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Ringo Starr is grateful that he’s always gotten by with a little help from his friends.
The Beatles rocker, 83, appears on the cover of AARP’s December 2023/January 2024 issue and opened up in the interview published on Tuesday about how he thought of his bandmates as his “brothers” — and revealed how much he values the close relationship that remains between him and Paul McCartney.
“Paul loves me as much as I love him,” the legendary musician said of the vocalist/bassist, 81, who he recently teamed up with to finish and release the final Beatles song, “Now and Then.” “He’s the brother I never had.”
In a video interview released along with the cover story, the drummer also sung his praises of McCartney’s work ethic and credited him for the amount of celebrated output that The Beatles released during their time as a group from 1962 to 1970. “Paul loved to work more than all of us,” he shared in the clip. “John and I would be, like, hanging out in the garden and the phone would ring and we knew it was him.”
“‘Hey lads, should we go into the studio?” ‘Alright, yeah,’” he continued, making an impression of the interaction. “I’ve always thanked him for being that guy because otherwise we’d have put, like, three albums out and vanished.”
The Grammy winner also told the outlet that he considered the entire band to be like his second family. “As an only child, suddenly I got three brothers. We looked out for each other,” Starr revealed.
The rock star explained that it’s not lost on him that each member of the band — including the late John Lennon and the late George Harrison — helped him to write music that allowed him to shine and put his vocals at the forefront. “John wrote several songs for me over the years, and George too,” he said, referring to tracks like “Yellow Submarine” and “With a Little Help from My Friends,” which Lennon and McCartney wrote, and the Harrison-penned “Photograph” from 1973’s Ringo, among others.
“I used to be a rock drummer, and then they ruined my whole career,” he joked while reportedly laughing. “‘With a Little Help’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ are the reasons I’m onstage every night.”
Still today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer performs songs written by his bandmates for him when he takes the stage with His All Starr Band — even traditionally closing out the show with the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band classic “With a Little Help from My Friends.”
McCartney, too, continues to collaborate with him: The new track “Feeling the Sunlight” off Starr’s recent EP Rewind Forward, which arrived in October, was written for him by the iconic songwriter.
The “Octopus’s Garden” singer added of his relationship with the British group, “We all went mad at different times. You can’t imagine what it was like, being in The Beatles. It got bigger and crazier.”
Starr and McCartney teamed up earlier this year to release “Now and Then,” which has been called the final song to feature all members of The Fab Four and dropped on Nov. 2. The two finished the somber ballad with both new recordings and modern technology used to enhance the audio quality of Lennon’s vocals from the ‘70s, as well as guitar from Harrison from when the band first tried to complete the song in the ‘90s.
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Over the years, both rockers have spoken candidly about their long-running friendship.
Earlier this year, Starr shared on social media what a fun time the two had reuniting and dancing together at the roller skating-themed birthday party for McCartney’s daughter Stella McCartney.
On Starr’s own birthday in July, the “Hey Jude” singer took a moment to celebrate him with a thoughtful post on Instagram, in which he called him one of his “heroes.”
The drummer also confirmed in a 2021 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he’s just as close with McCartney today as he was when their friendship began, sharing that they “regularly” FaceTime and frequently spend time together.