beatles fans Ringo attracted — mothers and babies — tuned in, the show achieved critical acclaim. The drummer earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 1989 for outstanding performer in a children’s series. The show won a Daytime Emmy that year for outstanding directing in a children’s series, per IMDb.
Ringo, finally sober after decades of heavy substance use, stuck with Shining Time Station for the first season only. The reinvigorated drummer was ready to focus on music again. He embarked on the first of several All-Starr Band tours in the summer of 1989. It’s almost guaranteed Ringo attracted a few mothers who were also Beatle fans to his 1989 All-Starr Band shows.
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.