Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Happy birthday to Rich Starkey, born 70 (!) years ago today in Liverpool, England. Despite the tired jokes about Ringo being the luckiest man in showbiz, his post-Beatles career stands up pretty well, with seven Top Ten hits including two Number Ones, "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen." (Oddly enough, he never had a Number One in the U.K., peaking at Number Two with "Back Off Boogaloo.")
Ringo's 1974 hit "Oh My My" is also the only record I know of that was canny enough to use Merry Clayton on backup vocals after her powerhouse performance on the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." Martha Reeves also sings on that one, but then again, everyone always liked working with Ringo. In 1975, his greatest-hits package Blast From Your Past was the last record released on the Apple label, which is surely deserving of note.
Also, just because it never gets old, here are David Letterman's Top Ten Revelations in Albert Goldman's Upcoming Biography of Ringo:
10. Only Beatle to portray himself in Beatlemania
9. Used to give John and Paul token songs to sing so they wouldn't feel left out
8. Had a secretary named Lincoln, while Lincoln had a secretary named Ringo
7. For a while, actually believed Paul was dead
6. Served in Indiana National Guard during Vietnam War
5. Suggested "Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees" as Beatles theme song
4. On their honeymoon, he and Barbara Bach held a "bed-in" to promote Seagram's wine coolers
3. Made a fortune selling cheesy Ginsu Knife sets on TV (I'm sorry-that's revelations about Ronco)
2. Advised Paul that "Hey Dude" just didn't sound right
1. Vocal on "Octopus's Garden" played backwards sounds like "Thank God these other guys are so talented"