The 1960s mop top is gone, but Ringo Starr is still flashing a peace sign.
The former Beatle marked his 72nd birthday in Nashville Saturday by holding a “peace and love” moment at noon. He asked people worldwide to do the same at 12 o’clock in their time zones.
The idea came to him in 2008 when an interviewer asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Since then, he has held events each year in cities such as New York, Chicago and Hamburg, Germany.
“It’s sort of catching on more and more, the more we do,” Starr said before the festivities. “We got lots of blogs from Japan and China and all over the world saying, ‘We did peace and love.’ So it’s working.”
Hundreds of fans joined Starr at Hard Rock Café, shouting “peace and love” at the magic hour and holding two fingers in the air. The crowd sang “happy birthday” and the chorus of “Give Peace A Chance.” One fan held up a sign declaring the last time she saw Starr in person. He pointed to her and joked, “I hugged this woman in 1964, and she still can’t get over it.”
Organizers presented him with a star magnolia tree that will be planted nearby. He also cut a cake shaped like a flower pot with a giant sunflower growing out of it. Party favors included frosted cookies and white, “peace and love” rubber bracelets.
Starr’s family and friends showed up, including country singer Vince Gill and Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. Walsh played in the 72-year-old’s first All Starr Band in 1989, which features a rotation of celebrity musicians. Now they’re related. Walsh married Marjorie Bach, who is the sister of Starr’s wife, Barbara Bach.
“He is my brother-in-law, so it’s kind of family business. I’ve been to the last couple, and I didn’t want to miss this one,” he said. “I think a peace and love moment would be good for the entire planet.”
Starr is touring the U.S. with his 13th All Starr Band and was set to perform at the Ryman Auditorium Saturday night.