Ringo Starr Thought The Beatles ‘Didn’t Love’ Him Anymore After They Ditched Him on Tour

Ringo Starr couldn’t go on part of The Beatles’ 1964 tour. He worried that this meant his bandmates no longer cared about him.

By 1964, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr had been working together in The Beatles for two years. Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison had been in a band together for much longer than this, but Starr was a latecomer to the group. He felt left out when he first joined the band, but by 1964, he had settled in. This changed when the rest of the band went on tour without him. He explained that he worried his bandmates didn’t love him anymore.

Ringo Starr stayed behind when The Beatles went on their 1964 tour

In 1964, Starr was hospitalized with tonsillitis. The Beatles were preparing to embark on a world tour, which meant they either had to wait for Starr or replace him. They chose to do the latter.

“In 1964, the world tour began,” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology. “We went to Scandinavia, Holland, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand. Ringo missed part of the tour because he was in hospital with tonsillitis. We couldn’t cancel, so the idea was to get a stand-in. We got Jimmy Nicol, a session drummer from London. He played well — obviously not the same as Ringo, but he covered well.”

McCartney explained that stepping into a spotlight this bright was difficult for Nicol. Starr said that being left behind by his bandmates was even more challenging.

“My illness was a real big event. It was miserable,” Starr said. “I remember it really well: my throat was so sore, and I was trying to live on jelly and ice cream. I was a smoker in those days, too. That was pretty rough, being hooked on the weed. It was very strange, them going off without me. They’d taken Jimmy Nicol and I thought they didn’t love me any more — all that stuff went through my head.”

Once Starr recovered, he joined the band for the rest of the tour. Still, their decision to go on without him stung.

The drummer’s bandmates proved they did value him

Starr doubted his standing in the band after this, but his bandmates hadn’t wanted to go on without him. Harrison, in particular, fought hard to postpone the tour.

“Of course, with all respect to Jimmy, we shouldn’t have done it,” he said. “The point was, it was the Fabs. Can you imagine The Rolling Stones going on tour: ‘Oh, sorry. Mick can’t come.’ — ‘All right, we’ll just get somebody else to replace him for two weeks.’ It was silly, and I couldn’t understand it. I really despised the way we couldn’t make a decision for ourselves then.”

Beyond this, though, Starr’s bandmates often proved how much they valued him. His bandmates didn’t want to fight with him because of his affability. While he still found himself wrapped up in the band’s drama, he didn’t find himself on his bandmates’ bad sides as often.

In addition, when he temporarily quit The Beatles, they begged him back. When he returned, they had covered his drum set in flowers. When his other bandmates temporarily left the band, they didn’t receive the same treatment.

Ringo Starr feared The Beatles were about to fire him often in his early years with the band

Despite his bandmates’ affection for him, Starr often felt on the outs in his early years with The Beatles. Just a few weeks after joining the band, he worried they were going to fire him. Producer George Martin was unsatisfied with Starr’s drumming on a song, so he replaced him.

“I was nervous and terrified of the studio,” Starr said, per the book Ringo: With a Little Help by Michael Seth Starr. “When we came back later to do the B-side, I found that George Martin had got another drummer sitting in my place. It was terrible. I’d been asked to join The Beatles, but now it looked as if I was only going to be good enough to do ballrooms with them, but not good enough for records.”

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