Sunday, 3 January 2016

THE SOLO YEARS: "RINGO" (1973)

“Ringo” is the third studio album by Ringo Starr, released in 1973 on Apple Records.




The “Ringo” album is noted for being the only solo album by an ex-Beatle that has all members of The Beatles appear on it.  Before this album, Ringo had played on both John and George’s first solo albums. George, in turn, had played on John’s second album. But then all four Beatles subsequently contributed to different parts of Ringo’s 1973 release with John, George and Paul all writing a song as well as performing.

The album’s producer Richard Perry, recalled the session for “I’m the Greatest”,

“Just like that; no planning. The three ex-Beatles recorded one of John’s songs. Everyone in the room was just gleaming … it’s such a universal gleam with The Beatles”
The first song features 3 Beatles sans Paul but has one of the 5th Beatles on organ Billy Preston. Here are the album credits for songs featuring at least 2 Beatles.



“I’m the Greatest” (written by: John Lennon) – 3:21

  • Ringo Starr – lead vocal, drums
  • John Lennon – piano, harmony vocal
  • George Harrison – electric guitars
  • Billy Preston – organ




“Photograph” (written by: George Harrison, Starkey) – 3:56

  • Ringo Starr – lead vocal, drums
  • George Harrison – harmony vocal, 12-string acoustic guitar

 

“Six O’Clock” (written by: P. McCartney/L. McCartney) – 4:06

  • Ringo Starr – lead vocal, drums
  • Paul McCartney – piano, synthesizer, string and flute arrangements, backing vocal
  • Linda McCartney – backing vocal

* Paul McCartney also played the kazoo the song “You’re Sixteen”.

There were a few other 3 Beatle collaborations after the “Ringo” album.  In 1981, Ringo and Paul joined George for his 1981 John tribute song, “All Those Years Ago.”  Then, all three joined forces again and finished a couple of leftover John demos (Free as a Bird & Real Love) in the ’90s as part of the ‘Anthology’ series.




Ringo, John and George gathered in L.A. on March 12, 1973, along with long-time Beatle Buddies Billy Preston (a sideman on 1970’s ‘Let It Be’) and Klaus Voormann (who’d done the cover art for 1966’s ‘Revolver’), to record the Lennon-composed deep album cut ‘I’m The Greatest.’
“We were like big girls again,” Ringo told Bill Minkin in 1977. “We were all looking at each other smiling. We hadn’t played together in four years. We were just smiling while we were playing. It was nice.”

Elsewhere, producer Richard Perry was afforded the sideman talents of Harry Nilsson, T Rex’s Marc Bolan, Rolling Stones sideman Nicky Hopkins, Motown legend Martha Reeves, Steve Cropper of Booker T. and the MGs fame — and four of the five members of the Band, including Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson. But make no mistake. This album was then, and is now, best known for having provided fans a rare chance to hear the Beatles together on one album following their acrimonious 1970 breakup.

Though the former bandmates got together in pairs on several other occasions, the only other time this many Beatles worked together in a recording session was in the 1990s-era ‘Anthology’ period, when Ringo, George and Paul collaborated to finish some of the late Lennon’s songs.
Later during the sessions, Ringo flew to London, where Paul and Linda joined in on Paul’s ‘Six O’Clock,’ which had been written specifically for this project. Paul also appeared on ‘You’re Sixteen.’ George, meanwhile, also sat in on ‘Sunshine Life for Me,’ ‘Photograph,’ and ‘You and Me (Babe)’ — the last two of which he co-wrote.

The fact that Ringo had yet to record a proper pop album as a solo artist only added to the interest in this album, which followed discs focusing on country music and songbook classics. Ringo has only had three gold singles, and two of them emerged from ‘Ringo’ — the ’73 U.S. chartoppers ‘Photograph’ and ‘You’re Sixteen.’ ‘Oh My My,’ which featured Reeves and Merry Clayton (best known for her work on the Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’), also went to the Top 5.




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