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All You Need is Love

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All You Need is Love

My Conversation with Ringo Starr.
Peter  Rodger
Peter Rodger More by this author
Mar 03, 2011 at 09:00 AM

I was downstairs in the basement office in my house one day when I heard my cell phone go off upstairs. I called out to my then-12-year-old daughter: “Georgia! Please grab the phone!” She appeared a few moments later, white in the face, arm outstretched.

“Daddy, it’s Ringo Starr!?” She looked as if she was about to faint.

Ringo Starr—the British musician and singer-songwriter who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles—was on the phone!

A mutual friend mentioned to Ringo that I wanted to include some famous people in the film and had asked if he would be interested. Ringo was very forthcoming. His whole mantra is “Peace and love,” and he was glad to help. But I hadn’t known that at the time, so it was a complete surprise when he called me up out of the blue.

I cleared my throat. “Hello, Ringo!”

“Hello, Peter. Doris said you were making a film about God. She thought I might say a few words on it.”

“I’d love that!” I said.

“Can you come by the house this afternoon at about 4, then?” he asked.

I enthusiastically agreed.

“You don’t have, like, zillions of trucks and stuff, do ya?” he asked.

“No. It’ll be just two of us. Real small, down, and dirty.”

“All right. See you at 4.” He gave me his address.

I was shocked and deeply flattered, and for some reason, nervous. A Beatle!

I immediately rang my sound man, who dropped everything to come, but of course, I couldn’t go without Georgia. She would never forgive me. Then my wife Soumaya came home, and a couple of hours later, there were four of us driving over to Ringo’s home in Beverly Hills.

Ringo came out of the house to greet us with his wife, Barbara Bach (who couldn’t have been more delightful). Ringo looked at the car to see four people emerging instead of two, and as he came over to shake my hand, said, “You’ve brought a whole bloody army, haven’t ya!?”

Georgia was by now at my side, and I answered, “Well, you see it goes like this: I couldn’t leave Georgia at home, because you are Georgia’s biggest fan.” Of course, what I’d meant to say was that Georgia was his biggest fan, but it all came out wrong.

Ringo didn’t miss a beat. “And that is correct!” he announced. “I’ve been a fan of Georgia’s since as long as I can remember—in fact, I’ve been a fan of Georgia’s since before she was born.” And he went down on one knee. “I am so honored to meet you!”

Georgia was beside herself. Then Ringo went in the house and returned with four elastic wristbands with the words Peace and love and three stars emblazoned on them, and gave one to each of us.

Within minutes, the camera was rolling, and I was interviewing a legend.

“I’m going to ask you a very simple question, Ringo: what is God?”

“God, to me? My God in my life? God is love.”

“Simple, clear, undiluted love?”

“Pure love. Love is an incredible power. If you give out love, the reaction to it is so great, even with crazy, violent people. If you give out love, they stop for a minute, because everybody notices love when it’s coming their way. . . . I feel that so long as you are doing something with love, the world will support you. That’s how the world works.”

“There are a lot of religions that believe their God is greater than everyone else’s—”

“Yes, but that’s people, not God,” Ringo broke in. “I think everybody wants their religion to be universally the wisest, and sometimes they’re not.”

“So what do you think we can do to promote the fact that God is love?” I asked him.

“Well, I do it, in a simple way: I have a wristband that says ‘Peace and love.’ I’m forever going, ‘Peace and love.’”

Then Ringo asked me a question: “Well, what about you? Where’s your God?”

“Me? This film’s not really about what I think; it’s about what other people think,” I said.

“Oh no, not you—you can’t think. You’re behind the camera!” he ribbed.

“If you really want me to say what I think, well, I believe God is power. I believe you do with God what you want to do with God. I think people have access to that power, and a lot of people call that access God.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “You know, people are frightened of the word God. ‘Oh God’—whoa, you can’t just say ‘God.’ Well, you can. Someone asked me once, ‘What is your concept?’ I went off into these 1960s moments of madness and things like that, and then I thought, Oh my God.” He realized he’d mentioned the name of the film and kindly repeated it with added emphasis: “Oh My God. God is love. Keep it simple.”

About Author
Peter  Rodger
After completing his education at England's Maidstone College of Art, Peter Rodger’s skill with the lens made him one of the most sought-after talents in the European and United States Advertising Industry, shooting numerous car, clothing, and cosmet Continue reading