Ringo Starr’s New Album Features a Very Special Beatles Moment
The inspiration to return to "Grow Old Along With Me," one of Lennon's unfinished late-period songs, came courtesy of former Lennon producer Jack Douglas.
"Jack asked if I ever heard the 'Bermuda Tapes,' John's demos from that time," Starr said in a news release. "And I had never heard all this." He was particularly taken by "Grow Old Along With Me," which Lennon wrote as a tribute to his lasting love for Yoko Ono. "I sang it the best that I could. I do well up when I think of John this deeply. And I’ve done my best. We’ve done our best."
The results amount to a kind of Beatles reunion, Starr added. "Paul came over and he played bass and sings a little bit on this with me," he said. "So, John's on it, in a way. I'm on it and Paul's on it. It's not a publicity stunt. This is just what I wanted. And the strings that Jack arranged for this track, if you really listen, they do one line from [George Harrison's 1969 Beatles song] 'Here Comes the Sun.' So in a way, it's the four of us."
Recorded in his home studio, What's My Name also includes songs with longtime collaborators Joe Walsh and Dave Stewart, as well as current and former All-Starr Band members like Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Richard Page, Edgar Winter and Warren Ham.
You can listen to the first song, "What's My Name," below.
"I don't want to be in an old-fashioned recording studio anymore, really," Starr said. "I've had enough of the big glass wall and the separation. We are all together in here, whoever I invite over. This is the smallest club in town. And I love it, being at home, being able to say hi to [wife] Barb[ara Bach], it’s just been good for me and the music."
"Gotta Get Up to Get Down," co-written with Starr's brother-in-law Walsh, emerged from another of the drummer's famous malapropisms – like "A Hard Day's Night" or "Tomorrow Never Knows." "I've been making music with Joe long before we became brothers," Starr said. "And we were having dinner with [Beatles associate] Klaus Voorman months ago, and for whatever, I said, 'Well, you've got to get up to get down." Joe and I looked at each other and said, 'We know that's the title, so let's write a song about it."
The title track, composed by Hay, turns on Starr's familiar in-concert chant. The song actually dates back a few years, but Hay was able to retrieve it for use in these sessions. "In all honesty, there’s not a lot of people who could get away with asking, 'What's my name?' in a song," Starr said. "If you've been to the show, you already know the title."
"Magic" is his latest collaboration with Lukather, who earlier worked with Starr on a pair of tracks on both 2015's Postcards From Paradise and 2017's Give More Love. "I made a mistake of telling Steve, 'You’re my last best friend,' and so that's how we live now. And he’s a beautiful guy," Starr said. "I love the man. Don't tell him."
Starr also found a new collaborator in songwriter Sam Hollander. They wrote "Thank God for Music" together, then Hollander composed the more personal-sounding "Better Days" based on comments Starr made in a Rolling Stone interview. Recorded and mixed by Bruce Sugar at Roccabella West, What's My Name is rounded out with a new cover of the Motown favorite "Money (That's What I Want)," which the Beatles released as the final track on their second album, 1963's With the Beatles.
You can see the track listing below.
October will also see the wide release of Starr's newest book. Another Day in the Life, featuring images and thoughts on Starr's love of music, travel and nature, was originally issued in limited-edition form. He concluded his latest round of All-Starr Band dates earlier in September.
"I'm blessed that most things coming my way are peace and love," Starr noted. "There are still always trials and tribulations. But I just feel in life, the sun shines this way. I'm blessed. I always have the same talk – an audience can be tortured. We give them everything we've got. We give each other everything we've got. And sometimes it's not enough. But most nights it's everything. I'll play the best I can for you. And you play the best you can for me. That's all I can ask."
Ringo Starr, 'What's My Name' Track Listing
1. "Gotta Get Up to Get Down"
2. "Its Not Love That You Want"
3. "Grow Old With Me"
5. "Money (That’s What I Want)"
6. "Better Days"
7. "Life Is Good"
8. "Thank God for Music"
9. "Send Love Spread Peace"
10. "What’s My Name"
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