The Beatles would have Come Together for the greatest rock ’n’ roll reunion of all time… if it wasn’t for an 18ft Great White shark.
Sir Ringo Starr tells how a £50million deal – £200million in today’s money – was offered to the Fab Four in 1975.
Drummer Ringo – who is 80 on Tuesday – says he and bandmates John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison discussed the offer from showman Bill Sargent.
The producer – who planned a wrestling match between a man and the shark as the warm-up act – convinced the world the reunion was happening. But he struggled to talk round the band.
Ringo says: “We did talk one time. There was a crazy offer out there.
“We called each other to see what we think. We decided not to do it because the opening act was a guy biting a shark. So we thought no.”
The Beatles broke up in 1970 after recording Abbey Road the year before.
But Ringo, speaking ahead of an online concert with fellow surviving Beatle Sir Paul, always felt a reunion could have been on the cards.
He goes on: “If John and George had not died there was surely a possibility of that. Paul and I are still on the road. John would have still been on the road.
“I don’t know about George. We’d still be doing what we love to do.
“Maybe separately, maybe together. Nobody knows.
“When we finished Abbey Road I did not walk away thinking that’s the last album. I thought ‘we’ll be back in how many months and we’ll do another’.
“Between times we did actually break. No one went away thinking ‘That’s it’.
“I didn’t leave the studio thinking that will be the last record we’d ever make. I never thought that. I didn’t think it would be the last time we’d ever tour together either.”
Lennon, 40, was shot dead in New York in 1980 by crazed fan Mark Chapman. Harrison died from cancer in 2001, aged 58.
Ringo – knighted in 2018 for services to music – has stayed close with Macca and they often meet up in Los Angeles.
But he still feels pain over losing “brothers” Harrison and Lennon. Ringo recently released Grow Old With
Me, featuring a lost Lennon recording. He says: “John’s still in my life. He gave me this CD.
At the beginning, John says, ‘Oh, that would be great for Richard Starkey.’
I well up every time I think about it. He’s talking about me. I get emotional thinking of him 40 years ago talking about me on tape and thinking of me. George, the same. I’m such an old crybaby.”
Ringo and wife Barbara Bach, 73, have been quarantined at home in Beverly Hills for 11 weeks.
He had to cancel plans for his three sons and grandchildren to fly from England for a birthday bash. A tour has also been put on hold.
Still fighting fit, Ringo says his drink and drug problems are long in the past.
He tells Washington radio WTOP: “I look after myself. I work out. I watch what I eat – blueberries in the morning, broccoli at night. I have energy.”
Ringo fell in love with music when he was given small drums while confined to hospital for more than a year after contracting tuberculosis aged 13.
At home he fashioned a set from biscuit tins. His first real set cost £12.
And, from that day, a Starr was born.
He adds: “I’m blessed every time I sit behind the drums. That was my dream when I was 13, to play drums, with good players.
“And I ended up with the best players on the planet. And I’m still playing with really cool players now.”