4 Fab Facts About Ringo Starr

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As the former drummer for one of the most celebrated musical groups of all time, you're probably pretty familiar with the man already. His real name is Richard Starkey, for instance (his wife calls him Ritchie). He earned the nickname Ringo because he once had a habit of—wait for it—wearing a lot of rings.

Still, there's plenty more to learn about the legendary musician. In honor of Ritchie's 77th birthday today, here are four things Beatles fans might not know about him.

1. He has never had pizza, curry, or onions.

Ringo was a rather sickly child, dealing with illness after illness. He fell into a coma at the age of 6 after a bout with appendicitis left him with a raging infection, then lost another year recovering from tuberculosis when he was 13. As a kid, he also discovered that he suffers from a host of allergies. “I’m highly allergic to onions and garlic and spices,” he has said. “I’ve never had a pizza, never had a curry.”

That didn’t stop him from doing a pizza commercial in 1995, though.

2. He doesn’t shake hands.

Perhaps as a result of all those childhood health woes, the legendary drummer is a bit of a germaphobe. He prefers to bump elbows instead of shaking others' hands.

3. He’s a lefty, but plays a right-handed drum kit.

Ringo was born a lefty, but—as with many left-handed children born in a certain era—he was taught that a dominant left hand was incorrect. His grandmother “converted” him to write righty, though he still preferred his left hand for most other tasks. Having to adapt to right-handed equipment and instruments is a part of what made his drumming style so unique. “I have a right-handed kit, but I lead with my left,” he explained to Conan O’Brien in 2012.

4. He hates drum solos.

You’d think that the man who executed the drum solos in songs such as “The End” would love showing off his stick skills—but you'd be wrong. "I never met a drummer who more hated the drum solos," Paul McCartney once recalled. "We had to beg him to do it. The point where 'Carry That Weight' goes into 'The End,' I told him it's a dramatic change in energy and tempo—we need just a few seconds. And he finally agreed to do it. And Ringo was great."

When he is talked into soloing, don’t expect him to repeat that famous fill from “The End.” “I’ve got no idea how to do it,” he told Rolling Stone. “I could never do it again. Can’t do it!”