The evening concert followed a party held at midday in Times Square, in which Starr and his wife Barbara Bach were joined by thousands of fans. The former Beatle was born on 7 July 1940 in Liverpool, England.
The guests for the Radio City show included Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison, Sid Bernstein, Peter Asher, Jeff Lynne, Nils Lofgren, Jim Keltner, David Stewart, Greg Lake, Spike Lee, Joe Walsh and Little Steven, as well as Starr’s children Zak, Lee and Jason Starkey.
During the concert’s final song, ‘Give Peace A Chance’/‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, a birthday cake in the shape of a Ludwig drum kit was brought on stage. McCartney then took to the stage for a performance of the White Album song ‘Birthday’, to the delight of the audience.
McCartney’s appearance came as a total surprise to Starr, although many in the audience suspected it would happen. He had arrived in the early afternoon for a rehearsal and soundcheck, but left the venue before Starr’s arrival.
During the show, McCartney and his partner Nancy Shevell took their seats in the back row, unnoticed by many in the audience. An eyewitness report suggests McCartney was singing along to many of the songs, taking photographs on his BlackBerry, videoing the performance of ‘Yellow Submarine’, and dancing for much of the show.
During With A Little Help From My Friends, Starr was joined onstage by Yoko Ono, Zak Starkey, Eddie Vedder, Joe Walsh, Jeff Lynne and other guests. The birthday cake was wheeled out after Give Peace A Chance, and Starr used a pair of drumsticks instead of a knife.
After Starr left the stage the lights went down. McCartney walked up the auditorium to the stage, his guitar technician John Hamel handed him the famous Höfner bass, and the band began to play Birthday. At the end of the song McCartney hugged Starr, the pair bowed and left the stage.
- ‘It Don’t Come Easy’
- ‘Honey Don’t’
- Choose Love
- Hang On Sloopy (Rick Derringer/The McCoys)
- Free Ride (Edgar Winter)
- Talking In Your Sleep (Wally Palmar/The Romantics)
- ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’
- Dream Weaver (Gary Wright)
- Kyrie (Richard Page/Mr Mister)
- The Other Side Of Liverpool
- ‘Yellow Submarine’
- Frankenstein (Edgar Winter)
- Peace Dream
- Back Off Boogaloo
- What I Like About You (Wally Palmar/The Romantics)
- Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo (Rick Derringer)
- Love Is Alive (Gary Wright)
- Broken Wings (Richard Page/Mr Mister)
- ‘Act Naturally’
- ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’
- ‘Give Peace A Chance’
Also on this day...
- 2015: Paul McCartney live at Telenor Arena, Oslo, Norway
- 2014: Paul McCartney live at Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- 2013: Paul McCartney live at Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Canada
- 2010: Ringo Starr celebrates 70th birthday with peace and love
- 1969: Recording: Here Comes The Sun
- 1969: US single release: Give Peace A Chance by Plastic Ono Band
- 1967: UK single release: All You Need Is Love
- 1966: The Beatles go sightseeing in India
- 1964: Television: Top Of The Pops, Scene At 6.30
- 1963: Live: ABC Theatre, Blackpool
- 1962: Live: Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight
- 1960: Live: The Institute, Neston, Wirral
- 1940: Ringo Starr is born
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.