John Paul George Ringo - How Healthy Were They

Discussion in 'The Ray Peat Forum Lounge' started by DMF, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. DMF

    DMF Member

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    Beatlephiliac all my life and occasionally can't help but wonder. All slender and tall (o.k. maybe not Ringo) Strong too - John that is.
    Apart from the drugs and cans of Heinz Baked Beans, their main staple just to get through an ordinary Beatle day, they each must've possessed a particular if not extraordinary constitution in order to amount to what they did. Their secretary Freida Kelly described them as having come from "good stock".
     
  2. Christopher R.

    Christopher R. Member

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    All were products of the postwar UK welfare state, so would have grown up on free school milk and also home cooking with saturated fats and animal protein. It wasn't just them, all the bands and actors in the 1960s seem more energetic and robust than those who came afterwards. They had grown up playing outdoors and with no internet and very little television.

    With good nutrition they were super energetic in their late teens and early twenties, allowing them to overwork physically in Hamburg and during the nonstop touring of the Beatlemania years while still producing high quality creative output. They were clearly testosterone-fuelled, and perhaps most importantly they had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, and a huge sense of opportunity and optimistic self-confidence, which would eliminate any kind of learned helplessness, and probably put them in a euphoric state for much of the early years.

    Also, they would have gained mental stamina and creative enhancement from the stimulatory effects of all that nicotine in the cigarettes they chain smoked throughout their career, as well as whatever mind expanding results the LSD had in their later years.
     
  3. OP
    DMF

    DMF Member

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    Yes - they always seemed in a euphoric state. They all fit and synergized each other like perfect parts of a whole.
    There's a luck factor too - that they had Brian Epstein and George Martin to channel and funnel their creative energy which of course was common among many other British bands of that era - some American too.
    Anyhow, Sir Paul looks, sounds strong , Ringo 'not sure. George never completely gave up on the cig's and I think John would still be alright nowadays like Paul.
     
  4. Christopher R.

    Christopher R. Member

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    That's a good point, they were very lucky in that they synergized well and met the right people at the right time. Almost like the 'Law of Attraction' in action, lol. Their upbeat, self-confident vibes seemed to magnetically attract good luck towards them. When they fell out with each other is when their luck started to falter, and their solo years lacked much of the 'magic' that had characterized the Beatle years.

    George appeared reasonably robust until the effects of inhaling smoke through his lungs caught up with him at the turn of the century.

    I think Ringo is in quite good shape for someone of his age, and seems to be fairly low-stress, especially since beating his alcohol addiction.

    John seemed to become more frail in the latter half of the 1970s, during his 'retirement' years as a house husband. I think it was due to inadequate protein from following Yoko's macrobiotic fad diets, and he may also have had bulimia. He was certainly thinner and older looking than he should have been in 1980.

    Sir Paul does have a lot of stamina and creative energy to this day, going on tours and releasing new albums fairly frequently. I think he'd be even healthier if he and Linda hadn't become vegetarians in the 1970s though. Paul had fairly decent muscle mass in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but since then he became noticeably skinnier, especially in the 1980s. It may also have contributed to premature greying of his hair in that decade. Paul's voice doesn't seem to have aged as well as, for example, Tom Jones's, who has never been a vegetarian. But nowadays I imagine he has access to all sorts of high-quality supplements and foods, which allow him to continue to stay on top of his game.
     
  5. OP
    DMF

    DMF Member

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    Isn't Sir Paul a vegan?
     
  6. Sam Suska

    Sam Suska Member

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  7. Tristan Loscha

    Tristan Loscha Member

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    Paul McCartney is unfortunately a vegan or vegetarian, and calls for vegan meals for kids in the UK, not good. He looks more frail, and another known musician, bono, falls apart rapidly, late onset veganism, and actor ellen page is really gaunt too. Veganism has to be opposed, that is how they get us, via malnutrition for kids, for 'ethical reasons'.
     
  8. CreakyJoints

    CreakyJoints Member

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    I would like to start by saying I am a fan of The Beatles and many of their songs, because I think some die-hard fans might easily misconstrue the things I'm about to write as an attempt to discredit them.

    This is just conjecture, but I think at the time growing up in Liverpool, the diet would have consisted of a meal of roast vegetables and meat at least once a week - I imagine potatoes were a staple in one form or another (mashed, chips, &c.), and likely a fry-up consisting of eggs, possibly with bacon or some fried vegetables when available in the mornings. As young musicians on the road, it's likely they would have had to compromise a lot, but in the UK certainly fish and chips would always be on hand. Curry would also have been extremely popular, especially up North (forgive me, actual Northerners, I'm in London and everything above the M25 is North to me) - so rice is likely to have been included in their diets.

    I know you said "apart from the drugs", but anyone who has been a musician on the road can tell you that cocaine is par for the course - even if you don't like it or take it, it will be offered to you at nearly every single venue after you achieve even a tiny amount of success. It would have been significantly harder to avoid it than it would have been to procure it. I'm pretty sure John was taking huge amounts of coke and heroine throughout his career. I assume the others would have, too, but John especially. He is high off his absolute face in that video of Yer Blues with The Dirty Mac, he can barely form a sentence. They give him prop plates and spoons just to cover the gurning, pupils like bowling balls, can't keep his head straight. He'd really gone off the rails by this point.

    Billy Preston (I understand why this thread might not mention him, but it does make me really sad that he's rarely mentioned alongside the main four, especially when you're mentioning the management) died four years after a kidney transplant (there is some suggestion hypertension contributed to the initial kidney failure) and half a year in a coma whilst in rehab. He also had a major drug problem. This paragraph was far, far longer; but I suddenly remembered where I was, and realised that there will probably be very little sympathy or appreciation for his work here.

    Paul McCartney the bassist may have been a great and integral part of a truly excellent and influential band; but Paul McCartney the person campaigning for reform for copyright laws is utterly awful. His attempts at "classical" music are also totally risible. I don't say these things to take anything away from his contribution to The Beatles, and indeed he wrote some of my favourite songs, but he's the one I like the least of the bunch. It's thought milk was his favourite drink.

    You mention George Harrison dying from lung cancer, but don't forget that he was stabbed multiple times in the chest at the age of 56, and sustained a head injury in the same attack, four years prior to his death. He enjoyed Jelly Babies (these are probably still one of the cleanest, gelatin-rich sweets it is possible to purchase in stores here), notably being bombarded with them at one concert after making a comment about them.

    Apparently all of them enjoyed ice cream, and from some pictures you can see that they would often have milk and sugar in their tea.
    Ringo looks like he's doing OK at the moment, and I wish him all the best. The All-Starr Band were even due to tour again this year. Some of the truly wonderful musicians who joined those ranks have now sadly passed, too; Levon Helm (throat cancer), Ricky Danko (heart failure), Ginger Baker (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Jeff Healey (sarcoma), Clarence Clemens (complications after multiple strokes), to name a few; although many of them are still going strong, and long may they continue.
     
  9. Christopher R.

    Christopher R. Member

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    I think you're correct in ascribing special importance to their diet growing up. (You clearly know your stuff - respect!) They could eat all the faddish things they wanted as Beatles yet still retain their creative energy due to the stored baseline of nutrients from their youth, imperfect though it was. They had enough good carbs like potatoes, as well as enough Peaty proteins like milk and unfashionable meats (organs) growing up. Also, epigenetically, they came from a long line of ancestors who hadn't been exposed to many carcinogens, except perhaps coal smoke and tobacco smoke. People drank milk all the time in 1960s Britain, and they even sold it in vending machines in hard-to-open waxy cartons, as you can see in the "Hard Day's Night" video where their on-screen manager tries unsuccessfully to open one with his teeth.

    Nevertheless, from a Peaty perspective, as Beatles they were unduly influenced by faddish diets and "convenient" foods. The biographies I've read include Corn Flakes, baked beans, tea, biscuits, Chinese takeaways, short-lived vegetarianism and obviously alcohol/drugs. They were all heavy smokers in those years. Paul at least shows premature eye wrinkles as early as the 1966 "Paperback Writer" video. And certainly in 1967's "Hello Goodbye".

    They all kept their hair to a large degree, though John was apparently worried he was losing his by 1980, and in photos of the time you can see it looks thinner, but then so does he, not least because of Yoko's faddish macrobiotic diets she encouraged him to follow.
     
  10. CreakyJoints

    CreakyJoints Member

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    Thank you, I don't presume to be particularly knowledgeable about them, I appreciate your comment though. We had to study them only very briefly at school, but I never specialised in their work or that period - probably long-standing fans would know much more than I do. My friends and I have a decent generalised knowledge of how many musicians died: we have to keep track of who is in music Valhalla.

    I don't necessarily think it's accurate to describe them as 'testosterone-fueled' or 'strong'. I want to be careful how I word this, because I feel like this forum has some very unhelpful attitudes to these things, but in terms of physique I think they were average, if not slightly less muscular than many of their contemporaries. They didn't throw themselves around very much on the stage, they were pretty reserved, almost stationary a lot of the time (perhaps we can blame TV, given they'd have to maintain blocking for cameras). Even Ringo's drumming style (playing alternate notes of hat patterns with a back-hand) was very languid and prioritised economy of movement and preservation of energy.

    This may sound silly (if it didn't already), but I think the healthiest thing about them is the fact that they were able to write music that was pretty much universally appreciated, and they toured regularly. You can see how life-changing it can be for a musician when they do a gig they're happy with - and likewise you can see how dreadful it is when they become frustrated. I've known people on the verge of suicide turn everything around because they did a single gig that went well, and I've sadly known a few who've given up because they thought their career was going no-where. There's not really an equivalent in many other careers, I don't think - when your music is your life, to have it rebuffed can be supremely damaging, and to have it lauded can be miraculous. Even when things were difficult for The Beatles, their music was still beloved.

    If you want to take any health lessons away from them, (you touched on it earlier) I would suggest their probable job satisfaction/happiness/lack of stress is the thing to look at. I could probably thrive on nothing but cans of baked beans and cocaine* if you told me I had sold out a world tour.

    *I do not condone adopting this as an actual diet.
     
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