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After more than 60 years in the music business, Ringo Starr has met plenty of other musicians. There was the rest of The Beatles, of course, but the former Richard Starkey collaborated with several musicians over the years. He even contributed to one classic rock album in the early 1970s, but not as a drummer. He’s worked with many musicians in his career, but Ringo once confused “Weird Al” Yankovic with another artist and pointed him out to a concert audience, and we think it happened when Ringo should have known better.

Ringo Starr (left) attends a Grammy Museum event in 2013; Weird Al Yankovic speaks at the 2016 NAMM Show. Ringo once confused Weird Al for another eccentric musician.
(l-r) Ringo Starr; “Weird Al” Yankovic | David Livingston/Getty Images; Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM

Ringo has continued collaborating with musicians long after The Beatles’ split

Ringo had a second career as an actor (which let him watch an Oscar-winner stare at a spoon), but he never quit making music. All The Beatles contributed to Ringo’s self-titled album in 1973 (the third of his seven solo efforts in the 70s), but they didn’t play together. 

He’s worked with some of his close friends in various iterations of his All Starr Band. Ringo has collaborated with classic rock artists, such as Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, and Sheila E., as well as current musicians like Jenny Lewis, Ben Harper, and Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder.

The point is, Ringo has seen a lot of faces over the years, which might explain why he confused Weird Al for another eccentric musician.

Ringo Starr once pointed out Weird Al Yankovic during a concert and called him by another musician’s name

Weird Al has never been shy about his love for The Beatles. He wrote a “Taxman” parody in the early 1980s that finally saw the light of day decades later. Even though he said two Fab Four songs verged into novelty territory, he’s always been a fan. However, Ringo might not be able to say the same thing. 

Weird Al once said Ringo pointed to him in the audience during a concert and told the crowd there was a star in their midst. The only trouble was Ringo confused Weird Al with someone else (via YouTube): 

“One time, I went to see Ringo Starr. At one point in the show, Ringo stops, points at me in the audience, and goes, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have a star in the audience.’ I thought, ‘Wow, this is really cool. Ringo Starr recognized me.’ And he points at me and goes, ‘Ladies and gentlemen — Tiny Tim!’”

Weird Al describes how Ringo Starr confused him with Tiny Tim

In the video, Weird Al owns up to the similarities between him and Tiny Tim. They are both eccentric musicians with unique looks. Weird Al’s long, curly locks resemble Tiny Tim’s hairdo. It might have been a cheeky joke, but the way Weird Al tells it, Ringo genuinely confused him with Tiny Tim.

When did Ringo mistake Weird Al for Tiny Tim? It probably happened at a time when Ringo should have known better

Weird Al didn’t say when this happened, but we can narrow down the date range.

Weird Al, born in October 1959, would barely have reached double digits when Ringo’s solo career started in 1970. Plus, the former Beatle hardly hit the road in the 1970s. That puts us into the early 80s.

Ringo released Old Wave in 1983, but he didn’t put out another record until Ringo and His All-Starr Band… in 1990. He hit the road behind that album in late 1989. Otherwise, without records to promote for most of the 80s, Ringo wouldn’t have been touring. Now we’re through two decades.


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Tiny Tim died in 1996. Unless Ringo didn’t hear about the news, him confusing Weird Al for the “Tiptoe Thru’ the Tulips” singer wouldn’t have happened after that. 

The case of mistaken identity likely happened sometime between Ringo’s 1989 reappearance on the music scene and Tiny Tim’s late 1996 death. Yankovic started sporting longer hair in the 1990s, and he would have been anonymous enough to Ringo’s heavily baby-boomer audience that he could have attended a concert without drawing too much attention. Until Ringo confused Weird Al with Tiny Tim and pointed it out to the crowd, that is. Considering the parody songsmith was a multi-time Grammy winner by then, Ringo should have known better than to confuse Weird Al and Tiny Tim.

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