10 Surprising Facts About Ringo Starr

Peace. Love. Drum.

It's hard to believe the former mop-topped drummer of The Beatles turns 75 years old today! It's even harder to believe Ringo Starr is still rockin' and rollin' and flashin' peace signs all across the universe. Let's come together to celebrate the oldest Beatle with these 10 surprising facts—including how he got that nickname in the first place.

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His real name is...

Ringo Starr
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 ... Richard Starkey! Little "Ritchie," as he was often called, was born in 1940 to two bakers. His stage name, Ringo Starr, came much later in life. As a performer, he liked to wear a lot of rings on his fingers and his pre-Beatles band, Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, referred to his featured slot as "Starr Time."

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He learned how to drum...

Ringo Starr

... in the hospital! Starr was very sick as a child, first in the hospital at age six with appendicitis and peritonitus, and then at age 13 with tuberculosis. Because of extended time away from school, Starr was behind his peers in literacy and mathematics. But he gained an upper hand in music when the hospital staff gave him a makeshift mallet, which he used to bang the cabinets near his bed out of boredom.

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He's a left-handed drummer...

Ringo Starr
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 ... who plays on a right-handed drum kit. Yup. It's no wonder the unorthodox start to his drumming career led to a very unique and self-proclaimed "offbeat" style. But it all seemed to work just fine for the fifth best drummer of all time.

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He's not the original Beatles drummer...

The Beatles
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... but hardly anyone remembers Pete Best anyway, right? Starr was in a few other bands before becoming an official member of the Fab Four in 1962. To be fair, there were some Pete Best fans who held vigils outside the shows and shouted, "Pete forever! Ringo never!" You can decide who really won. 

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He sang lead vocals on...

The Beatles
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 ... popular hits including "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "Yellow Submarine." Lennon and McCartney wrote these songs to specifically feature Starr's baritone voice. Oddly enough, Starr had only one real drum solo in his career with The Beatles—"The End" on . At the height of Beatlemania, he also had a few songs written about him including "Ringo for President" by Rolf Harris.

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He was known for "Ringoisms..."

Ringo Starr
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... or Starr's tendency to incorrectly turn a phrase. But we thank him for coming up with "a hard day's night" and "tomorrow never knows," among others. Sure, Lennon and McCartney were the main songwriters for the Beatles, but Starr composed "Octopus's Garden" and "Don't Pass Me By" on his own, "Ringoisms" and all.

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He married a Bond girl...

Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach
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... named Barbara Bach. She starred as Anya Amasova in . The two met in 1980 on the set of the movie Caveman. The pair had their ups and downs, attending a six-week rehab treatment for alcoholism together in 1988, but they remain married today.

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He was the first Beatle to...

Ringo Starr and son Zak
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... become a grandfather! His son Zak Starkey (from his first marriage) and his wife had a daughter named Tatia Jayne Starkey in 1985. Here's some extra trivia for you – Zak Starkey is a drummer, just like his dad, and has performed with The Who and Oasis.

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He's also lent his voice to...

Ringo Starr on Shining Time Station

... a few children's series. He narrated the first two seasons of  and played the role of the very first "Mr. Conductor" during the first season of Shining Time Station on PBS.

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He's kept making new music...

Ringo Starr at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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... since The Beatles split in April 1970. In fact, Starr released two solo studio albums before the end of that year. He's created a successful solo career with 18 total albums, and still tours with his band Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. In April 2015, he become the final Beatle to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo career.