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Ringo Starr's Double Life (Over the last 14 Years he has recorded his best music but no one knows)
| ALLAN KOZINN
Posted on 03/29/2003 4:28:29 PM PST by TLBSHOW
Ringo Starr's Double Life
Since 1989, when he decided to give up various forms of substance abuse and rekindle his performing career, Ringo Starr has lived a double life, musically. In one, he is the principal attraction of the All-Starrs, a nostalgia band in which members of defunct groups from the 1960's and 1970's (this year's model will stretch into the 1980's) join Mr. Starr to take turns singing their hits. In the other, he pops into the studio every few years to record an album of new material. The two lives rarely meet: very few of Mr. Starr's post-1989 songs have found a place in the All-Starr sets, which are dominated by the likes of "Yellow Submarine" and "You're Sixteen."
That's a pity, because Mr. Starr's recent efforts, including his latest, "Ringo Rama" (Koch), are well-produced, engaging discs. Apart from fleeting guest visits (Eric Clapton and Willie Nelson are among those who check in), Mr. Starr's band is the same group of West Coast studio players, led by Mark Hudson (who was co-producer of the disc with Mr. Starr), that supported him on "Vertical Man" in 1998. The sound is updated Britpop: simple, catchy melodies and 60's-ish vocal harmonies, gritty guitars, a straightforwardly solid rhythm section and layers of decorative lead guitar and keyboard.
It may seem backhanded praise, but Mr. Starr's great charm here is that he doesn't reach too high. As in the Beatles days, his persona is that of the amiable, amusing everyman. Although the 14 songs, all of which Mr. Starr helped write, include a couple of attractive ballads ("Imagine Me There" and "What Love Wants to Be") and a poignant tribute to George Harrison (the Beatlesque "Never Without You"), these are mostly lighthearted rockers, with melodies that sound vaguely familiar and lyrics laced with puns (as in "Missouri Loves Company") and Beatles references. Occasionally, a line or two elicits a cringe (as in the mawkish "English Garden"), although that happens less frequently on this album than on, say, "Driving Rain," Sir Paul McCartney's most recent studio disc. But Mr. Starr hasn't publicly made a point of writing his songs in 10 minutes or less.
The energy of the performances, and the textures in which Mr. Hudson and company clothe them, usually get Mr. Starr past such lapses. If only he would put the All-Starrs on ice, just once, and tour with these guys.
KEYWORDS: beatlemania; beatles; music; ringo; ringostarr; rock; rockandroll; rockmusic; starr; thebeatles
posted on 03/29/2003 4:28:29 PM PST
RINGO STARR: "RINGORAMA"
By DAN AQUILANTE
March 25, 2003 --
Ringo - the cool Beatle - has dusted himself off and is back in the game after several years, with a new record that not only references his Beatle past, but taps into some of the best riffs of rock 'n' roll.
"Memphis in Your Mind" offers a nod to early rockers like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley; with "Instant Amnesia," you can't help but think of the David Bowie/John Lennon collaboration on "Fame."
The masterpiece of the disc is "Never Without You," where Ringo honors the late George Harrison with lyrics that try to capture the fleeting excitement of Beatlemania.
This album is best as a whole on the first spin. The better you get to know it, some of the weaker numbers such as "Love First, Ask Questions Later" and "Elizabeth Reigns" emerge.
Even with these minor problems, this is Ringo's best album since The Beatles shattered. http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/71754.htm
posted on 03/29/2003 4:31:28 PM PST
McCartney takes another hit
RINGO STARR has joined in the row over who should take credit for the Beatles' hits.
He attacked as "underhanded" and "wrong" the way Sir Paul McCartney chose to highlight his own contribution by reversing the traditional Lennon/McCartney credit on his latest album.
The move upset some Beatles fans as well as Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, but Sir Paul remains defiant.
"He's wanted to do it for years," Ringo said. "I thought he should have done it officially with Yoko."
Starr, 62, expresses his feelings on his new album, Ringorama, by using the credit: "Produced by Mark Hudson and Ringo Starr. Produced by Ringo Starr and Mark Hudson." http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6207035%255E2902,00.html
posted on 03/29/2003 4:34:00 PM PST
'Rama' Lama Ding Dong
For his latest solo album, former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has recorded with a slew of guest artists, including Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Willie Nelson, and Eagles/Poco principal Timothy B. Schmit. Due this week from Koch, "Ringo Rama" also features guest turns by Shawn Colvin, Van Dyke Parks, and Charlie Haden.
Recorded largely at his home studio in England, "Ringo Rama" features "Never Without You," a tribute to late Beatles guitarist George Harrison. "It was my way to say how much George meant to me and how much he will be remembered," Ringo says. "I actually tried to get George, John Lennon, and Harry Nilsson all into that song. But it got too busy, so I thought I'm just going to do it for George."
Clapton, also a close friend of Harrison, adds the guitar solo to the song. "Eric's on two tracks on the album, but I really wanted him on this song because George loved Eric and Eric loved George," Starr added. "I wanted Eric to come and play that solo because I only wanted people on the track who George knew and loved."
Gilmour adds guitar to "I Think Therefore I Rock & Roll" and "Missouri Loves Company," while Nelson duets with Starr on the country-leaning "Write One for Me." Rounding out the album is the unlisted bonus track "I Really Love Her," which Starr recorded solo. "Just one time in my career, I wanted to do it all," he said. "I'm tired of all my other mates doing everything." Starr's summer tour with his All Starr Band kicks off July 24 in Toronto. http://www.billboard.com/billboard/hotprod/index.jsp
posted on 03/29/2003 4:35:33 PM PST
3/27/03, 7 a.m. ET) -- Ringo Starr appeared Tuesday (March 25) on MTV's TRL show for the release of his latest album Ringo Rama. The program is geared towards young contemporary pop fans, and Starr compared the height of "Beatlemania" in the 1960s to the fan reaction for contemporary "boy bands" like *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.
Starr said the groups are very different, however. He said that starting out, the four Beatles were certainly "boys and we were a band," and also admitted that early on, the group also didn't write all of their own material. But then he commented that once John Lennon and Paul McCartney began writing songs--and George Harrison as well--"it became that the song was important, not our dancing."
Starr was making a bit of a joke, as the Beatles were never a dancing group.
Starr kicks off his 2003 All-Starr Band tour on July 24 in Rama, Ontario, Canada.
-- Darryl Morden, Los Angeles
posted on 03/29/2003 4:37:25 PM PST
WITH THIS RINGO ...
By DAN AQUILANTE http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/71616.htm
Ringo Starr, who has a new album out, is also singing the praises of his wife of 22 years, Barbara Bach. Here they're in Midtown.
- Ronald Asadorian/Splash News
March 24, 2003 -- WHETHER he's the best drummer in the world may be a matter for debate, but no one can challenge that Ringo Starr is certainly the best-known.
He's also one of the luckiest - not only in matters of the wallet (he still earns $20 million annually), but in matters of the heart as well.
The "it won't last" chorus that surrounded his 1981 marriage to actress Barbara Bach - after they met on the set of the stone-age comedy "Caveman" (six years after his divorce from his first wife, Maureen Cox) - has been proved wrong by a 22-year union that's bucked the rock love-'em-and-leave-'em tradition.
"I'm in love with that woman, and I'm blessed that she loves me," Starr told The Post, stretching out his arms to illustrate his point.
"It's not like we're on cloud nine every day, we have our ups and downs, but overall it's great. All you have to do is remember why you're together in the first place, and you get through the rough times."
Those rough times have included the 62-year-old beat-master's successful battle to stay sober - and his ongoing efforts to build a solo recording career outside the shadow of his former group.
"I love America, and Americans love me," says Starr, on the eve of the release of his latest album, "Ringorama." "I was blessed. America's always given me my due as one of the best drummers in the world."
Though that's still not true in his native England, "That doesn't matter anymore," he says. "I know how I play . . . I am one of the finest drummers in rock."
He's as quick with his wit as he is with a pair of sticks.
Back when The Beatles were first making their mark in America, a reporter accused the band of being second-rate Elvis impersonators. Ringo defused a tense situation by immediately offering a second-rate pelvis swivel.
"I've always been very quick with funny lines, it's my character," he says. "But I have to watch that I don't live on that. Humor is a way to deflect things. I've used it to not deal with true emotions."
On "Ringorama," Starr proves his funny bone is still well-oiled on songs such as "Missouri Loves Company" and"I Think Therefore I Rock & Roll."
There are also a few love songs on the disc.
But if there is one standout number, it's "Never Without You," a bright tribute to the good ol' days - and his late friend George Harrison.
That wasn't his original intention, Starr says. "It was about a band starting up. It didn't really relate to George at all."
But with the lyrics "We were young, it was fun and we couldn't lose," "I immediately thought of the four of us - that's how it felt."
So the song became a dedication to George.
"If George was alive, I would have asked him to do the guitar solo on it."
In his stead, that honor went to Starr's neighbor Eric Clapton. "He lives 10 minutes away," says Starr. "So I called him, and he came over without even hearing the track first."
Spontaneity is the hallmark of the entire record, says Starr, who considers himself part of a garage band - albeit "a garage with some very sophisticated equipment."
Though he continues to strike out on his own, Starr says his Beatle roots are never far from his mind.
"God's love lets us remember the good times, but if I thought they were all good times, I'd just be fooling myself. There were angry moments and disappointing moments - that's just what life is about. But look at what we did. I was a Beatle, and the music is still here today. It has held up. I'm proud to be a part of that.
"Back then I remember a woman holding up a baby and shouting to me, 'His first words were 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,' " said Starr.
"Is Britney singing anything the kids are learning today?"
Ringo Starr brings his All-Starr Band to Radio City Music Hall for a one-night engagement July 29. Tickets go on sale Saturday.
posted on 03/29/2003 4:38:45 PM PST
Ringo Starr, who has a new album out, is also singing the praises of his wife of 22 years, Barbara Bach. Here they're in Midtown.
posted on 03/29/2003 4:40:06 PM PST
NEWS - Lennon-McCartney Non-Beatles Songs Covered For New All-Star Album
(3/27/03, 5 p.m. ET) -- Singers from Cheap Trick and the B-52s are taking part in a new covers album titled From A Window: Lost Songs Of Lennon & McCartney. The 17-track album includes songs that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote for other artists--including Badfinger, Cilla Black, and Billy J. Kramer--but were never released by the Beatles themselves.
Graham Parker, the B-52's Kate Pierson, and Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz are each featured on several songs, while Cheap Trick's Robin Zander joins the band Johnny Society for P.J. Proby's "That Means A Lot."
From A Window comes out April 8, and the first single will be "Step Inside Love," a top-10 U.K. hit for Black that was written by McCartney. Parker, Pierson, Janovitz, and Johnny Society plan to tour in support of the album starting May 16 in Boston.
The full From A Window: Lost Songs Of Lennon & McCartney tracklisting, with original artists in parentheses, includes: "I'm In Love," Kate Pierson (the Fourmost); "I'll Keep You Satisfied," Bill Janovitz (Billy J. Kramer); "From A Window," Graham Parker (Billy J. Kramer); "Step Inside Love," Kate Pierson & Johnny Society (Cilla Black); "It's For You," Bill Janovitz (Cilla Black); "Bad To Me," Graham Parker (Billy J. Kramer); "That Means A Lot," Johnny Society with Robin Zander (P.J. Proby); "Hello Little Girl," Bill Janovitz (the Fourmost); "Love Of The Loved," Kate Pierson (Cilla Black); "Tip Of My Tongue," Graham Parker (Tommy Quickly); "Goodbye," Bill Janovitz (Mary Hopkin); "Come And Get It," Graham Parker (Badfinger); "A World Without Love," Bill Janovitz (Peter & Gordon); "One And One Is Two," Graham Parker (Billy J. Kramer); "Nobody I Know," Kate Pierson (Peter & Gordon); "Woman," Bill Janovitz (Peter & Gordon); and "I'll Be On My Way," Johnny Society (Billy J. Kramer).
-- Gary Graff, Detroit http://launch.yahoo.com/read/news.asp?contentID=212812
posted on 03/30/2003 7:39:39 AM PST
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