December 20, 2014
Celebrities flock to honour Ringo Starr before Grammys
Ringo Starr got an early start to Grammy week, with famous friends honouring him for his life and work. The former Beatle received the Lifetime of Peace and Love award from the David Lynch Foundation during a tribute concert at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.
In turn, Starr led the crowd in singing happy birthday to Lynch, the director known for Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, who was celebrating his 68th birthday.
Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono expressed their love for Starr via videos, while George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, was in the crowd. Starr and McCartney will perform separately at Sunday’s Grammy Awards.
“It’s a weird place to be this evening,” Starr said onstage. “All this praise is overwhelming really. It’s really great to look out and see all these people I recognize and three of them are meditating.”
Don Was served as musical director for the all-star house band that included Peter Frampton, drummer Kenny Aronoff, former Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and keyboardist Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
“It’s a great little band,” Starr said. “I know them all personally.”
Jesse Elliott and Lindsay Giles of Ark Life kicked off the show with a duet of Can’t Do It Wrong. The Head and the Heart paid homage to the Beatles on Octopus’s Garden before Brendan Benson sang Don’t Go Where the Road Don’t Go. Starr watched from the audience, bobbing his head to the beat.
Bettye LaVette offered up a soulful take on It Don’t Come Easy after noting her 50th anniversary in the music business. “This is the baddest band I’ve had in the entire 50 years,” she said. Ben Folds tore through Oh My My, resembling a mad scientist as he pounded the electric keyboard. “It’s rare I play an ironing board for you, and it’s only for Ringo and David,” Folds joked.
Ben Harper slowed things down on Walk With You, before turning the stage over to Joe Walsh, who took a break from the Eagles’ run of shows reopening the Forum to jam for his brother-in-law. Walsh’s wife, Marjorie, is the sister of Starr’s wife, Barbara Bach.
“I’ve written these songs, but I’ve never heard them like that,” Starr said as he took the stage for the finale. He launched into his hit Photograph, then got behind the drums for Boys. “I have to play something from the drums so you can see I can still hold the sticks,” he joked.