Ringo

Editor's Note:During November, we featured the album Ringo. Please tell us what you like or don't like about the album and rank it from 1 ( positively awful) to 10 (great beyond your wildest dreams). Fans' reviews follow the general comments. Please send your comments to gshultz@airmail.net , and be sure to include your name.

 

 

 General Commentary

After fulfilling his dream of doing a collection of standards as well as a country album, Ringo was at last ready to turn his attention to the pop/rock genre and to what Ringo considers his first real album -- Ringo. Richard Perry was selected to be the producer for the project. Ringo remembers, “We first met when they called me down to do a session for one of Harry (Nilsson’s) albums. I went down and played and Richard and I got to egging each other on about doing something together. We ended up at a club, and when we were leaving we promised we’d get together.”

At first Ringo envisioned making a global album, “At the time I had this great plan of doing a world album, you know: two tracks in Nashville, a couple in London , some in Peru or wherever. ” However, producer Richard Perry’s suggestion to keep the project in Los Angeles prevailed. Recording began in early April of 1973 at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles. Ringo was delighted with the way the album progressed. “You know, in a week we had eight tracks and they were all great.” Among these tracks were several Starkey compositions. One, “Step Lightly,” was written solely by Ringo while “Photograph” shared authorship with George Harrison and “Oh My My” and “Devil Woman” were co-written with Vini Poncia.

In its review of the album, Rolling Stone Magazine noted that, “A Ringo Starr album is the first to actually invoke the Beatles aura.” This is not surprising since John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney each contributed his time and talents to the album. Ringo is, therefore, the first and only solo Beatle album to feature all four of the former Fabs playing on one record.”

John Lennon rewrote parts of his song “I’m the Greatest” especially for Ringo and also contributed piano and backing vocals. George Harrison also performed on the song, and as observed in Rolling Stone, “A stunning alchemy occurs. The small matter of John’s pungent sardonic backup vocal and a Harrison guitar part that burns ... energizes this song beyond all explanation.” Richard Perry was totally impressed with having three Beatles in the studio at one time. When George joined Ringo and John to help sort out the middle eight,” Perry recalls, “You could really tell that they were excited! There was such a fantastic energy coming out of the room! It was really sensational.”

While John’s participation was limited to the one song, George was much more involved. In addition to playing on “I’m the Greatest,” George provided guitar work on three other Ringo tracks. These included the Harrison composition “Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond), as well as “Photograph” which George co-wrote with Ringo, and “You and Me, (Babe)” which was co-written with Mal Evans.

Having already accepted a little help from friends John and George, Ringo decided, “I couldn’t leave Paul out of this.” As a result, the recording sessions moved to England in mid April. It was at this point that Paul provided Ringo with the song “Six O’clock” on which Paul played piano and he and Linda sang backing vocals. Paul also added the kazoo (mouth sax) solo to “You’re Sixteen” as well as arranging the strings and flute accompaniment.

Although at no time were all four former Beatles present in the same studio at the same time, the spirit of co-operation evidenced on the Ringo album did much to dissipate the disappointment felt by many fans after the hard feelings of the Beatles’ breakup. Bob Woffinden stated in The Beatles Apart, that, “buoyed by the achievement he felt in bringing them all together, Ringo proceeded to make a magnificent album. In a way, it was a tribute to his particular genius--his eternal good nature and equanimity. People must have felt so squalid quarreling in his presence.”

John, George, and Paul were not the only artists who lent their time and talents to the project. The cast of heavy-weight players includes: Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Steve Crooper, Harry Nilsson, Jim Keltner, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Marc Bolan, Klaus Voorman, and Vini Poncia.

As Nicholas Shaffner noted in Beatles Forever, “The Starr of the show himself might have gotten lost in the mix, but the cast of thousands was apparently sympathetic enough to complement rather than eclipse, the happy-go-lucky personality that glows through the songs and gives the LP some cohesiveness. This aside from the other Beatles’s involvement, was the key to the record’s success.”

Ringo, released on November 2, 1973 in the United States and on November 9 in Great Britain, remained on the charts for thirty-seven weeks. It was in the top ten for eight weeks and peaked at Billboard at number two. It reached number one on Cashbox and Record World.

The original album consisted of ten songs: “I’m the Greatest,” “Have You Seen My Baby”/ “Hold On,” “Photograph,” “Sunshine Life For Me(Sail Away Raymond),” “You’re Sixteen,” “Oh My My,” “Step Lightly,” “Six O’Clock,” “Devil Woman,” and “You and Me(Babe.)” When the CD version of Ringo was released in 1991, three more Starkey compositions were added as bonus tracks. These were: “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Early 1970,” and “Down and Out.” Both the LP and the CD retain Sgt. Pepperish cover painting by Tim Bruckner as well as the twenty-four page lyric booklet complete with lithographs by Klaus Voorman.

The album produced three hit singles for Ringo. “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen” both reached number one while “Oh My My” reached number five.

Many fans feel that Ringo is Ringo’s all time best album. It was certainly the most successful. Rolling Stone described the album as “a document of a good time in the making.” When the CD was released, Q Magazine described Ringo as “A testament to having the right friends, but it’s also a damn near classic.” Vox Magazine opined that , “The album has all the hallmark charm of Ringo, the man.” The Beatlefan Magazine review stated, ”Ringo is still a delightful, accessible, melodic, extremely well played collection of pop-rock tunes... hearing it in context is like getting reacquainted with an old friend.” The album and it’s singles were such a success that John Lennon was moved to send his former drummer a telegram stating, “Congratulations. How dare you! And can you write me a hit record.”


 

Fans Reviews

Every now and then, everything just turns out right, even for an ex-Beatle.  Richard Perry wanted to make a Beatles album (he'd practiced on Nilsson), and Ringo wanted hits (he'd practiced, too).  They both got their wish.  Who would have thought at this stage of the game (even with his previous singles), that Ringo could be the most successful ex-Beatle with an amazing string of 7 top 10 hits.  Maybe that didn't last, but this has.  With every good reason.  Great performances, great production, excellent artwork (the only thing the CD misses is the label), and not a weak song.  Who didn't love Ringo at the time, and what's not to love?  If John Lennon says Ringo's the greatest, believe him.  And while this is not a concept album, per se, there is an interesting flow.  We start out with the wife telling him he's great, then move to "Have You Seen My Baby" where she thinks the milkman's even better.  By "Photograph" she's gone for good.  (Seemingly a very personal song for both Ringo and George, though neither has ever said so.  The first in a long series of Ringo's depressorama songs, but it just sounded good on
the radio.  As Ringo put it in concert recently, the only song that could follow "Whiter Shade Of Pale".)  Then Ringo's ready to sail away from his funk in "Sunshine Life For Me".  Apparently, the sunshine life includes sixteen year old girls (always found at the All Starr concerts).  Oh my my!  (And why has Ringo never done this in concert?  What's a sax player for, anyway?)  After all the boogieing and sliding, it's time to stop moving so fast with "Step Lightly".  (Did Paul loan him the clarinets?)  Hey, it's six o'clock in the morning, already.  Time to go to bed.  And who should be there, but devil woman, herself.  Rather than be rude, it's best to send everyone home with "You And Me (Babe)."  (And here's another clue for you all.  If you can't figure out who "your friend and mine" in "Steel And Glass" is never bothered listening to the closing credits here.)  The only gripe about the bonus tracks might be that serve to make "Blast From Your Past" obsolete.  OK, maybe that's not a gripe.  For anyone who thinks George remove the Hare Krishnas from his vocal demo of "It Don't Easy", listen again.  "Early 1970"  is great fun and may have carved the ex-Beatles charactures in stone (or vinyl).  (And that's "cookies" as in Cookie Monster, as in John's viewing habits.)  And from the sound of it the only one "Down And Out" was Richard Perry from the producer's booth.  A throwaway worth keeping.  For better of worse, this was the template for most of Ringo's future albums.  But if anyone thinks anything less of this for being a Ringo album, take a good look at any random classic album.  "Dark Side Of The Moon"?  A great listening experience.  Not many songs, though.  "Nevermind"?  Started an already dead revolution.  Half of it is crap.  "Ringo"?  What's not to love?
~ Steven B. Topping


I've always gotten a kick out of the "Ringo" album because of its light-hearted moods. It came out during a time when life was not exactly being kind to me, when bad luck was the only luck I knew. The album lifted my spirits and gave me hope. I figured if Ringo could do something meaningful with his life after the breakup of the Beatles, how could I do anything less. And "Oh My My" made me laugh out loud -- and it still does.

I give this album a 10.

~ Hank C.


I think "Ringo" is one of the most entertaining Ringo albums he made. My
top three songs are "Sunshine Life", "Oh, My My" and "Early 1970". I give
this album a 9. The majority of the songs are well written and echo Ringo's
sentimental nature. "Early 1970" is my favorite because of the way he
describes his relationships with the other lads. It is so sweet and so cute.
~ Emily Henvey


I really like the album of "Ringo". It may just be that I am partial
to it because it is the first vinyl record I ever got (from a friend
after months of begging) and I love to collect records. It may also
be because I have two singles from the album (again on vinyl): Early
1970 and You're 16, two of my favorite songs.

Anyway, the fact remains that it is one of his best and it has great
songs contributed to by great artists and it is my alltime favorite
Solo-Ringo album!!!!
I also love how the cover has illustrations and if you look closely
you can see Paul and Linda in overalls (they're farmers you know) with
Martha the sheepdog, George, and John and Yoko. Yoko is in a bag and
I think it's really funny. GREAT ALBUM FOR THE MONTH!!!
~ Mara W.


I am a HUGE Ringo fan and own all the Beatles cd, but sadly I only have two
Ringo cds and one of them just happens to be "Ringo", this month's album. I
think it has great songs! A great combination of old and (at that time) new.
His voice makes every song one of my favorites.

~ RingosGirl*


Ringo Starr's first rock album turned out to be one of the classics of the classic rock era. It would have been historically important and worth buying simply because of the Beatles reunion of sorts, with newly written songs from not only Ringo, but also John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, but it was also filled with some great and memorable tunes. George and Ringo's collaborations are very impressive. I love their singing on "Sunshine Life For Me," and together they wrote what is, in my opinion, the album's best song, the sentimental "Photograph," a number one hit for Ringo. There isn't a bad song in this collection. "Have You Seen My Baby" is very catchy, and "You're Sixteen" sounds like a song that was meant for Ringo to sing. I also like Paul's ballad "Six O'Clock," on which I think Ringo sounds great.
And only Ringo Starr would verbally thank everyone involved with making the record, as well as his fans listening, which just shows what a genuinely nice guy he is. I would rate the album a 9 on its own merit, but I would give the cd version with the three bonus songs a 10. "It Don't Come Easy" is probably the best song of Ringo's solo career and a truly great rocker, and one of the other bonus tracks, "Early 1970," expresses the story of the members of the greatest band the world has ever known and Ringo's desire to again play with his former bandmates, a wish that everyone hoped would come true.
~ Travis Truitt


Although I haven't played it since 1992 (my first All-Starr concert), Ringo still contains the songs I would hope to hear Rihgo play live. Of course, he's not leaving the stage alive if he doesn't play You're 16 or Photograph. But I would have love to seen the Jack Bruce/ Peter Frampton incarnation back him on Devil Woman or 6 O'Clock.
Sunshine Life... has always been a guilty fave of mine. While others tell me it's a throwaway track, to me it defines the type of versatility that Ringo's charisma gives to a song to lend credibility. Also I'd love to hear Harrison's demo version of the song (probably in the Dark Horse sessions).
Yes, Ringo is a 10. Very listenable. Always interesting. And an under-rated road tunes album!

~ D. A. Bush


Ringo deserves a 10 on The Ringometer! It's a fabulous album. Ringo sounds fantastic. The songs are super and fit him perfectly -- especially the songs custom-made for him by John, Paul and George. The fact that each of the former Beatles was willing to help out on the project is not the only thing that makes this album special. This album is fun with a Capital F. It's one of the best solo Betle efforts and certainly one of Ring's greatest achievements.

~ William Routh


Ringo's 1973 Album "RINGO", is nothing short of fantastic. This reord almost is a Beatles record on a few tracks. One can see what they could have done together had they wanted to. RINGO ranks as one of the best Beatle solo LP's, alongside Imagine, All Things Must Pass, and Band On The Run. All in all, truly a "Fab" disc.

~ P. Sollar / San Mateo, CA

Geat, great great great 10 , 10 10 10 10
Raul Antonio of Brazil


"RINGO"---  one of the best album that has ever been made in entire history of rock and roll! I have known this album for 25 years and always enjoy listening it.I think, after "Beatles'' finished playing together only Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr could have created perfectly sounding music.

~ Lev Vershinin.


   The second solo Ringo album I heard. I've got the mfp re-release, and the fancy one with the book too, which I spent two hours bending the rusted staples back into! Track by track: I'm The Greatest is not only a great song, but also an historical document showing which Beatles were still friends at the time! Photograph is a brilliant song too - one of my very
favourite, and You're Sixteen is great too. Oh My My is a lark, and.... sod it! The whole album is really excellent! The worst song is probably Sunshine
Life For Me, which is very good still. I haven't heard the CD reissue, but I believe it's got extra tracks on it. Is it Don't Come Easy? If so, then it doesn't really fit on the album, but it's a pretty good song too! 8.5/10

~ Stephen Bray
Liverpool, England


"Ringo"  was one of the very first albums I ever owned.  It's since been misplaced and I've been beating myself up over that one for a long time!  I think this album is probably one of my all-time favorites and I most definately rate it a BIG 10! The artwork in the book is great, the songs are great - how could it be anything less? There aren't too many albums that a person can actually say that every song is good on, but this is one you can!                                                                                     ~ Mel


It just breaks my heart that we see here how great Ringo can be up front but only when the planets line up in a certain way.

What makes a great album?  Great songs perfomed greatly by great musicians and recorded (greatly).

Never really hit me at a personal level though.  Hmph.

~ Jeff Scott
Toronto


I have almost all of Ringo's albums, and when I think of my most favorite, "Ringo" comes to mind!  I'd definitely give it a 10 on your scale!!  It helped keep me 'up' while growing up :)  The second running would have to be "Goodnight Vienna" which also continued the 'up' feel!
 
I have to add that I'm so happy for Ringo that he's dried out and continues his musical career & friendships! Go Ringo!!
~ Victoria Bossman


Ringo is true brillance ..... still is. The record had the spirit of any Beatle record! Why ... it was! Time. If you can find it ... the cassette version of the McCartney's " Six O' Clock " is much longer than the albums track, with our Starr whak'in a way on his kit! Lennon's "I'm The Greatest"  .... is a tribute to who is the real star. I could  go .. on and .. on and on!
My favorite track on Ringo ...  just dug it out the other night  is "You And Me (Babe)". Ringo is at ease ... sing'in from his star,  George plays  slide on this cut so mercefully, wish he'd listen to it again too!
However for all of you Starketmaniacs out there .... the best cut of the whole session to me is the flop side of "Photograph" 45 ... it's call "Down And Out" . It's Nastey, it was France!

~ Dirk Firman


 

 

Return to The Ringo Home Page.

This page was last updated Oct. 20, 1998.