Ringo Starr sets sail for New York on board the QE2

12.00pm, Friday 16 May 1969 (44 years ago)

Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen Starkey were among travellers on board the recently-launched ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2, heading to New York from Southampton.

The trip was laid on by Commonwealth United, the company which funded the film The Magic Christian, which Starr had a lead role in. With principal photography recently completed, the holiday was by way of thanks to the cast and crew for finishing on time and on budget.

Also on board were the film’s co-star Peter Sellers, director Joe McGrath, producer Denis O’Dell, their respective wives and Apple’s press officer Derek Taylor. The luxury cruise ship arrived in New York on 22 May 1969, and from there the party flew to the Bahamas for a two-week holiday.

Starr gave an interview to the Associated Press agency before the ship set sail. In it he discussed a previous job as a waiter on board a steam ship that sailed between Liverpool and north Wales while he was a teenager.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono had hoped to be part of the QE2 party, but Lennon was denied a visa by the US immigration authorities due to his November 1968 conviction for possessing cannabis.

Instead, Lennon and Ono were left on the dock at Southampton. The experience echoed their failed attempt to marry on a ferry to France in March 1969, which found its way into the opening lines of The Ballad Of John And Yoko.

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