Monday, July 07, 2008

Another indicator that time is zooming past...
RINGO STARR is 68 years old today...
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On his 1973 album, "Ringo" (which is still far and away the best record he's ever made), he sings, "yes, my name is Billy Shears...you know it has been for so many years...now I'm only 32, and all I wanna do...is boogaloo"...and you know, that's pretty much what he's done his entire life. His drumming talent is natural and very individualistic and he's got an "okay" voice which sounds good, but which wears thin over an entire album of him singing. And really, his musical output has never changed. His albums are largely innocuous collections of pop-oriented songs which aren't especially noteworthy, and while enough of his records are bought by Beatles' fanatics, such as me, none of them really stand out; if you put on a Ringo album, it'll just kinda harmlessly cruise by, it'll be over before ya know it, and you probably won't play it again for another 5 years, cos it's basically "nice but inessential music". That's how I've come to think of Ringo's music over the years.
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Ringo's solo music won't provide any inspiring musical 'highs', but it's not crappy, either; his records occupy a place "somewhere in the middle", where no one is offended or elated or disgusted, and basically there isn't a whole lot of emotion going on in the grooves. In short, his output is average, no better or no worse than any other singer whose main objective is to sell records, but since his music occupies that "middle ground", after a while, the music is just "blah"; it's got melodies, words, tempos, but unexceptional music just gets kinda downright boring after a while. And Ringo's heavy voice grates on my ears over an Entire Record. He sounds good enough in small doses, and while none of his albums are baaad, I just don't feel the need to play 'em that often.
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Ringo's found a quite-novel way to Cruise Through The Ages, however...over the past couple of decades, he's gone on-tour with his All-Starr Band, which features ever-changing lineups of Ringo's contemporaries who've had their own hits...for instance, Todd Rundgren ("Hello, It's Me") has toured with him; this year Gary Wright ("The Dreamweaver") is helping out. Ringo's All-Starr bands will usually feature 8 or 10 people that You've Heard Of Somewhere in the Past, and interspersed with their songs, Ringo comes out and sings a few of his biggest hits, then goes back to play drums, or perhaps heads to the dressing room for some Perrier and caviar. It's gotta be a fun way to make a living, though. So Ringo's surviving, and doing so fairly gracefully. Although, his endless "Peace And Love" thing just kinda grates on me, sorta like hearing his voice over an entire record. And I wish he'd quit flashing those PEACE SIGNS around! Stop it, Ringo!
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Ringo's latest album is titled "Liverpool 8", and it's no better or worse than anything else he's recorded over the last 15-20 years. The song, 'Liverpool 8' is about his beloved hometown that he has so many endlessly fawning memories of. The same town, he later revealed in an aside on a talk show, that He Really Doesn't Miss Very Much At All. OOPS! Well, he is 68, after all. Must've been a "senior moment" there. Ahhh, Ringo...we love ya anyway.

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For a time in the early 70s, after the Beatles broke up and embarked on solo careers, Ringo's records were actually charting higher than any that his former bandmates made. And on the '73 "Ringo" album, John Lennon and George Harrison played on the leadoff track, "I'm The Greatest" (quoted above), and that's the closest the Beatles ever came to reuniting.

3 Comments:

Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

Ringo is also the voice on the Thomas the Tank Engine kids telly programme ....... wow 68.... dam Im getting bloody old .... :)

x

1:30 PM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Ms. Marmee, you will forever be a giddy teenager in my eyes. I heard about Ringo's TV exploits; I have a news clipping laying around here somewhere that's yellowed with AGE...

But when I play Beatles' music these days, I still feel like a giddy teenager myself, not that I was ever all that giddy. Me and my Parrot listened to side 1 of the Beatles' 'White Album', and my parrot (named RINGO) screeched and squawked to it...so evidently it met with his approval.

Actually, Ringo's got a good voice, although he tends to be off-key every now and then (like me!)...I hope he lives long enough to record another dozen (if not 20) more albums. Long live Paul and Ringo...(the "Two-tles"?)

2:05 AM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

When I wrote about Ringo being off-key, I was talking about Ringo the Drummer, but Ringo the Parrot hits a few wild notes as well. Squawk!

2:06 AM  

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