Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ringo's Solo Albums

I've been listening to Ringo's solo catalog lately.

I remember once a major Beatle fan once told me that he bought all the solo stuff except Ringo's albums. He may have bought the most popular one at the time, Ringo, because it was a major deal. The "other" three all contributed which was a first back then in '73.

But the other albums didn't interest him, and I can understand why. Ringo's role in the Beatles was, at the time, considered a minor one. He was good in the movies, and his drumming was decent, but his solo numbers were never very interesting. The one exception for me would be "With a Little Help From My Friends", which is by far his best number and perfectly suited to his style and personality.

Even "Yellow Submarine", which was a major hit, is one of my least favorite Beatle numbers. Yes, he added to the variety of a Beatles' album, which was always one of their strengths, but nobody was clamoring for an album of Ringo songs.

But I do like some of his LPs quite a bit. And if I was recommending which ones to buy if your Ringo collection is lacking, here's a list for you:

Beaucoups of Blues: This came out right after the Beatles' split, didn't sell many copies and was dismissed in the wake of the other three's early solo outings. But it's a nice little record and really grows on you.

Ringo: The one you MUST have. It's got all four Beatles together again for the first time on an LP, and it's full of hits like "You're Sixteen" and "Photograph" and the CD also has his huge single "It Don't Come Easy", which is probably the best Ringo solo song ever.

Goodnight Vienna: With a little help from John Lennon, this album was riding high on the heels of Ringo and is a nice follow-up. "The No-No Song" is super and the CD contains another great single, "Back off Boogaloo".

Rotogravure: Again, the other three Beatles contribute songs. This was Ringo's last gasp as a successful recording artist. In the same spirit as Ringo and Vienna (i.e., Ringo surrounded by great sidemen and a party atmosphere), it's a fun record.

I Wanna Be Santa Claus: Ok, I know what you're thinking. But it is the only Christmas album by a Beatle and "The Christmas Dance" is a great tune.

There is a newer compilation album, Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr, but I don't have it. I can gather from looking at the track listings that it's a fairly robust collection and even includes a few numbers I've never heard of. Maybe I'll get it one day, but does Ringo really need a "hits" or "best of" record?

And I don't have Old Wave, which is a bit of a collector's item. It's $40 on Amazon. Some of the tracks are on another comp album, Starr Stuck, and they sound interesting. I am curious and would like to get my hands on it one day.

In the meantime, I'm happy to put on Ringo, Goodnight Vienna and Rotogravure on shuffle and recall those early post-break up days when Ringo was the only guy on the planet who could get John, Paul and George to appear together on record. And I'll toss in Beaucoups of Blues, too.

And every December, I'll put on I Wanna Be Santa Claus once in a while just because.


Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

How could you forget "Stop And Smell The Roses?" I found a tape of that during a Vegas trip many years ago and listened to it incredulously for days. It was reissued not too long ago (probably in the same batch as the now rare "Old Wave")...

1:39 PM  
Blogger John Goins said...

"Stop and Smell the Roses" is an aquired taste. The list was more for people who don't have any Ringo stuff. But I do like "Drumming is my Madness". And who could forget "Give me you attention...for a while". Although "our" version was much better.

8:28 PM  

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