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Ringo Starr’s 3rd Album Had A Little Help from His Friends

Updated on July 19, 2020
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I am no musician, but I know what I like. I write about songs that deserve to be played forever.

The album Ringo was released November 2, 1973. I had loved Ringo’s songs, but for some reason never got his albums. I recently changed my mind and started my collection of his works and was pleasantly surprised. Ringo has released some great albums, and I am glad I gave him a chance.

Ringo was Starr’s 3rd album. This album had his former bandmates providing songs, playing on the album, and singing too. It was unfortunate that John, Paul, George and Ringo weren’t at the studio at the same time. It could have brought about that ultimate Beatle’s reunion.

Let us look at this album and the reason why it reached Number7on the UK Album Charts and Number 2 on the US Billboard 200.

Songs From Ringo

1. “I’m the Greatest”

2. “Have You Seen My Baby”

3. “Photograph”

4. “Sunshine Life for Me” (Sailaway Raymond)

5. “You’re Sixteen”

6. “Oh My My”

7. “Step LIghtly”

8 “Six O’ Clock”

9. “Devil Woman”

10. “You and Me (Babe)”

11. “It Don’t Come Easy”

12. “Early 1970”

13. “Down and Out”

1. “I’m the Greatest”

John Lennon wrote this song in 1970 after watching the movie he was in “A Hard Day’s Night”. He wrote it as a form of sarcasm, but he never recorded it because he thought he would catch flak from it. Ringo had asked his former bandmates for songs they could give him for the album. John decided to give this song to Ringo.

According to ShowBizCheatSheets.coml: John actually felt Ringo was a very talented and underrated musician and actor. In a 1980 interview, John discussed his band-mates, saying “I don’t know what he would have ended up as, but whatever that spark is in Ringo that we all know but can’t put our finger on…whether it is acting, drumming or singing, I don’t know…there is something in him that is projectable and he would have surfaced with or without the Beatles. Ringo is a d*mn good drummer. He is not technically good, but I think Ringo’s drumming is underrated the same way Paul’s bass playing is underrated…I think Paul and Ringo stand up with any of the rock musicians.”

Muhammad Ali used the phrase “I am The Greatest” and John got his idea for the song from that too.

It is hard to imagine John singing the song after hearing Ringo do it. Ringo sings the song without ego; it is as if he surprised to hear all the compliments, he gets from various people mentioned in the song. The song proceeds and Ringo’s vocals get stronger as if his confidence is mounting after each verse. The song.

The song bounces in and keeps it up. You hear a jangling guitar from George Harrison, he played slide guitar as well, Ringo gave some steady drumming, John Lennon did backing vocals and piano, Billy Preston played the electric piano and organ, Klaus Voorman played bass.

This song is a great way to set the tone for the album.

"When I was a little boy,

Way back home in Liverpool,
My mama told me, I was great.

Then when I was a teenager,
I knew that I had got something going,
All my friends told me I was great."

2. “Have You Seen My Baby”

Randy Newman wrote this song. It came from his album 12 Songs back in 1970. It is a rollicking early sounding rock and roll song. It could have come right off the John Lennon album Rock and Roll. Ringo appreciates those early rock and roll songs just like his former bandmates and he sings the song with gusto.

You have the Saxaphone, boogey-woogie piano, electric guitar, and Ringo playing a steady beat. All the instruments blend with Ringo’s voice to give the listener rocking tune to nod your head or dance to it.

"Have you seen my baby
On the avenue?
You know she's driving me crazy
With the funny things she do
I seen her with the milkman
Ridin' down the street
When you're through with my baby, milkman
Send her home to me
Hold on, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on "

3. “Photograph”

This song was written by Ringo and George Harrison when they were on a yacht in the south of France in 1971. They were on the yacht after attending Mick Jaggar’s wedding. Patty Boyd, George’s wife, and Maureen, Ringo’s wife, were there as well. Cilla Black was also on board. Cilla wanted to record the song according to her autobiography, Step Inside Love. Ringo told her, "No, it's too bloody good for you. I'm having it myself.” He was wise to keep it because this song exploded on the charts becoming an international hit. George probably regretted not recording it himself.

George played the 12-string acoustic guitar and did backup vocals, Bobby Keys played the tenor saxophone, and Nicky Hopkins played a killer piano.

This song is emotional with Ringo only left with a photograph of his lost love and realizing he won’t be getting back together with her. The melody written by Harrison is superb. Ringo sings with feeling and you can feel his pain of not getting his love back. The song sounds like early rock and roll, with a Spector feel, as well as a current vibe. Ringo loved to take photos, so it is neat they built a song around the theme. This song is timeless.

"Every time I see your face
It reminds me of the places we used to go
But all I've got is a photograph
And I realize you're not coming back anymore

I thought I'd make it
The day you went away
But I can't make it
'Til you come home again to stay "

4. “Sunshine Life for Me” (Sailaway Raymond)

his song was written by George Harrison in 1971. George was with Donovan in Ireland and you can hear the Irish influences in the song. The Beatles had just broken up, but this song is filled with optimism and a happy spirit.

It is a great song for Ringo to do since he was always found of country music. George Harrison recalls in I, Me, Mine that it was "a fun session and a good track". Anyone listening could tell the spirits in the studio were up recording this song.

George played electric guitar and did backing vocals while Klaus played the standup bass.



5. “You’re Sixteen”

The Sherman Brothers wrote this rockabilly song for Johnny Burnette and he had the song go to number 8 in 1960.

This song is rollicking and fun. Who couldn’t like it? It was a number 1 hit for Ringo and rightly so. The song begins in true 1950’s rock and roll with a piano playing prominently throughout. Ringo sings it with bravado letting everyone know this girl is his. There is also a vocal solo by Paul McCartney who keeps the song going on in his melodic way. It is a song that never gets old.

Harry Nilsson did backup vocals, and Nicky Hopkins played his heart out on the piano. Paul McCartney is listed playing the mouth sax solo.

"You come on like a dream, peaches and cream
Lips like strawberry wine
You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine

You're all ribbons and curls, ooh, what a girl
Eyes that sparkle and shine
You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine"

6. “Oh My My”

his song is written by Ringo Starr and it reached number 5 in the United States and Canada. Anytime a piano starts a song I get hooked and this one begins it beautifully. Ringo is back in his boogie woogie groove with this song. It is a song more about the feel of the song rather than the lyric and this one will have you moving.

The song is humorous and has a hook.

Ringo played drums as well as Keltner, piano and organ was done by the great Billy Preston, the sax solo was done by Tom Scott and the backing vocals were done by Martha Reeves, Merry Clayton, and friends who gave the song soul.

"phoned up my doctor
To see what's the matter
He said come on over,
I said do I have to?
My knees started shakin'
My wrist started achin'
When my doctor said to me

Oh my my, oh my my,
Can you boogie, can you slide
Oh my my, oh my my,
You can boogie, if you try
Oh my my, oh my my,
It's guaranteed to keep you alive"

7. “Step Lightly”

This song was written by Ringo and it feels a little like a Paul McCartney song. It is a slower song, but it works, there is a 20’s- 30’s sound to it with the clarinet, and in the middle of the song there is even some tap dancing going on.

It isn’t the most memorable song, but it still fits on the album.

“Step lightly,
You're movin' too fast.
Take your time, boy,
Soon the pain will pass.
In the meantime,
You gotta find yourself a love
That's gonna last.

Step lightly,
Things will work out fine.
Nice and easy,
All it takes is time.
Please, believe me,
I wish this song was yours instead of mine.”

8 “Six O’ Clock”

Paul McCartney contributed this song to Ringo’s album. It is a song that reminds me of “Step Lightly”.

I don’t feel like Paul gave Ringo a song that George did with “Photograph”, but it is a song that grows on you with repeated listening. There are some interesting parts of the song when the synthesizer is combined with the piano. It is a mellow song that has the melody more memorable than the lyrics, but the repeated lyrics in places help build the feel of how sorry the singer is to not treat his love the way she should be treated.

Paul played piano and synthesizers. Paul and Linda also sang backup vocals for the song.

“Six o'clock in the morning, you've just gone to sleep,
I wipe a tear from my eye.
It can't be the kind of company i keep,
That keeps me askin', you keep me askin',
You keep me wond'rin' why.

I don't treat you like i'd like to treat you,
Ev'ry planet in the sky is in your eyes,
But i don't treat you like i,
No, i don't treat you like i,
No, i don't treat you like i should.”

9. “Devil Woman”

This song was written by Ringo Starr and Vini Poncia. The song is energized, and Ringo is ready right off the bat with his drum playing and singing. The song has all the right ingredients with the saxophone, drums, and other horn arrangements. There are elements that remind me of other songs, but it all works great. There is a deep yeah in the song that reminds me of Sha Na Na and in the lyrics, there is a nod to the White Album with the name Sexy Sadie being given to the lady of the song. You can just see Ringo playing this song at his concerts and having a blast.

Everytime I see you walkin' down the street,
I say, you're the kind of woman I just gotta meet.
You look so good and you look so fine
And one of these days I'm gonna make you mine.

Your eyes are green and your legs are long,
And if I'm gonna get you, well, I gotta be strong.
But you're like the devil with horns in your head,
The only way I'll get you is to get you in bed.

10. “You and Me (Babe)”

This song was written by George Harrison and M. Evans. The song is saying farewell whether it be to a love he must leave, or to an audience he has just played to. The song is like peeking into the life of a rock star and how things never last. It is a great addition to the album.

George plays excellently on the song. Ringo puts feeling into the lyrics. George knew how to write just the right song for Ringo. Ringo ends the song speaking and thanking everyone for their help on the album I am glad they put it on the track.

"For me and you, babe, it's the end of our date,
Me and the band, babe, all thought it was great,
To entertain you,
But it's getting late and it's time to leave.

Now I want to tell you the pleasure really was mine.
Yes, I had a good time, singing and drinking some wine.
And when the sun sets in the sky
And you close your weary eyes,
I'll be in some night-club, getting high, that's no lie."

11. “It Don’t Come Easy”

Ringo Starr wrote this song and it is fantastic. The first song I remember hearing on the radio as a solo artist.

George Harrison was a great friend to Ringo, and he helped Ringo with this song a lot though he gave the credit of the song to Ringo. The guitars and the style should be a clue as to who provided Ringo with the song. Ringo stated on the show Storytellers that George wanted it to be a song about God, when Ringo protested George then suggested Hare Krishna, Ringo didn’t go for that either. George then said how about peace and Ringo said they agreed after that.

George provided the guitars on the song, and Gary Wright played on the piano. It is a song that grooves. The song is pure perfection.

"I don't ask for much, I only want your trust
And you know it don't come easy
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time
And you know it don't come easy

Peace, remember peace is how we make it
Here within your reach
If you're big enough to take it "

12. “Early 1970”

Ringo Starr wrote this look back in time. It feels like watching a video though you are only hearing it. Ringo sings about his former Beatle mates. First, he sings about Paul living on a farm with his new family. He wonders if Paul will sing with him when he comes into his town. It was at this time when relations were a bit on the cool side with Paul hiring a lawyer and then Ringo, George and John hiring another lawyer to fight over the money the group made. Ringo isn’t sure Paul is up to seeing him.

Next Ringo sings about John lying in bed and watching tv with Yoko by his side. Ringo knows that John will play with him when he gets to Ringo’s town.

Ringo then sings about George with his wife Patti. He states George is a long haired crossed legged guitar player. HIs wife Patti is getting flowers for his soup. He has a 40-acre house he never sees because he is away playing shows.

Ringo then ends with his lack of skills on guitar, bass, and piano.

Ringo is holding up a white flag wanting to see all his friends and have good times with them.

The song has a rock and country sound to it. It is a perfect time capsule song.

Ringo plays drums, acoustic guitar, dolbo, standup bass, and piano fill and backing vocals

George plays electric guitars, slide guitar and piano fills

Klaus plays bass

“Lives on a farm, got plenty of charm, beep, beep.
He's got no cows but he's sure got a whole lotta sheep.
And brand new wife and a family,
And when he comes to town,
I wonder if he'll play with me.

Laying in bed, watching tv, cookie!
With his mama by his side, she's japanese.
They scream and they cried, now they're free,
And when he comes to town,
I know he's gonna play with me.”

13. “Down and Out”

This is the last song on the Ringo album, and it is written by Ringo Starr

Ringo is back to his early rocking roots with the 50’s sounds coming through. It is a song that grooves with the piano, sax, slide guitar, and Ringo’s drums for good measure. A wonderful way to end the album.

“Looked at the sky, what did I see?
I saw someone looking at me.
And I'm down and out, down and out,
Well, I'm down, so down, down and out.

Looked in the fire, what did I see?
I saw someone looking at me.
And I'm down and out, down and out,
Well, I'm down, so down, down and out.”

Ringo did well with this album of his. He did get by with a little help from his friends. It was a great collaboration. Ringo like George, John, and Paul has a talent with music, and he knows how to get the people together to help him create the perfect album, and this album is one of them.


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