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Ringo with Ludwig gold-plated Snare drum (1964)R. L. Schory, Ringo Starr and William F. Ludwig II

In honor of Ringo Starr's 70th birthday, on July 7th, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will display Ringo’s gold-plated, Ludwig snare drum in a special exhibition through the end December 2010.

Starr popularized the Ludwig brand when he played a Ludwig oyster black pearl drum set during the Fab Fours’ 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. In appreciation, Ludwig Drum Company president, William F. Ludwig II and R. L. Schory, Ludwig's director of marketing, presented Ringo with a gold-plated snare drum in Chicago during the Beatles’ 1964 U.S. tour.

In a related story, Ringo Starr kicks off a second season of the PBS series, Live From the Artists Den, with a performance taped in the Egyptian wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The once-in-a-lifetime concert paired Starr with modern folk-funk master Ben Harper and Relentless7, and as an added surprise, singer-songwriter Joan Osborne sang backing vocals on selected songs, including "With a Little Help From My Friends".