The Beatles. 600 million record sales worldwide. Selling more records than Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones combined—dwarfing the likes of Black Sabbath, KISS and Metallica. Need I say more? The Beatles were a powerhouse back in the day, and continue to influence modern music culture. I was born 26 years after they broke up, yet I know all of the band’s biggest hits. Liverpool may as well be renamed Beatles Land with the amount of attractions and bus tours centralised around the Fab Four.
Ringo Starr joined The Beatles two years after the band formed, replacing Pete Best on the drums. Turns out Pete wasn’t the best, Ringo was. Eight years in the band set him up and laid the foundations for a very successful solo career. A knighthood, as well as an induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame is not to be snuffed at.
Ringo released his 20th studio album What’s My Name on October 25th 2019, featuring Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart and Colin Hay. Joe was the guitarist from the Eagles, famously playing the guitar solo from ‘Hotel California.’ Dave is a guitarist best known for his work in Eurythmics, while Colin was formerly the lead vocalist from Men at Work. Stellar lineup, I must to say.
The album features 10 new tracks, all of which have simple, repetitive, ‘Beatlesque’ lyrics. Ringo isn’t trying to be new. There’s a lot of old-school because Ringo is old-school, and I think that’s the best part of the album. He’s bringing old world into the new world, providing a musical extension to a bygone era. All the songs are reminiscent of either ’60s, ’70s or ’80s rock, evidently showcasing the collaborators’ longevity in the industry.
Sometimes, the best way to get an accurate picture of a new song’s vibe is to compare it to some of the most well-known songs in history (if you can). Ringo’s ‘Gotta Get Up to Get Town’ is super psychedelic and old-rock, but reminds me of the Bee Gees’ ‘Stayin’ Alive.’ ‘It’s Not Love That You Want’ is a harmonic, Beatlesque tune that’s reminiscent of The Stones’ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.’ The new Ringo song features the line “it’s not love that you want, it’s love that you need”. That’s sure to transport you back to 1969. ‘Life is Good’ also stays in the same decade, mirroring a Beatles’ ‘She Loves You.’ The line “my, oh my! Life is good when you’re around!” is so pure-natured, it has to be from a mind-set pre-1970s.
Prepare to fast-forward to the ’80s with Ringo’s ‘Magic’ and ‘What’s My Name.’ ‘Magic’ is probably one of my favourite tracks from the album, sounding like a blend of ‘You’re my Best Friend’ by Queen and the Full House theme song. It’s a good foot-tapper and includes those simple, repetitive lyrics that we all know and love so much. When ‘What’s My Name’ cracked out the harmonica, ‘Nutbush City Limits’ was the first thing that came to mind. I suppose when you’ve been in the industry for almost 60 years, you carry those 60 years with you.
My favourite track of the album, next to ‘Magic,’ has to be ‘Money.’ The track is actually a cover, originally performed by The Flying Lizards, and famously known for being in the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack. I’m so glad Ringo did this, because he practically transported The Flying Lizards into the ’60s and made them wear miniskirts and go-go boots.
If you say you were born in the wrong generation, maybe this one is for you. What’s My Name is basically three decades on a silver platter, with a bonus ’90s cover, and it’s all brand new. You can’t get much better than that. As it turns out, once a Starr, always a Starr.
What’s My Name is out now and you can purchase it here.
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