Most of us, at least most of us who are old enough, got our first glimpse of Ringo Starr in action 51 years ago this month, when the Beatles first appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and the whole country went nuts.
It's taken that long for the most affable of the Beatles to make his Bradenton area debut, but the hour is upon us: Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band will appear at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Tuesday.
The concert at 8 p.m. is only one part of the goings-on at the Van Wezel that evening. The hall is celebrating its 45th anniversary, so before the show there's a cocktail reception, dinner and live and silent auctions.
If you go to the Van Wezel website and see that no tickets are available, don't give up -- more will be available later. But the surest way to get them at this point is to buy tickets for the pre-show festivities. They cost $280 and include a ticket to the show. (Call 941-366-5578 if you want tickets. Ringo will not be at the pre-show reception)
The All Starr Band goes back about a quarter of a century so far, and it has to rank as one of the greatest supergroups of all time. The membership is fluid, but over the years it has included prominent members of the E Street Band, the Eagles, the Who, the Rascals, the Band, Cream, Procol Harum and Bad Company, among others.
The lineup that will come to Van Wezel is strong one, with Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather of Toto, Greg Rolie of Journey and Woodstock-era Santana and Richard Page of Mr. Mister.
They'll all do some of the songs that made them famous, and they'll cover some other people's classics, too.
But no matter who else is performing with him, Ringo is always going to be the biggest draw.
There's no word on exactly which songs Ringo will do, but he has a surprisingly rich well of songs to draw from, from both his Beatles and solo albums. Here is a subjective top 10 list of Ringo's best from both:
1. "With a Little Help from My Friends." Ringo's voice and attitude suited this jaunty tune perfectly.
2. "Yellow Submarine." Ringo sang very few songs with the Beatles, but two of them -- this and the awful "Octopus's Garden" --- were about living underwater.
3. "I Wanna Be Your Man." A Lennon-McCartney throwaway that's a great piece of proto-punk.
4. "Boys." The lyrics of this Shirelles cover made no sense with a guy singing them, but Ringo made it a great rocker.
5. "Don't Pass Me By." Maybe Ringo's best composition for the Beatles.
6. "What Goes On." The only song ever credited to Lennon-McCartney-Starkey, and a strong entry on "Rubber Soul."
7. "Honey Don't." Pales compared to Carl Perkins' original, but still a lot of fun.
8. "Act Naturally." Ringo helped introduce '60s pop-rock kids to country music with this song, and he's kept on doing country-tinged songs through his career.
9 . "Good Night" An overlooked lullaby that made a lovely epilogue for the White Album.
10. "Matchbox." Another joyously performed Perkins classic.
1. "Photograph." Ringo and George Harrison never wrote songs together when they were Beatles, but they wrote some great ones afterwards. This is perhaps the best.
2. "It Don't Come Easy." Beatles-influenced but pure Ringo. Just a great pop song.
3. "Back Off Boogaloo." Fun nonsense that Starr said was inspired by the babblings of his buddy Marc Bolan of T-Rex.
4. "Goodnight Vienna." An obscure but irresistible John Lennon song.
5. "I Am the Greatest." A tongue-in-cheek Ringo biography penned by Lennon. Just delightful.
6. "You Always Hurt the One You Love." Ringo was decades ahead of the curve by turning to the Great American Songbook on his first solo album. The album's uneven but this Mills Brothers classic really works.
7. "The No No Song." Just a novelty song, but it's cute.
8. "Beaucoups of Blues." The title song from Ringo's second solo album, in which he croons country.
9. "You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful and You're Mine)." Pre-Beatles pop sung with a wink and a smile.
10. "Oh My My." Not the greatest song, maybe, but it's the kind of pop tune you want to hear Ringo sing.
Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 24, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $58.50-$192.25. Information: 941-953-3368, vanwezel.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.