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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ringo Starr...The Under-Appreciated Beatle

My Ringo Starr albums on vinyl
I've recently found myself to be on a massive Ringo Starr kick. This all started when I visited Oak Park Records back in March. While I was there I was able to pick up, on vinyl no less, almost every single Ringo Starr solo album. Ringo the 4th, Sentimental Journey, Bad Boy, Beaucoups of Blues, Ringo's Rotogravure, and Stop and Smell the Roses all came home with me on that eventful day.

Finding Ringo's work on vinyl, other than Ringo or Good Night Vienna, is incredible difficult. So to say I was rather excited is a little bit of an understatement. As I began listening to these records, I began to realize something. The more I dive into Ringo's solo catalog, the more I enjoy it. After listening to the vinyl, I had to pull out my Ringo CDs and give those a listen to as well. Again the more I listened, the more I was blown away by the hidden gems in his catalog. RingoRama, Time Takes Time, and Ringo's Rotogravure are just a few examples of excellent pop rock albums.

A misnomer that has plagued Ringo's solo musical career is that it is simple and safe music. This could NOT be further from the truth. In fact Ringo's first two solo releases were huge artistic and commercial risks. Sentimental Journey released in 1970 features Ringo covering his favorite standard/pop songs from the 1940s. I seem to recall a major release by Sir Paul McCartney in 2012 called Kisses on the Bottom, which featured Sir Paul covering his favorite standard/pop songs from the 1940s. Hmmmm. (Additionally hasn't Rod Stewart made a career doing the exact same thing for the last ten years...oh I think so.)

That's not all. Later in 1970, Ringo released an album entitled Beaucoups of Blues. This album features Ringo performing country and western cover songs and a few originals, along side some rock n' roll tracks. Now it's not a complete copy, but in 1975 John Lennon did a cover's album called Rock N' Roll, which featured him covering his favorite rhythm and blues, rock n' roll songs. Follow that up in 1999 with Run Devil Run, Sir Paul McCartney covering his favorite old school rock n' roll songs too.

Now let's be honest, a lot of Ringo's music may not meet the mythical status of say: Imagine, My Sweet Lord, or Maybe I'm Amazed. But just because it may not meet this mythical status, does not mean we should write off or dismiss the quality of the music. Ringo's solo catalog is catchy, showcases some fantastic drumming, and features some AMAZING guest stars on the albums. Other than the three other Beatles, (if that wasn't enough) Ringo's music features the likes of Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Dr. John, Peter Frampton, and Harry Nilsson.

So if you are looking for some incredibly catchy, poppy, and enjoyable music, I cannot recommend Ringo Starr's discography enough. I've include some videos of some of my favorite Ringo solo albums below. Let me know what you think.

Oh My Love off of his 2005 album: "Choose Love"

Weight of the World off of his 1992 album: "Time Takes Time"

Cooking (In the Kitchen of Love) off of his 1976 album: "Ringo's Rotogravure"

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