Ringo marks 80th birthday with online gig

The Big Birthday Show is a Starr-studded charity broadcast with featured performances by Ringo, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper and Dave Grohl, Gary Clark Jr., Sheila E., Sheryl Crow & more.

LOS ANGELES - Ringo Starr held an online 80th birthday bash with a little help from his celebrity friends -- and a number of classic Beatles songs -- in aid of causes including Black Lives Matter.

But fans hoping for a virtual reunion between Starr and fellow surviving Beatle Paul McCartney were left disappointed, as the celebration concluded with an archive clip of the pair performing "Helter Skelter."

Normally, Starr marks each passing year with live performances that include fellow musicians and hundreds of fans, but the pandemic forced a rethink this time.

READ: Ringo Starr pushes peace and love in new music for birthday

Famous pals from musicians Sheryl Crow and Kenny Loggins to filmmaker David Lynch recorded vocals and video tributes as Starr introduced hits from the Beatles' back catalogue as well as his own.

"Come Together," "All You Need is Love" and "With a Little Help From My Friends" were among the tracks aired in an eclectic mix of archive concert footage and home recordings watched live by some 130,000 fans.

At the end of the festivities, Starr announced: "We've got Paul... and I'm even playing with him!" -- before introducing footage of the pair shot in Starr's adopted hometown Los Angeles last year.

READ: The Beatles' iconic Abbey Road cover shot 50 years ago today

The event encouraged donations to the Black Lives Matter Global Network for the fight to "end all this racist violence," Starr explained, as well as The David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares and WaterAid.

Documentary footage reflected on the Beatles' refusal to play before a segregated audience in Jacksonville, Florida during their famous 1964 US tour. 

"Black Lives Matter. Stand up and make your voice heard," said Starr, before noting the major influence of Black artists including Little Richard on the Beatles' sound.

READ: Ringo Starr 'finally' makes it into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Known for his easy-going personality and humour, Starr rocketed to global fame in the early 1960s and helped change the face of pop music forever as part of the Beatles -- still perhaps the world's most famous band.

After the group's break-up, Starr emerged as a bandleader in the late 1980s with his All Starr Band.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the newly-minted octogenarian talked about his recent turn to health as he heads into his ninth decade.