Thursday, July 3, 2014

7 Days of Starr Day 3- Maureen Cox

 "She  married Ringo, when she could have had Paul, 
That's why the lady is a champ."- Frank Sinatra, 1968
Mary Cox was born on 4 August, 1946 to Joseph Cox and Florence Barrett. When she was fourteen years old she changed her name to Maureen (or Mo) and grew up changing her school uniform around, paying her school friends to teach her how to smoke and by age sixteen she was working as a trainee at Ashley du Pre, a beauty salon in Liverpool.

The Cavern Club doors were first opened on 16 January, 1957 at 10 Mathew Street in Liverpool holding jazz musicians that were soon over powered by the rock 'n' roll era. As rock 'n' roll began to sweep the nation The Cavern Club began hiring groups like Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and The Beatles to fill the lunch sessions and soon to play onto the night, with the new kind of music brought a new kind of audience. Swarms of girls, and guys, gathered for hours outside of The Cavern to hear The Beatles, a group who wailed through numbers like "The Hippy Hippy Shake" to "Some Other Guy" performed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and new drummer Ringo Starr. At age fifteen Maureen had become one of the girls who cramped into the damp, rotten fruit mixed with sweat stench cellar fighting for a way to the front to see The Beatles.
"I never joined the queue till about two or three hours before the Cavern opened. It frightened me. There would be fights and rows among the girls. When the doors opened the first ones would tear in, knocking each other over. Then when it got near the time for the Beatles to come on, if there was a gang of four say, they would go off in turns to the lavatory with their little cases to get changed and made up. So when the Beatles came on they’d look smashing, as if they’d just arrived."-Maureen Cox, 1967
 Amongst the girls beats were being placed on who could get The Beatles attention, Maureen took part in this making a bet that she could kiss Paul McCartney, and she did, followed by her kissing Ringo and getting his autograph where he wrote his car license plate number. It was Ringo who she always had a little crush on but it took Ringo three weeks later, when he asked her to dance, that he began to take notice in her. It seemed from that night on that the two became a couple which may of been great for them but as a Cavern dweller, Maureen struggled with the other girls jealous rages,
"I had to be careful because of the fans. I might easily have been killed otherwise. Not being married was all part of their image, and none of them were supposed to have steadies (girlfriends)"- Maureen Cox
While waiting for her boyfriend outside of the Locarno ballroom, Liverpool F.C. on 14 February, 1963 a fan clawed at Maureen's face. Due to constant threats Maureen had to leave her job as a hairdresser, but kept herself busy keeping up with The Beatles Fan Club answering letters from fans of Ringo's. During this time The Beatles had started to become recognized by EMI Studios which lead to the boys moving out of the rough city of Liverpool and to the lavished London area, at only age seventeen Maureen continued to live with her parents in Liverpool but the distance didn't stop the couples relationship.
"How could you go steady in my job? I kept leaving and going on tour. In the early days we didn't have much time off, but any time we did have off I spent with her. We'd have Mondays, because nobody booked gigs for a Monday, so I'd dash up to Liverpool and we'd go to a pub, to the movies or see a show, and then go to a restaurant. Just fill up the whole."- Ringo Starr, Anthology
with Paul and Jane
In 1963 Paul and his girlfriend Jane Asher were accompanied by Ringo and Maureen as they took a vacation in Greece.  This wasn't the only vacation they went on, in 1964 the two found themselves in the Caribbean where she had finally reached her way into the newspapers and press. She hadn't told her parents she was going on a vacation but it didn't seem to bother them,
"It really did not surprise my wife or myself when we learned she was half way across the world. In any case it wouldn't have made any difference. I would have given her permission anyway.  Maureen is a sensible girl and well able to take care of herself."-Joe Cox
On 3 June, 1964 Ringo had found him self in the University College Hospital after collapsing during a photo-shoot with Saturday Evening right before The Beatles World Tour. Starr suffered tonsillitis and was survived by not only the hospitals doctors but by Maureen, who came to visit him bring gifts and ice cream with her.
"...Maureen stayed with my mother in my London flat. It was then I said, 'Do you want Anthology
to get married?' and she said 'yes'. "- Ringo Starr on his hospital stay,
The following January the two had found out that Maureen was pregnant and once again on the 20 January, 1965 at the Ad-Lib Club Ringo had asked her to marry him. On 11 February, 1965 twenty-four year old Ringo married eighteen year old Maureen at the Caxton-Hall Register Office in London. Everybody but Paul, who was in Tunisia with his girlfriend, Jane Asher, attended the wedding where Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, filled the position as best man. George Harrison got there by bicycle where he made the comment,
"Two down, two more to go."
As John had been married since 1962 to Cynthia Powell and now Ringo- the following year George would marry model, Pattie Boyd and in  1969 Paul had become the last Beatle to marry when he wed Linda Eastman. The following video is clips from the Starkey's wedding;

"We hope that our first will be a boy. Naturally I’d like the baby to be like Richie. But he needn’t necessarily follow in his father’s footsteps" -Maureen Cox
"I don't care if I have a boy or a girl. Being a mother and being happily married is just about as much as any girl can wish for."- Maureen Cox
At Sunny Heights
After the wedding there was very littler time for the couple to have their three-day honeymoon as Ringo was due to be on set for The Beatles second film, Help! As soon as he had time, Ringo would return to their 34 Montague Square estate but the home was only temporarily for the married couple as on 24 July, 1965 the two bought a new home, Sunny Heights where they would have their own bar, The Flying Cow, and a go-cart track; In John by Cynthia Powell, she recalls that John was most relaxed when he was with Ringo and he'd often like to go to the Starr's home for the go-cart track and the relaxing atmosphere. Sunny Heights is also where "Blue Jay Way" from The Beatles film, Magical Mystery Tour, was filmed.

The six-bedroomed home didn't seem so big after 13 September, 1965 when  the couple had their first child, Zak Starkey. From then on she had two more children with Ringo, the second being Jason who was born on 19 August, 1967 and a daughter, Lee on 11 November, 1970. A nanny had also occupied a room at the Starkey's Sunny Height.


Despite her like for the press and public, Mo did appear on "The Counting Story of Bungalow Bill" from The Beatles White Album. She also attended The Beatles, along with their wives/girlfriend when they studied mediation in Rishikesh, India. Due to her fear of insects and Ringo's sensitive stomach, the two were soon out and back home to see the kids. That same year (1968), Frank Sinatra recorded at the Beatles Apple Records, in fact it was the first song recorded at Apple, where he recorded a new version of his "The Lady Is A Tramp" for Maureen's birthday; "She married Ringo when she could of had Paul/ That's why the lady is a champ." The following year as The Beatles performed their Rooftop Concert, Paul can be heard saying "Thanks, Mo" after performing "Get Back", as she sat on windy, cold rooftop, along side Yoko Ono. Ringo even filmed Maureen's face for ten-minutes in awe of his wife.

On 10 April, 1970 Paul McCartney had publicly announced that The Beatles had broken up and he was leaving the band. Not knowing what to do without the band, as he said he would of stayed in the band and he was completely lost after the breakup, Ringo coped with alcohol. To make matter's worse it was soon found out that Maureen had an affair with George Harrison, which lead to a break up in both The Starkey and the Harrison's relationships, Lennon calling the affair "virtual incest". The couple didn't divorce right away, it was on 17 July, 1975 the divorce was final after the couple had been each been accused with cheating, Ringo had started seeing American model Nancy Lee Andrews. After the divorce was final, Maureen was left distraught, even running a motorbike into a brick wall in the attempt of suicide. In 1987 Maureen had found herself back in court, this time not for a divorce but in a lawsuit as she was suing the firm that handled her divorce, Withers for what she called an alleged "breach of contract and negligence", feeling that she hadn't got enough money or finances as she should have from the divorce and that Ringo's finances were not thoroughly investigated. During the three-day trial she had called her ex-husband, "a soddy great Andy Capp" and herself as "thick as two short planks". In the end Ringo had doubled her yearly payments, "a generous man", said Mr. Justice Bush.

Mo, Issac, Augusta
About a year after the Starkey's divorced Maureen had got to know one of the founders of the Hard Rock Cafe and the House of Blues, Issac Tigrett. That same year the two began living together and would start a twelve year relationship with their daughter, Augusta King Tigrett who was born on 4 January, 1987, the relationship turned into marriage on 27 May, 1989 in Monaco. Throughout the couples relationship Maureen was known for saying,
"Just give me furs, jewels and property, thank you." 
While Isaac, a collector, and said that she is his "Ultimate collectible".

On 30 December, 1994 after being treated at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington where she received bone marrow and blood platelets from her son Zak, Maureen had passed away from leukemia. At her bed side was Issac, her mother, her four children and Ringo. In 1997 Paul McCartney released his album, Flaming Pie with a track "Little Willow" about Maureen.

The following video is "Little Willow";


Grow to the heavens
Now and forever
Always came too soon

Little willow

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