Sunday, July 21, 2024

Ringo Starr’s Landmark Album, “Ringo!” Reunited the Beatles 50 Years Ago Today for the First Time: Read All About It


Fifty years ago today, Ringo Starr released his landmark album, “Ringo!” The album, produced b Richard Perry, was the first reunion of the Beatles after their break up in 1970. George Harrison wrote the song, “Photograph.” John Lennon wrote “I’m the Greatest,” Paul McCartney gave Ringo “Six O’Clock.” They all played and participated.

Now that “Now and Then” is out today, it’s important to look back at that first coming together.

Perry writes about in his memoir, “Cloud Nine.”

Perry remembers being in the studio just as John was finishing up “I’m the Greatest,” custom written for Ringo with a reference to Billy Shears. George’s assistant and famous Beatles wrangler Mal Evans was on the phone.

from the book:

“We hear there’s a session going on,” Mal said.

“Yes Mal there is.”
“Well, is it OK if George comes down?”

I said, “Would you hold on a minute, Mal?” As I started to walk from the control
room back out to the studio, I thought to myself, “You…Richard Perry…are about to ask JOHN LENNON…if it’s okay for GEORGE HARRISON to come down, to play guitar on a record that you’re producing with RINGO STARR—TAKE ME LORD!”

When I asked John he replied, “Fuckin’ hell, tell him to get down here and help us
finish the song!”

About twenty minutes later, we were running it down for the first time with the
band. It was just Ringo on drums, John on piano, Klaus on bass, and Billy Preston
on organ. George entered through the back door, with no fanfare. He didn’t want to
interrupt the run-through. He was carrying a small amp and his guitar; he quietly
plugged them in and started to play the quintessential Beatle guitar part, even
though he had barely heard the song. His guitar not only added the final element to
the track, but it took it to another level. Now it really sounded like a track that
belonged on Abbey Road.

One of the reasons I believe that the chemistry was so
effortless, was that they felt my appreciation of their talent. I was not in awe, for I
had been through the gristmill with Barbra [Streisand], Carly [Simon], and [Harry] Nilsson, and I was very comfortable in my role as creative ringmaster (no pun intended). As I looked around the room, I realized that I was at the very epicenter of the spiritual and
musical quest I had dreamed of for so many years. With three Beatles playing
together, it was the closest to a Beatles reunion the world would ever see!”

“Ringo!” remains a desert island disc, with hits “Photograph,” “You’re Sixteen,” and “Oh My My.”

Happy anniversary!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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