Ringo Starr and Dave Stewart, collaborators on the former Beatles drummer’s last few studio releases, have a new project on tap: An original motion picture, called “Hole in the Fence.”
Stewart was brought in to finish work on 2008’s Liverpool 8, after Starr split with longtime producer Mark Huduson — who had helmed his previous five releases. Stewart, one half of the 1980s hitmaking duo the Eurythmics, ended up writing two of the songs for that album, including the title track. He also worked on two tracks for 2010’s Y Not, which became Starr’s highest charting album in the U.S. since 1976. Stewart then played guitar, and co-wrote a tune on Starr’s current release, Ringo 2012.
Starr, of course, has acted in a series of motion pictures and television programs, including the film “Caveman” — where he met his wife, Barbara Bach, and the children’s show “Shining Time Station.” Stewart has produced a Broadway musical, called “Ghost, as well as the television pilot “Malibu Country” for country star Reba McEntire.
“Hole in the Fence,” according to Deadline Hollywood, is a “coming-of-age drama … about a group of kids who form a band to escape their depressing mining town.” Starr and Stewart will also act as executive producers for the film.
Paramount has reportedly bought the rights to the film, to be written by David Harris. Harris has also worked with Stewart on a film based on the graphic novel “Zombie Broadway.”
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Ringo Starr. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
RINGO STARR – RINGO 2012 (2012): If this one has a familiar “ring” to it, there’s a reason. Starr offers a muscular update of “Wings,” from his dance-y 1977 flop Ringo the 4th; a new take on “Step Lightly,” previously a nifty deep cut from 1973’s Ringo, as well as “Think It Over” by Buddy Holly and “Rock Island Line,” a skiffle song made popular by Lonnie Donegan, an old favorite of the Beatles as youngsters. Guest stars abound, including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Charlie Haden, Amy Keys, Van Dyke Parks, Dave Stewart, Don Was and Edgar Winter, among others. Parks, Stewart and Walsh also share songwriting credits on Ringo’s 17th solo album, issued through HIP-O/UMe Records. It doesn’t come close to matching the verve and fun associated with his similarly named 1973 smash — likely because Starr doesn’t get by with the help of his Beatle friends on this one.
GIMME FIVE: RINGO STARR SINGING SONGS BY THE OTHER BEATLES: As with the decades-old hit solo album for which it’s named, Starr’s Ringo 2012 includes an array of name guest stars. Unfortunately, unlike 1973’s Ringo, none of those friendly assists come from his fellow ex-Beatles. Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart and Kenny Wayne Shepherd are fine, and all. But the truth is, the combination of Starr and material written by Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison has provided Ringo with many (some might say most) of his career highlights. Here’s our take on the Top 5 — with five more honorable mentions.
RINGO STARR, “WALK WITH YOU” (2010): On “Y Not,” his 16th album, Ringo Starr offers a Beatles collaboration that closes the circle started with his solo career-making turn on George Harrison‘s “It Don’t Come Easy” from 1971. “Walk With You,” a duet with fellow bandmate Paul McCartney, finds the friendly bravado of Ringo’s best early records melting into a sadly appropriate melancholy — and not the put-on, aw-shucks kind so familiar from his youthful performances as a member of the Fab Four. Instead, “Walk With You” features perhaps the darkest, most mature chorus of any song he’s put out. McCartney’s vocal works in counterpoint, taking the high road, while Starr intertwines beside and underneath.
RINGO STARR, “HARRY’S SONG” (2008): Recent collaborations with the ultimately too-reverent producer Mark Hudson, were fun, but couldn’t be confused with creative triumph. Insert new producer and former Eurythmic Dave Stewart, however, and perhaps things would be different on Starr’s belated return to EMI Records, “Liverpool 8.” No masterpiece, mind you, but something more impressive than the simply affable, which was the best Ringo had mustered in years. I stayed away from the title track, since it promised yet another mawkish chronicle of Starr’s joining the Beatles. “Harry’s Song,” on the other hand, is everything you’d like a Ringo Starr song to be. That is, a Beatlesque track that’s not trying so hard.
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