For whatever reason — he was the only one they could get along with? he loved working with his old pals more than the others did? 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. It’s no surprise, then, that the playlist for our Beatles Post-1970 Reunion Album is somewhat Starr struck.
As per usual with More Perfect Playlists, we’ve put this one together like their real albums, alternating voices and styles — requiring that at least two Beatles appear on every track.
Call this one …
All Those Years Ago (George Harrison, with Ringo and Paul, 1981)
Oh My Love (John, with George, 1971)
Not Such a Bad Boy (Paul McCartney, with Ringo; produced by George Martin, 1984)
It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo, with George, 1971)
Crippled Inside (John, with George, 1971)
If Not For You (George, with Ringo, 1970)
Beautiful Night (Paul, with Ringo, produced by Martin; 1997)
The first of two now-expected Big Finish Songs on each side, beginning with the classic Beatles-esque false stop on McCartney/Starr’s Martin-produced “Beautiful Night.” Martin is also at the helm for McCartney/Starr’s “Not Such A Bad Boy,” a rare highlight on among the needless remakes on Give My Regards to Broadstreet.
“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.
How Do You Sleep? (John, with George, 1971)
Beware of Darkness (George, with Ringo, 1970)
Take It Away (Paul, with Ringo; produced by Martin, 1982)
Really Love You (Paul, with Ringo, 1997)
I’m the Greatest (Ringo, with John and George, 1974)
Real Love (John, with Paul, George and Ringo, 1995)
When We Was Fab (George, with Ringo, 1987)
Could there be a better way to begin our second side than with Lennon/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. Then we allowed McCartney/Starr to inject some humor into the situation with the really fun “Really Love You” — which was completely improv, by the way. Performing again on Flaming Pie, this is Paul and Ringo’s first-ever co-songwriting credit.
We began and concluded Beautiful Night with Harrison’s looks back — 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 as it reminds us of its sweet, loopy pleasures.
In the end, it’s clear that as they got more comfortable in solo careers, the Beatles performed fewer and fewer times with their old buddies. Our album includes seven songs from the 1970s, four from the 1980s, and just three (counting the Three-tles redo, “Real Love”) from the 1990s. Unfortunately, with Lennon and Harrison’s untimely passings, this is as close as we’ll ever get again.