Ringo Starr Says He Wasted Years in Alcoholic Haze After Beatles Breakup

By May Wilkerson 04/14/15

The Beatles' drummer admitted that he spent two decades being "lost" in a haze of alcohol.

Ringo Starr

In the decades after the Beatles broke up in 1970, Ringo Starr developed a serious drinking problem that did not wane until he finally entered rehab in 1988, the drummer recently admitted.

Born Richard Starkey Jr., the 74-year-old drummer said the band’s breakup affected him for a long time. “I was mad,” he told the Times of London.

“For 20 years. I had breaks in between of not being ... Some of those years are absolutely gone,” he told the paper. 

Starr turned to alcohol because he felt “absolutely lost,” and said he was often drunk in the two decades after the Beatles dissolved. He described his descent in a 1989 People magazine feature.

“It got progressively worse, and the blackouts got worse, and I didn’t know where I’d been, what I’d done,” he said. “I knew I had the problem for years. But it plays tricks with your head. Very cunning and baffling is alcohol.”

In 1988, he cleaned up his act and entered rehab with his wife, Barbara Bach. “Barbara fell into a trap because of me,” he told People. “She was an actress who used to go to bed at 10 at night and get up at 8 in the morning. Till we met. Then her career went the same way as mine.”

On April 18, Starr will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, less than a month after releasing his new solo album, Postcards from Paradise. He is the last of the Beatles to make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.

“Now along the way I got lost in a haze of alcohol and drugs,” he told Rolling Stone in a 2011 interview. “But thank God I’m still here, coming out of it now a day at a rime (sic). And now I’m feeling like those days (the Sixties) again. I loved that movement, and now I sort of feel like I’m back in it.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.