Ringo Starr…What’s My Name (review)

John Lennon was right.  In 1980, when he was starting to record a rough demo of his song “Grow Old With Me” he said…”This will be great for you Ringo”.  Ringo Starr only heard that tape recently, as he was about to record his new album What’s My Name.

Ringo recorded “Grow Old With Me”, and nearly 40-years on, we finally have the definitive version of the song.  Lennon’s demo unfortunately was recorded on a very low-quality cassette with poor audio.  There’s a good version by Mary Chapin Carpenter that was recorded for a John Lennon tribute album, and others have recorded the song, but Ringo’s version sounds like it’s the way it was meant to be.

”Grow Old With Me” is a sentimental ballad that would have fit nicely on a Beatles album, the way “Good Night” finished The White Album.  John Lennon also wrote that song, and Ringo sang it.   For “Grow Old With Me”,  Ringo got by with a little help from a friend.

Ringo recruited Paul McCartney to play bass and add a light background vocal.  The string arrangement by well known producer Jack Douglas includes a slight nod to George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun”.  So, there’s a bit of all four Beatles in this recording.

In a recent interview, Ringo talked about what it means to record Lennon’s song.  “The idea that John was talking about me in that time before he died, well, I’m an emotional person.  I do well up when I think of John this deeply.  We’ve done our best.”

The second-best song on Ringo’s new album is the title track “What’s My Name”.  It’s a fun rocker just right for Ringo’s performances with his All Starr Band.  The song came about from Ringo introducing the band members on stage, and then instead of introducing himself, he just asked the audience “What’s my name?”, and of course they shouted back “Ringo!”.  Now it’s in a song.  It was written by Men At Work’s Colin Hay.  He had been touring with the All Starr Band, and wrote it after hearing Ringo’s exchange with the audiences.

You can check out both songs on YouTube and other streaming services, and the whole album on some of them.

The overall album is good.  Here are the songs:

  1. Gotta Get Up To Get Down
  2. It’s Not Love That You Want
  3. Grow Old With Me
  4. Magic
  5. Money
  6. Better Days
  7. Life Is Good
  8. Thank God For Music
  9. Send Love Spread Peace
  10. What’s My Name

Here’s a ranker of the songs by quality:

  1. Grow Old With Me
  2. What’s My Name
  3. It’s Not Love That You Want
  4. Send Love Send Peace
  5. Life Is Good
  6. Thank God For Music
  7. Money
  8. Better Days
  9. Magic
  10. Gotta Get Up To Get Down

The songs have a lot of peace, love, and positive thoughts.  Maybe a little corny, but sincere…like Ringo.

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