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Music / Ringo

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"I was in the greatest show on earth, for what it was worth/Now I'm only 32, and all I wanna do... is boogaloo!"

Ringo is the third studio album by Ringo Starr, released in 1973. Previously, in 1970 Starr had released two cover albums, Sentimental Journey and Beaucoup Of Blues. He had then put music on the back burner as he pursued an acting career. During this hiatus, however, he released two successful singles, "It Don't Come Easy" and "Back Off Boogaloo". These laid the groundwork for a full scale relaunch of Starr's music career.

Ringo is notable for its loose, party-like atmosphere and for Starr's strong vocals, a surprise to some who'd considered Starr's contributions Album Filler while he was with The Beatles.

Ah yes, The Beatles, the elephant in the room. This is remembered as one of only two projects between their breakup in 1970 and John Lennon's murder in 1980 on which all four members appear— albeit not all on the same track; the other project was Ringo's Rotogravure in 1976. A little help from your friends certainly doesn't hurt.


Side One

  1. "I'm The Greatest" (3:21)
  2. "Have You Seen My Baby" (3:44)
  3. "Photograph" (3:56)
  4. "Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond)" (2:45)
  5. "You're Sixteen" (2:48)

Side Two

  1. "Oh My My" (4:16)
  2. "Step Lightly" (3:15)
  3. "Six O'Clock" (4:06)
  4. "Devil Woman" (3:50)
  5. "You And Me (Babe)" (4:59)

Bonus Tracks (1991 Reissue):

  1. "It Don't Come Easy" (3:02)
  2. "Early 1970" (2:20)
  3. "Down And Out" (3:04)

Trope Lightly:

  • Age-Progression Song: "I'm The Greatest" follows Ringo from childhood through adolescence to age 32.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "You And Me (Babe)":
    Though I may not be in your town,
    You know that I can still be found,
    Right here on this record,
    Spinning 'round with the sound.
  • But Now I Must Go: "You And Me (Babe)", complete with a spoken Special Thanks to the album's participants during the Fade Out:
    For you and me, babe, we may meet again,
    And in the meanwhile, stay out of the rain,
    But keep your nose dry,
    And give us a smile if you like the show.
  • Call-Back/Sgt. Pepper's Shout-Out:
    • The ornate cover has the artist in the foreground and a crowd of colourful characters in the background. Sound familiar?
    • "Billy Shears" is name-checked in "I'm the Greatest!".
  • Cover Version: "You're Sixteen" was associated with rockabilly singer Johnny Burnette.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Invoked in "Devil Woman". "Devil woman, you look like an angel to me!"
  • Face on the Cover: Ringo standing next to a cherub in front of a large crowd. The word "Ringo" forms around him.
  • Hot as Hell: The subject of "Devil Woman".
    You look like the devil with horns in your head,
    The only way i'll get you is to get you in bed.
  • "I Am Great!" Song: "I'm The Greatest", of course. Note that Starr did not write it himself, Lennon did.
  • Intercourse with You: "Devil Woman".
  • One-Word Title: "Photograph".
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Step Lightly".
    "Step lightly
    You're movin' too fast
    Take your time boy
    Soon the pain will pass."
  • Personal Raincloud: "Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond)".
    "It's a sunshine life for me,
    If I could get away from this cloud over me,
    Seems to just follow me around."
  • Precious Photo: The only thing left after a breakup in "Photograph".
  • Questioning Title?: "Have You Seen My Baby?".
  • Self-Titled Album: His first name (at least his stage name).
  • Serious Business: John Lennon specifically tried to avert this by giving "I'm The Greatest" to Ringo. Lennon had initially intended to record it himself as a tongue-in-cheek and slightly sarcastic change from his usual introspective material of the period (it was inspired by watching himself in A Hard Day's Night when it was first broadcast on TV in the early 1970s and thinking about everything that had happened in the decade since). Once he'd written it, he began to worry that because everyone regarded him as The Deep and Serious Beatle and took what he had to say about things way too seriously, if he was to record a song about great he was and being a Beatle had been even sarcastically it would generate unnecessary controversy and Wild Mass Guessing from critics and fans. Ringo, on the other hand, could get away with it because he was always regarded as the good-natured, easy-going everyman of the group who was just there having fun anyway.
    John Lennon: "I'm the Greatest"? It's the Muhammad Ali line ... I couldn't sing it, but it was perfect for Ringo. He could say, "I'm the greatest" and people wouldn't get upset. Whereas if I said "I'm the greatest," they'd all take it so seriously.
  • Special Guest: Aside from the other Beatles there's also Linda McCartney, Marc Bolan, Billy Preston, Stephen Stills, four members of The Band, David Bromberg, and Martha Reeves from Martha & The Vandellas.
  • Visual Pun: Ringo forms the letter "I" in his name/the title, and there's a star over his head.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: "Six O'Clock".
    "I (I) don't (don't) treat (treat) you (you)
    Like i'd like to treat you,
    Ev'ry diamond in the sky is in your eyes."