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Ringo Starr Remembers John Lennon

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Ringo Starr Remembers John Lennon

Ringo Starr Remembers John Lennon

Ringo Starr Remembers John Lennon

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Before Lennon's murder in 1980, John, Paul, George and Ringo had agreed to reunite for a television mini-concert. The performance was to follow the broadcast of a retrospective Beatles documentary. But it wasn't until 1995 that The Beatles Anthology was finally broadcast as a television mini series.

DAVID BIANCULLI, host:

Ringo Starr was the last member to join the Beatles. He came aboard just as the group's recording career began. Terry spoke with Ringo in 1995, when ABC was about to present a multipart retrospective documentary called "The Beatles Anthology." He explained how the new project led, eventually, to a new Beatles recording.

Mr. RINGO STARR (Musician): You know, we finally put it together, but it needed something new, instead of it just being, like, the documentary. And so we all decided to be involved ourselves.

And the follow on to that was, well, why don't we make some music for it? And the problem we had with that - well, yes, it's real easy that Paul, George and Ringo can go in the studio and make this music, but that's not the Beatles.

So we needed something that, you know, it would still be the Beatles. And Yoko came up with a couple tracks of John's that had never been out there - just demos, really.

So we really worked on them to get them, you know, clean enough and usable enough, really. We put them down on 24-track, and then we all worked with that.

So it just seemed like, you know, it's a natural progression, where we're all loose enough to do this together now. And it make it real easy, because now John's in it.

TERRY GROSS, host:

Through the demo.

Mr. STARR: Through the tape. Yeah.

GROSS: What was it like playing together again? Did...

Mr. STARR: It was very emotional. I mean, it was very emotional, first of all, listening to John on the tape, you know, because he is not here. But his voice was there.

And then, you know, we had to, you know, we've all called each other and spoke about it. You know, we had to say, okay, well, are we going to do this? It's pretty strange.

And we came to the conclusion that, well, what we'll do is we'll just feel like - you know, we'll just sort of say, well, John's gone on holiday for a while, or he's gone for a cup of tea. And that's how we got into it. So it felt okay, you know.

But we still have the difficulty of, you know, the three of us doing anything. So it was a lifesaver, really.

(Soundbite of song, "Free as a Bird")

THE BEATLES (Rock Band): (Singing) Free as a bird. It's the next best thing to be, free as a bird. Home, home and dry...

BIANCULLI: Ringo Starr spoke to Terry Gross in 1995. Ringo was the first former Beatle to appear on FRESH AIR.

We'll hear more about John Lennon in the second half of the show. I'm David Bianculli, and this is FRESH AIR.

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