Well his name is Billy Shears and it certainly has been for so many years.
Do you know who I’m talking about?
Ringo. Ringo Starr. Drummer for The Beatles?
It’s hard to imagine now but in 1973/74 Ringo Starr was not only known for being one fourth of The Beatles, he was also a virtual hit-making machine with a steady stream of radio friendly hits filling the airwaves.
In the first few years after The Beatles broke up, Ringo had one of the best hit-making averages of all the ex-Beatles, just behind Paul McCartney. Nowadays Starr tends to be forgotten as a hit-maker in his own right but in the early 1970’s he was huge!
“It’s Don’t Come Easy” and “Back Off Boogaloo” landed in the Top Ten in 1971 and 1972 respectively and then the dam really began to break in 1973 with the release of Starr’s acclaimed “Ringo” album which produced another three Top Ten hits.
By the end of 1974, Ringo had amassed seven Top Ten hits singles as well as two smash hit albums – 1973’s “Ringo” album and 1974’s “Goodnight Vienna”.
Those two albums (“Ringo” and “Goodnight Vienna”) are considered by many to be the artistic peak of Starr’s entire solo musical career and held up to this day as the yardstick to which his work is measured.
(Note: in my opinion Ringo’s later career albums from 1992 to today have produced work equal to these albums but these two are certainly among his best).
The “Ringo” album was Starr’s first true rock album (his first two solo albums featured standards and country tunes) and also featured a slew of famous musicians helping Ringo out.
Of course it didn’t hurt that the “Ringo” album also happened to be the closet thing the four ex-Beatles came to making a reunion album.
All four Beatles played and wrote songs for the “Ringo” album including one track, the Lennon-penned “I’m the Greatest”, that featured all the ex-Beatles (minus McCartney) playing together in the studio at the same time.
Produced by Richard Perry, the “Ringo” album is chock full of great tunes and terrific performances including two number one singles ,”You’re Sixteen” and “Photograph”, as well as the Top Ten smash'”Oh My My”.
1974’s “Goodnight Vienna” followed the same formula as the “Ringo” album (produced by Perry with ex-Beatles and famous friends helping out in the studio) and while successful didn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor though still producing two more Top Ten hits “Only You (And You Alone)” and “No No Song”.
Now all these years later in 2018 these two stellar Ringo albums have been reissued on sparkling new 180-gram vinyl pressings.
Pressed in France, these two reissues came out last Friday (February 9th) and not only sound amazing but have some of the best reproductions of covers and labels I’ve ever seen on solo Beatles releases.
Both albums have bright, clear covers with nice color reproduction and every detail correct down to the nice booklet that came with the “Ringo” album and the specialty labels for each album looking as good if not better than original pressings.
(Note 2: the booklet in the “Ringo” album is printed on glossy paper stock not textured like originals but still looks terrific).
And the vinyl sounds superb – nice and quiet pressings and lovely sound. I’ll have to drag out my original pressings to compare but I doubt the originals sound dramatically better as these discs sound great to my ears.
It’s nice to see these two albums treated so respectfully and well worth tracking down if you’re a fan of Ringo’s work and are looking for stellar vinyl copies to play and enjoy.
As usual I took several photos (above) of both albums. Take a look and see how nice these reissues turned out.
Other Ringo Starr albums have been reissued on vinyl recently but these two reissues are head and shoulders above the others not to mention being better albums as well.
Until next time – Goodnight Vienna!