Ringo gets by with a little help from his memories.

We have been on a Ringo kick all summer.  My wife can handle Beatles being played all the time.  She can also handle John and Paul’s solo work on constant rotation.  I think she draws the line at Ringo.  I have tried to distill my favorite Ringo tracks to a single disc, and I haven’t managed to do that.  I think I can get it down to a two-disc greatest.  I guess that’s why I am so excited for this Ringo greatest-hits to come out.

It looks like this package has been handled with care and thought.  If you haven’t spent any considerable time with Ringo’s back catalog, I highly recommend investing the time.  I think you will be plesantly surprised with it.  We can’t wait to hear the remasters on the new disc, and to see some of the videos on the DVD.

Here’s a tidbit of the package from a Ringo press release:

To be released physically in CD and Collector’s Edition CD/DVD packages and digitally, PHOTOGRAPH: The Very Best Of Ringo Starr presents 20 standout Starr tracks, including seven Top 10 Pop hits, released between 1970 and 2005 with Capitol, Atlantic, Mercury, Boardwalk, Private Music and Koch. The Collector’s Edition adds seven never before released film and video clips on DVD, including original promotional films for “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Sentimental Journey,” “Back Off Boogaloo,” among others, and the music video for “Act Naturally” (with Buck Owens).

1. Photograph (1973)
2. It Don’t Come Easy (1971)
3. You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine) (1973)
4. Back Off Boogaloo (1972)
5. I’m The Greatest (1973)
6. Oh My My (1973)
7. Only You (And You Alone) (1974)
8. Beaucoups Of Blues (1970)
9. Early 1970 (1971)
10. Snookeroo (1974)
11. The No-No Song (1974)
12. (It’s All Down To) Goodnight Vienna (1974)
13. Hey Baby (1976)
14. Weight Of The World (1993)
15. A Dose Of Rock ‘N’ Roll (1976)
16. King Of Broken Hearts (1998)
17. Never Without You (2003)
18. Act Naturally (with Buck Owens) (1989)
19. Wrack My Brain (1981)
20. Fading In and Fading Out (2005)

DVD Contents:
Sentimental Journey (1970 promotional film)
It Don’t Come Easy (1971promotional film)
Back Off Boogaloo (1972 promotional film)
You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine) (1973 promotional film)
Only You (And You Alone) (1974 promotional film)
Act Naturally (with Buck Owens) (1989 ? music video)
Goodnight Vienna (1974 ? promotional film for album)

It looks to be nothing short of impressive.

Here’s what we’ve read.

HE’S on the stairs,” calls a minder. “He’s on his way.”

But there is no royal entrance. Instead, a man in shades lopes in with a wave and a “hullo, everybody”. The voice is Liverpudlian, laced with LA.

He wears jeans, blue-and-white striped shirt and a crumpled jacket. At 67, he is trim and in good nick, even if his short hair is suspiciously brown.

A bit of bling – a row of earrings, gold on one finger and a necklace – is the one flourish. The white plastic Peace and Love bracelet he wears he designed himself. He is simply Ringo.

A Dutch journalist opens by confessing she was “a bit shocked” by the cover photo of the new album. It shows a bearded man in mirror sunglasses looking like a dodgy cop from a ’70s TV show.

“Ah, you don’t like it?” he asks, unfussed. “I mean it says everything, it is me, it’s got stars in the glasses, you know what I mean? It’s right there in my name.”

Before the interview, EMI emailed a “friendly reminder that this is an interview for Ringo Starr’s Best Of album and not the Beatles”. Whatever you do, don’t mention the Four.

But asked why so many songs on the album are from the ’70s, he replies: “Well, they were my hits. In the ’70s I was trying to find my feet. I had just finished with that band I was in …”

At once the futility of EMI’s request is clear. There is no escaping that band he was in. And no one knows it more than him.

After the break-up, he writes in a note to the album, he loved being with Lennon because only another Beatle could understand what being a Beatle was like: the looks people gave “like you weren’t human”.

Ringo was famously the happy, normal Beatle who, when the band went on a consciousness-expansion visit to India, took his own food from England. All the more striking, then, is the note of wistfulness on his new album, Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr.

It features 20 songs written over 34 years, starting with a 1971 single produced by George Harrison, It Don’t Come Easy, and culminating in the poignant Never Without You, a 2003 song for George, who had died two years before.

The music is pleasant in the singalong way that Ringo made his own. More memorable are the liner notes and the who’s who of people who played with him, many of whom are dead. The album is an ode to friends and a lament for their loss.

“It was always my pleasure to hang out with John,” he writes in a note for Goodnight Vienna, which Lennon wrote in 1974. He wrote Never Without You because “I wanted to express my love for him” (Harrison).

Harry Nilsson, Marc Bolan, Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Pete Drake, Billy Preston, Buck Owens – they all had a hand in the record. Ringo says he has no idea why so many people liked to write for him and play with him.

“In the ’70s I was in LA and all these players were coming into the studio, that was all. Dr John comes over and it was like, ‘Oh, come on in, Mac, we’re doing a record.’ I am the sort of musician who likes to play with other musicians. I don’t like playing on my own.”

But Lennon, Harrison, Bolan, Preston, Nilsson, Drake and Owens are gone. The man who got by with a little help from his friends has lost plenty of them.

Billy Preston? “I saw him the day before he went into the coma.” John and George? “The thing is, I would prefer I was talking about them and they were in the next room, but they’re not. That’s just how it is. They were really good friends of mine.”

The cliche that Ringo is the luckiest man who ever lived – who fell into the Beatles, married a Bond girl and moved to Monte Carlo – was always glib, and unfair on his drumming. He has had his sorrows, though he doesn’t plan to analyse them in the press.

“The ’80s went downhill for me because of drugs and alcohol.” How did he get out of it? “I stopped taking drugs and alcohol.”

Now, though, life is “great”. He and his wife, actress Barbara Bach, move between homes in Monte Carlo, LA, Chelsea in London and a mansion in Surrey. And, he points out with pride, his oldest son, Zak, plays drums with The Who and Oasis.

He says he is loving music again: playing and listening. One song from the ’70s has the mildest of digs at Paul: Ringo doesn’t do venom. So how does he get on with Paul now? “Really, really good,” he enthuses. “We talk on the phone, we hook up four or five times a year.”

What do they talk about? “Oh, the old days – get off!” He laughs. “We talk about now! We have family, we have kids. That’s how it is.”

And that’s how he was. “Write about the music, not so much about me,” he says. “And no matter what you choose, choose love. It’s like, ‘Oh God, there he goes again’, but that’s how I feel. I hope that one day, everyone on the planet will go for one second ‘Peace and love’. That’s my dream.”

He flashes a peace sign. Then he laughs again as we sceptical journalists line up for an autograph.

Source: The Age (Australia)


4 Responses

  1. Does anybody have any idea at all when The Beatles film “Let It Be” will eventually appear on DVD?

    It was being remastered for DVD in 2002, but nothing has happened since.


    R Elsner.

  2. The last I heard of the project was a Geoff Emerick statement while he was plugging his book. He said something to the effect that while editing the film, concerned parties thought it revieled too much of the bitterness between the Fabs and the project has been shelved. It probably would have re-kindled all that mess from January 1969 just when LOVE was pushing the positive spin on Beatle music in Vegas.
    I hope someone picks it up soon.

    Joe F

  3. […] of rock ’n’ roll The Ringo PR machine is headed into a higher gear.  It was only but a few days ago that we were treated to an interview with our beloved Ringo Starr.  Here we have yet another […]

  4. photograph is a fine greatest hits…i just wish in my car and la de da were on it,,,lol….but it is great ringo gets his due………

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