Whether it was because he was the only former partner they really liked, that he really needed the money or that he was the best darned rock drummer they could find, it seems that Ringo Starr was involved in most of the almost-reunions the Beatles ever had.
So let’s play around a little with that legacy … here is the rundown of our actual Beatles post-1970 reunion album. (Forget the posthumous stuff like “Free As A Bird.”)
It features at least two Beatles on every track – and is put together like their real albums, alternating voices and styles.
You can see that as they got more comfortable in solo careers, the Beatles performed fewer and fewer times with their old buddies. Our album includes eight songs from the 1970s, four from the 1980s, and just two from the 1990s.
But, with John Lennon’s untimely passing, this will have to do. Let’s call it: COME TOGETHER, AGAIN (Catchy, eh?)
We begin and end with Harrison’s looks back, perhaps the most touching of them all – one, because it was released just after Lennon’s late-1980 murder, the other because it gently mocks the Beatles good-natured psychedelic bombast — even while it reminds us of its sweet, loopy pleasures:
1) All Those Years Ago (George Harrison, with Ringo and Paul, 1981)
2) Oh My Love (John, with George, 1971)
3) It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo, with George, 1971)
4) Not Such a Bad Boy (Paul McCartney, with Ringo; produced by George Martin, 1984)
5) I’m the Greatest (Ringo, with John, 1974)
6) Crippled Inside (John, with George, 1971)
7) Beautiful Night (Paul, with Ringo, produced by Martin; 1997)
1) How Do You Sleep? (John, with George, 1971)
2) Give Me Love (George, with Ringo, 1971)
3) Really Love You (Paul, with Ringo, 1997)
4) Photograph (Ringo, with George, 1974)
5) Take It Away (Paul, with Ringo; produced by Martin, 1982)
6) Hold On (John, with Ringo, 1970)
7) When We Was Fab (George, with Ringo, 1987)
There’s the expected Big Finish song on each side – including the classic Beatles-esque false stop on McCartney and Starr’s “Beautiful Night,” from the CD “Flaming Pie.” (Produced, you’ll notice by the Beatles great collaborator, George Martin.)
There is no better way to begin side two than with Lennon and Harrison’s biting rebuke of McCartney’s musical conventions on “How Do You Sleep?” (“The only thing you done was ‘Yesterday,’ Lennon sings, “and since you’ve gone you’re just ‘Another Day.’” Yee-ouch.) It comes complete with “Pepper”-style orchestral tune-up at the song’s beginning.
“I’m the Greatest” (written, you might have guessed, by Lennon) is from “Ringo,” the only post-1970 album that all four Beatles appeared on. They were on separate songs, of course – including McCartney playing kazoo on the hit “You’re Sixteen.” But still.
McCartney/Starr’s really fun “Really Love You” was completely improv, by the way. Performing again on “Flaming Pie,” this is their first-ever co-songwriting credit.
Produced by George Martin (a modern Beatle rarity itself), McCartney/Starr’s “Not Such A Bad Boy” may be, besides the hit single “No More Lonely Nights” with David Gilmour, the only reason to purchase the wretched “Give My Regards to Broadstreet” – a ridiculously self-centered effort in which McCartney quite needlessly re-records Beatles and Wings songs with Linda.