“Ringo Bingo” came about back in the Fall of 1973 when my wife Janet and I were getting established back in Denver after four years in the Air Force. Ringo’s third solo LP had just hit the charts and it contained tracks composed by all three of his Fab Four brethren, as well as appearances here and there by John, Paul and George. The thinking at the time was – “Well, this might be the closest thing we ever get to a Beatle reunion”, and that alone warranted the purchase. The LP peaked at number 2 and included two number 1 singles (Ringo’s only two number 1’s), “Photograph” penned by Ringo and George and the Johnny Burnette hit “You’re Sixteen”. A third single hit number 5 – “Oh My My” a song co-written by Ringo. Ringo was now a writer of hits!
“Ringo, Seriously” by Stephen Rodrick – Rolling Stone Issue 1232 – April 9 2015
I’ve never been about anything and everything Beatles in the Post Beatles years. The foursome provided us with an impressive body of solo work – especially Paul who probably will be in the studio or on a stage somewhere on the day of his demise.
I enjoyed this interview (why this one when Ringo estimates he has probably delivered 100’s of times over the years?). What I enjoyed is that is was a nice relaxed conversation that wasn’t steered towards being another Beatles rehash – something that Ringo doesn’t appreciate being heaped on him but would rather interject Fab Four accounts in the natural course of an interview.
Today Ringo is a vibrant senior sporting a slim waste line (120 pounds – He can still fit into his “Sgt. Peppers’ costume comfortably), observing a healthy diet and living successfully well beyond his years when he was immersed in alcoholism – now 26 years ago and counting.
Some Interview Highlights
Up until last year, Ringo remained the one Beatle not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – something that his brother Paul McCartney along with Bruce Springsteen lobbied to change – and change it did. McCartney would deliver the introductory speech on behalf of Ringo at the ceremony in Cleveland.
Ringo has been married nor for 34 (going on 35) years to actress Barbara Bach with whom he co-starred in the motion picture “Caveman” back in 1981 along with Dennis Quaid. Barbara would later enter into alcohol rehab with Ringo.
During the recording of the LP “The Beatles” (or “The White Album”) Ringo felt somewhat out-of-place and departed for a 10-day retreat on a boat owned by fellow Englishman Peter Sellers. It was on the boat where he got the notion of “An Octopus’s Garden”. Upon returning to the recording session he found his drum kit decorated in flowers by George. When he spoke to the other three individually about feeling isolated, George, Paul and John each confided that they were feeling the same way – and we do now know that the White Album was in many ways the Beatles breaking away from one another.
Ringo would visit Harrison in a Swedish hospital in 2001 when George was very near death in a losing bought with cancer. Upon being told by Ringo that Ringo had to depart for America to join his daughter who was having brain surgery for a tumor (successful surgery) George – who was extremely ill – managed a smile and asked Ringo “Do you want me to come with you?” That would be their final meeting.
Ringo also made his way to the Dakota building in New York City the day after John was shot and killed to be with Yoko.
He told Rodrick that even though circumstances had always precluded a “Beatles Reunion” it was not because they didn’t want to and he is certain that it would have eventually happened.
Ringo has fronted his “All Starr Band” now for one-quarter of a decade – delivering nearly 900 performances to date. Other famous musicians come and go with frequency into the band, often returning after several years. Ringo has a single rule for inclusion in the band: Each member must have had at least three hit songs.
Ringo explains to Rodrick that in this fashion he doesn’t have to make an entire performance spotlight his own songs. From All Starr Todd Rundgren: “Few drummers can capture the feel of a song like Ringo. A lot of drummers are on top of the beat, which gives the song a nervous, edgy feel. That’s not Ringo. He plays relaxed, and it sounds so natural.” Ringo always shunned drum solo breaks – Just didn’t want to do them. But when called upon at special moments during recording sessions, according to Paul, his delivery was flawless.
I especially liked what Paul McCartney said of Ringo thinking back to 1962 when he first crossed over from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes to become the group’s full-time drummer: “The first few minutes that Ringo is playing, I look to the left at George and to the right at John, and we didn’t say a word, but I remember thinking, ‘Shit, this is amazing!”
And for me, amazing “Ringo Bingo” it will always be.