A Brief and Hopefully Accurate Summary
of the Life and Times of Ringo Starr. ©
When the Beatles officially split up in December of 1970, Ringo already had two solo albums behind him, Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups of Blues. The single "Beaucoups of Blues"/ "Coochy Coochy" had been released that October. By the end of 1970 Ringo had also drummed on John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and George Harrison's three-volume All Things Must Pass. He had also acted in two movies, Candy and The Magic Christian.
In April of 1971 he released "It Don't Come Easy"/"Early 1971" the first of string of hit singles. That year he also completed acting roles in two other films, Blindman, and Frank Zappa's 200 Motels. On August first Ringo joined George Harrison at Madison Square Garden for the Concert for Bangladesh. In September he co-formed the design company, Ringo Or Robin Ltd. for which Ringo along with partner Robin Cruikshank designed art-deco style furniture. This venture was to last until 1976.
1972 brought yet another hit single, "Back off Boogaloo." Later that year Ringo stepped behind the camera to direct Born to Boogie, a film about the band T. Rex. He also began work on his much acclaimed role in That'll Be The Day. Dabbling further into the world of films, Ringo not only acted in but also produced Son of Dracula co-starring Harry Nilsson. The movie premiered in Atlanta in 1974 and was soon forgotten.
Ringo bought Tittenhurst Park from John Lennon in 1973 and moved his family into the twenty-six room mansion. The recording studio that John had installed was duly named Startling Studio and opened for hire. Ringo also started Wobble Music Ltd., a music publishing company. He also contributed some drum work to George's Living in the Material World which was released that year. With George Harrison and John Lennon, he filed suit against manager Alan Klein. Ringo's hit single "Photograph" was released in the fall, followed later in December by "You're Sixteen." Perhaps the most important event of the year was the debut of his most critically acclaimed album Ringo in November. All three of his former Beatle bandmates contributed tracks and performed on the album. John and George were present during the recording of "I Am the Greatest" making Ringo the closest thing to Beatles reunion that the world would have for a long time.
In early February of 1974 the single "Oh My My"/"Step Lightly" was released. In November "Only You" and the album Goodnight Vienna debuted. Like Ringo it contained tracks contributed by all three of his Beatle buddies. Along with Jim Keltner and Keith Moon, Ringo played drums on Harry Nilsson's John Lennon produced Pussy Cats made during the time of John's famous lost weekend. Ringo and Maureen's marriage was on the rocks by this time and Ringo, always ready for a good time and a good drink, threw himself happily into the party hardy atmosphere. Ringo's short-lived Reckongrade Ltd. production company came into being during the year. Once again Harry Nilsson and Ringo teamed up for the film Harry and Ringo's Night Out, a project that never was released. Ringo also contributed drum tracks to George Harrison's Dark Horse album which was released during the year.
1975 not only brought the end of Maureen and Ringo's marriage, but the beginning of yet another business venture for Ringo. In April he started a record company called Ring O Records. None of it's artists made a dint large enough to matter in the music business and in late 1978, when Ringo had grown tired of the business meetings and dwindling profits, the company was dissolved. "The No No Song"/ ""Snookeroo" and "Goodnight Vienna"/"Oo-Wee" were released in February and June respectively. November, brought Blast From Your Past, a greatest hits compilation album. By the end of 1975, Ringo had officially moved to Monte Carlo for tax purposes, although he seemed to split his time between there and Los Angeles.. After his divorce, Ringo with girlfriend Nancy Andrews in tow, seemed more interested in his new jet setting lifestyle than in business, music, or acting despite his cameo appearance as the Pope in Ken Russell's film Lisztomania.
In the spring of 1976 Ringo signed with Polydor in England and Atlantic in the United States. The album Ringo's Rotogravure was duly released in September, but failed to reach anywhere near the popularity of Ringo or even Goodnight Vienna. The singles, "A Dose of Rock and Roll"/ "Crying" and "Hey Baby" / "Lady Gaye" didn't fare much better. Rotogravure marked the beginning of a slump period in Ringo's career.
In 1977 Ringo provided the voice of Scouse the Mouse for the animated special and album of the same name. Ringo the Fourth and it's singles "Wings"/ "Just A Dream" and "Drowning In a Sea of Love" were released in the late summer and fall of 1977. The album's dismal sales caused Atlantic to pass Ringo over to Portrait Records for which he managed to record the LP Bad Boy and it's accompanying single, "Lipstick Traces"/ "Old Time Relovin'" in April of the following year.
On April 26, 1978, Ringo's television special, which was designed to help promote Bad Boy and in which George Harrison made a brief appearance, was shown on NBC. Filmwise, 1978 saw Ringo playing a European movie director in Mae West's final film, Sextette. In addition, he participated in The Band's last concert and film, The Last Waltz, and also appeared briefly in The Who's The Kids are All Right. The single "Heart On My Sleeve"/ "Who Needs a Heart" was released in July.
1979 was a hard year for Ringo. His health had never been very robust. Even during the Beatle years he had endured rounds of ill health including a serious attack of tonsillitis in 1964 that landed him in the hospital and caused him to miss a large part of their summer tour. Later that year the pesky tonsils had been removed to insure that such a mishap did not happen again. In September of 1969 he was hospitalized again because of intestinal complaints. In April of 1979 Ringo collapsed with severe intestinal problems stemming from his childhood bout of peritonitis. Near death, he was rushed to a Monte Carlo hospital where doctor's removed several feet of intestine. He had recovered enough to join Paul McCartney and George Harrison at an impromptu jam session on May 19 to celebrate Eric Clapton's marriage to Pattie Boyd Harrison. Ringo's streak of bad luck was not over, however, for on November 28, a fire destroyed his Los Angeles home. He escaped unhurt, but much of his collection of Beatle memorabilia was destroyed.
In February of 1980 Ringo began work on the movie Caveman. It was while filming in Mexico that he met and fell in love with costar Barbara Bach, an American model and actress best known for her part in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. Back in England the two of them survived a serious car crash on May 19. In July, Paul and Ringo began work on Ringo's album Stop and Smell the Roses. In mid November Ringo visited John who gave him four songs for use on the still unfinished album. The two made plans to record together, but on December 8, John was murdered. On December ninth Barbara and Ringo flew to New York to comfort Yoko.
In February of 1981, Ringo joined Paul in Montserrat contribute some drum tracks that would appear on Paul's Tug of War. On April twenty-seventh George and Olivia Harrison and Paul and Linda McCartney were among the guests at the wedding of Barbara and Ringo Once again the three reunited during a jam session at the party that followed. During the summer and fall Ringo and Barbara embarked on a round of publicity appearances to promote Caveman and later Stop and Smell the Roses which was releases by Boardwalk in October and to which George and Paul had contributed . Neither the album nor the single, "Wrack My Brain"/ "Drumming Is My Madness" made a dent in the charts. Late in the year, Ringo with Barbara and her two children, moved back to England and Tittenhurst Park. On the business scene, Ringo became part owner in a cable television company in Liverpool.
In January of 1982, "Private Property"/ "Stop and Take the Time to Smell the Roses," yet another single from the Stop and Smell the Roses album, debuted. In order to promote the three songs he had contributed to that album, Paul McCartney suggested that Ringo take the lead in an eleven minute movie featuring the songs. The Cooler, with Ringo, Barbara, Paul, and Linda was filmed in February of 1982 and shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Also in February, Ringo, with Joe Walsh a as producer, began work on what would be his ninth solo album, Old Wave. On June twenty-third, Ringo drummed in Paul's "Take It Away" video. Later in the year Ringo and Barbara agreed to take part in Paul's, Give My Regards To Broadstreet.
In 1983 Ringo hosted a twenty-six part weekly radio program called Ringo's Yellow Submarine. In June, Almost a year after it was fished, Old Wave was finally released, but only in South America, Japan, and Canada. It was not released in the United States or England until it was issued on CD in 1994. Ringo was also given drum credits on Paul's Pipes of Peace album and in November of '83, Ringo and Barbara appeared in cameo roles in the television adaptation of Judith Krandz's Princess Daisy.
For the most part the rest of Eighties were a rather quiet time for Ringo. Due to his increasingly heavy dependence on alcohol, the world would see not see as much of him for the remainder of the decade. On July fourth, 1984, Ringo drummed with the Beach Boys in Washington DC and that evening in Miami. That year he also narrated the animated series Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends for ITV. In November he and Barbara joined the McCartneys at the London premier of Give My Regards to Broadstreet . On December 8, Ringo hosted Saturday Night Live.
In 1985 Ringo appeared briefly along with George Harrison and Eric Clapton in George's Handmade Film's new project, Water. He also played the part of the mock turtle in a television adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and appeared in Bill Wyman's Willie and the Poor Boys video. the In October Ringo, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton among others, joined Carl Perkins for his comeback special Blue Suede Shoes: Carl Perkins and Friends. Perhaps the most fulfilling event of the year was the birth of his first and as yet only grandchild, Tatia Jayne who was born to Zak and his wife Sarah on September seventh.
In 1986 a second season of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends began in England. On the business scene, Ringo became a partner in an Atlanta restaurant, the Brasseire.
The never-released album that Ringo recorded in Memphis with Chips Moman was completed in April of 1987. During the year Ringo contributed drum tracks to George Harrison's comeback album Cloud Nine. He also appeared in George's When We Was Fab video filmed in December. George and Ringo made a surprise appearance at the Prince's Trust Rock Concert on June fifth and sixth. During the year, Ringo and son Zak drummed for the antiapartheid album, Sun City.
On September twenty-sixth Ringo and Barbara were on hand for the opening of The Brassier, a restaurant in Atlanta. Ringo joined in the celebratory jam session that night. Unfortunately, the restaurant would close its doors after two years. Also in '87 Ringo made a brief appearance in the rock documentary spoof The Return of Bruno starring Bruce Willis and appeared in a series of commercials for Sun Country Classic Wine Coolers.
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