respect the classics

Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh’s BFF Ascension: A Timeline

Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh. Photo: Getty Images

There are a lot of friendships out there in the Hollywood “community” that are definitely worth talking about. Hell, that are definitely worth celebrating. We’re ride or die for Nicole and Naomi. We’d take a bullet for Winona and Keanu. But, frankly, we’re going to need you to immediately forget every single BFF duo you know, because we have a new front-runner for Friendship of the Millennium: Septuagenarian rock icons Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh. Oh god, they are cute! In an effort of full transparency, Vulture was aware that they shared brother-in-law status for a while now, but in a fun interview with Rolling Stone last month, John Mulaney made us realize the full extent of their bromance while reflecting on the newest Rock Hall inductees. “You know who should be inducted? The friendship of Joe Walsh and Ringo Starr,” he said. “They are together so much, it warms my heart.”

We’ve now taken upon ourselves to warm the hearts of our readership with a delightful, by-all-means-not-complete history of the duo over the past few decades. Consider this part timeline, part photo diary, and part public service announcement for making new pals. Because if a Beatle and an Eagle can be friends, who can’t?

1965: Walsh’s high-school girlfriend gets them tickets to see the Beatles perform at their seminal Shea Stadium gig. “I was screaming along with the rest of the girls. I was screaming at the top of my lungs,” Walsh later recalled on The Howard Stern Show.

Mid-1970s: The men meet for the first time, a specific date neither of them can remember. What Walsh can recall about their meeting, though, he tells the Chicago Tribune, and he wanted to impress Starr with his musicianship:

When he heard the Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing,” which contains a ridiculously finger-stretching George Harrison guitar solo, Walsh worked tirelessly until he mastered it. Years later, after he became famous, Walsh met Starr and told him the story. Starr looked at Walsh like he was nuts. Harrison had played two guitar parts separately and tracked them on top of each other in the studio. “Nah, nah, nah — he played it twice,” Starr told Walsh. “It’s two notes playing together!” “I think I’m the only guy who can play it — including George,” Walsh says.

1983: Walsh produces Starr’s solo album Old Wave, with the duo co-writing the lead song “In My Car” together. “That album did really good in Switzerland, and it was also number one in Lithuania,” Walsh later joked. Years later, he covers “In My Car” for his own solo album, Got Any Gum?

1989: Walsh is chosen by Starr — alongside the likes of Clarence Clemons and Dr. John — to be an inaugural member of his All-Starr Band, where he plays guitar, piano, and talk box. He would later perform with Starr’s second iteration of the band in 1992, and would intermittently pop up as a guest instrumentalist with the supergroup in the years that follow. As such, the duo tour extensively together in ’89 and ’92.

2008: Walsh marries Marjorie Bach, the sister of Starr’s wife, Barbara Bach. Brother-in-law status is officially achieved!

2010: Starr receives a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At his request, Walsh gives one of the introductory speeches at the ceremony. “He’s not just the greatest drummer in rock history — from the greatest band in rock history — he’s also the greatest guy I know and the most kind and helpful friend you could ever want,” Walsh says.

2011: Out on the town!

Photo: Paul Redmond/FilmMagic

2012: Walsh has such a good time at Starr’s annual “Peace & Love” birthday celebration that he immortalizes it with a video. In an interview with CNN to coincide with the party, Walsh sits on Starr’s lap for the chat’s duration.

2013: A friend-cation spurs this iconic tweet.

Mid-2014: Out on the town again!

Photo: Barry King/FilmMagic

Late 2014: Starr gives Walsh a fabulous birthday cake.

2015: Starr is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the award for musical excellence — becoming the final Beatle to receive a solo Rock Hall honor. “I don’t know why he wasn’t inducted before,” Walsh, who’s on hand for the festivities, tells reporters backstage. “That always bothered me. His body of work as a solo artist is as valid as anybody. He had a long list of hits and singles, and some great albums too.” The duo also perform Starr’s 1973 solo track “It Don’t Come Easy” during the induction, where Starr gets mushy when introducing his “good friend.”

Mid-2016: They just keep going out on the town!

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Late 2016: The Eagles are presented with the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Starr attends the ceremony to help induct the band, acting as a sort of emcee for their segment. “I am honored to be here this evening to honor the Eagles, including my brother-in-law, Joe Walsh, who forced me to do this,” he tells the audience, much to Walsh’s delight.

Early 2017: Okay, one last out-on-the-town pic, we swear.

Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage

Mid-2017: Starr’s “Peace & Love” celebration this year features a rousing introduction from Walsh, which culminates in a birthday serenade.

Late 2017: Walsh plays guitar on two tracks of Starr’s newest solo album, Give More Love. “He’s my brother-in-law and he wants to involve me in making music, and what am I gonna say? No?” Walsh jokes about his involvement. “I’m really, really, really blessed to be in this family that I’m in that came along with my wife … and I still get in the studio and I’ll be playing guitar and I’ll look over and go, that’s fucking Ringo Starr! I don’t believe it! It still happens sometimes.”

2018: In a fitting conclusion to the year — and this article — Starr, Walsh, and James Taylor perform “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” together at a fundraiser for Walsh’s charity, VetsAid. They’re all so happy!

Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh’s BFF Ascension: A Timeline