NEW YORK (AP) — Ringo Starr is known for being the amiable Beatle, but the rock star showed his tough side yesterday when he walked off the set of "Live With Regis and Kelly" rather than cut short one of his songs.
Starr, who is promoting his new album, "Liverpool 8," planned to perform the title song with fellow rocker Dave Stewart. However, due to miscommunication between his publicist, Elizabeth Freund, and the musical director, Starr didn't realize the performance had to be 2 1/2 minutes or less, Freund told The Associated Press.
When told yesterday morning that the performance had to be shortened, Freund said Starr tried to cut about a minute of the song's 4 minute, 15 second length, down to 3 minutes and 30 seconds. However, according to Freund, producer Michael Gelman said it had to be less than 3 minutes.
"We offered to cut back our chat time and asked them to fade or go to commercial. They were not willing to do that and Ringo was not willing to cut it further, so without a compromise we were not able to stay," Freund said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Ringo left saying, 'God bless and goodbye. We still love Regis."
A spokeswoman for "Regis and Kelly" disputed some of Freund's contentions. The representative, who declined to be named — citing show policy — told the AP the show's producers tried to work with Starr. The spokeswoman also said the time of his song was almost 5 minutes, not 4 minutes and 15 seconds. She also said that his appearance had been booked since November and that Starr's representatives had agreed to the time requirement for the song.
With Starr absent, fashion designer Michael Kors and the winners of CBS' "The Amazing Race" did extra segments to fill his time.
Despite yesterday's drama, she said the show would absolutely welcome Starr back.
However, Stewart had plenty of criticism for the show, calling it "disrespectful treatment of us as artists."
"Four minutes (3 minutes and 40 seconds, actually) seemed like an appropriate amount of time for a former Beatle. Mr. Gelman apparently felt Ringo's musical legacy should take a back seat to additional banter about the size of Ms. (Kelly) Ripa's derriere," he said in a statement.
The spokeswoman for "Regis and Kelly" said there would be no comment on Stewart's statement.
Starr, 67, shortened his song for CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman," but it was still over 3 minutes, Freund said.
But he was able to play the full song later yesterday on "Rachael Ray."
"Ringo taped an interview and performance on our show this afternoon, which was absolutely amazing. He performed 'Liverpool 8' in its entirety ... and was a complete professional and a pleasure to work with," said Charlie Dougiello, a spokesman for Ray.