"The world is a mess," the Eagles' usually jocular guitarist and singer Joe Walsh said during his unusually serious moment at the microphone to wish his rock star pal and brother-in-law Ringo Starr a happy 75th birthday on Tuesday.
"Violence doesn't work," he continued at the event that was as much about nurturing Starr's ongoing "peace and love" campaign as about celebrating the former Beatle's birthday. "Peace and love, compassion and understanding are the only thing that's going to get us out of this mess."
Then Starr took to the stage in front of several hundred fans and a few dozen media to lead a countdown at noon to his own utterance of "peace and love" that he'd invited fans around the world to join.
He noted that the first such formal call came a decade earlier and, he noted, "There were about 10 people here. Now look at all of you," surveying the generation-spanning crowd swelling out into Vine Street.
This year, Starr and his team set up a #PEACEANDLOVE Facebook page to further spread the word, asking fans to post details about where they planned to note the noon confluence of birthday messages.
Filmmaker David Lynch, actor Bud Cort and comedian Richard Lewis were on hand, along with musicians Edgar Winter, Jim Keltner, Matt Sorum, Glen Ballard, producer Giles Martin and "Breakfast with the Beatles" radio show host Chris Carter. They were among a couple of dozen famous faces who joined Starr outside the Capitol Records Tower after cheery performances of several of his songs by roots band Spirit Family Reunion and Adam Arcuragi.
With a performance scheduled in Oslo tonight, Starr's fellow surviving Beatle, Paul McCartney, was not in town to join the celebration.
"Ringo turned my life around," said Lewis, adding that "I didn't have a life of peace and love when I was growing up. On my birthday, my parents told me: 'Make a death wish and blow out the candles!' " he quipped shortly before Starr arrived.
Starr — with a lot of help from those friends — then tossed handfuls of white wristbands to the onlookers before moving inside to Capitol's historic recording Studio A for a private birthday celebration. The refreshments included a large cake and such British culinary staples as fish and chips, sausage rolls and meat pies, most of which the birthday boy — a vegetarian for decades — wouldn't touch.
Starr thanked well-wishers and posed with those requesting photos and then departed with his wife, actress Barbara Bach.