Ringo Rama

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Ringo Rama
Original album artwork by Mark Hudson
Studio album by Ringo Starr
Released 25 March 2003
Recorded 2002
Whatinthewhatthe? Studios, Los Angeles;
Rocca Bella, Village Recorder, London
Genre Rock
Length 49:52
Label Koch
Producer Mark Hudson, Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr chronology
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Ringo & His New All-Starr Band
(2002)
Ringo Rama
(2003)
Extended Versions
(2003)
Singles from Ringo Rama
  1. "Never Without You"
    Released: 3 March 2003
  2. "Imagine Me There"
    Released: 2003 (promo only)

Ringo Rama is Ringo Starr's 12th studio album and was released in 2003.

Background and recording[edit]

They actually gave the Christmas album no support. We have now parted company due to their incompetence, they let me go. I'm hoping to record another studio album [...] and I'm hoping it will be on any label other than Mercury.[1]

– Ringo Starr, discussing his choice of leaving Mercury, 2000

As the follow-up to I Wanna Be Santa Claus (1999), it continues Starr's alliance with Mark Hudson as well as most of his collaborators from that last project. Not straying too far from his tried and tested formula, Starr engaged the services of some of his famous musician friends for Ringo Rama. Annoyed that Mercury had not put enough promotion towards I Wanna Be Santa Claus,[2] Starr left the label in 2000.[1] Contributors this time around include Willie Nelson, Charlie Haden, Van Dyke Parks, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, Shawn Colvin, Timothy B. Schmit, and Eric Clapton.[3] Gilmour and Clapton's availability was down to the fact of living close-by to Starr, as he commented, "People would ask, "So who's on the record?" and we'd say, "Just a couple of local guys. You know, like Eric Clapton and Dave Gilmour." Because they do both live just around the corner."[4] Recording had taken place at Starr's recording studio in London, Rocca Bella, and Hudson's Whatinthewhatthe? Studios in Los Angeles, with the sessions being produced by Starr, Hudson and Gary Nicholson.[3]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Starr commented that the opening track, "Eye to Eye", sounded "like there's a war going on and we're trying to make it a war of love."[5] "Missouri Loves Company", a play on words of misery loves company, was written quickly after Dean Grakal thought of the title phrase.[6] The song features Gilmour on guitar.[5] "Instant Amnesia" features, as Starr mentions, "some of the best drumming I've ever played in the last ten, fifteen years."[7] "Memphis in Your Mind" references several Sun Studio arists, such as Elvis Presley and Orbison.[1] With George Harrison's late 2001 passing before Ringo Rama was started, Starr composed "Never Without You" in tribute to his friend,[8] having Clapton perform the guitar solo duties.[9] The song originally started out as a tribute to John Lennon and Harry Nilsson, but Starr thought the song was getting "too messy".[8] After choosing to focus solely on Harrison, lines from Harrison's songs—"Within You Without You","Here Comes the Sun and All Things Must Pass"—were included.[8] Starr asked Clapton based on his stature as a friend to both Starr and Harrison: "We're all good friends. So I asked Eric to play and he said 'yeah'."[8] "Imagine Me There" started out based off the line "You are that to me", Gary Burr told Starr that he couldn't have that line in a country song, Starr proceed to tell him: "Yes I can say it—and if I sing it, it will be country!".[10]

Starr wanted to include a Roy Orbison "growl" on the song "I Think Therefore I Rock and Roll", and proceeded to call Orbison's widow, Barbara Orbison; she sent him a "growl" on a CD, with a message "I'm sending over a growl".[11] The song also features Gilmour on guitar.[5] The title for "Trippin' on My Own Tears" came about during a night out between Starr and Hudson when Hudson said "I was trippin' on my own tears, I was so down" and Starr replied "That's just a great line".[12] The country-influenced "Write One for Me" was a duet with Willie Nelson,[4] who sang on it at Starr's suggestion.[nb 1][13] Starr had a phone call with his lawyer, who was also Hudson's lawyer, to "tell them to write one for me, so they did—but they wrote a song with that as the title!"[10] At that point the song was unfinished, but was later finished when they got together.[10] The song is about a boy who gets nervous to tell a girl that she's right for him, and unable to write down his feelings, the boy meets a person in a bar and gets the person write the boy's feelings down.[13] Inquired if "Love First, Ask Questions Later" was like another part of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", Starr responded that the song is how he feels "the world should be and my hope that we all might stay in love."[12]

It was a lot of fun. You put four guys in the room, and the main battle was trying not to write about the woman who left us! Anybody says a line [and] we can write a song about it.[10]

– Ringo Starr, on songwriting for the album, 2003

"Elizabeth Reigns" came about while Starr and Dean Grakal were recording at Rocca Bella Studio, some time before Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.[14] Asking Starr what ER stood for, Grakal proceeded to start on a song, with Starr exclaiming "I'm not going to sing about the Queen."[14] "English Garden", which mentions Starr's wife Barbara Bach and their dog Buster, includes in the final part some verses taken from Paul McCartney's "Let 'Em In".[12] Starr explained: "That always happens when you're sittin' in the garden, doesn't it? So I just put [the lines] in and called Paul for permission. He said, 'Sure.' He knew about it ahead of time."[12] After looking at several albums where one artist would record all the instruments for a particular song, Starr wanted to do just that, and the result was the track "I Really Love Her".[15]

Release[edit]

On 20 May 2002, Starr signed a recording contract with Koch.[16] Released by Koch on 25 March 2003,[nb 2][18] Ringo Rama managed a number 113 peak in the US on the Billboard 200, his first album in the 21st century to do so.[19] The album also charted at number 6 on the Top Independent Albums chart in the US.[10] The first 100,000 copies included a DVD of the recording sessions.[nb 3][3] To help promote the album and the "Never Without You" single, Starr appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in the US on 13 March.[20] During a show arranged for the press on 22 March, Starr and The Roundheads performed "Memphis in Your Mind" and "Never Without You", at the Bottom Line Club in New York City.[20] Starr again performed "Never Without You" for The Conan O'Brien Show on 25 March; later that day for MTV's Total Request Live; and for Good Morning America on 9 April.[20] On 21 October it was announced that a 3-disc version of the album would be released on 11 November, and included three bonus tracks, an interview disc and a DVD containing a "Making Of" documentary and the music video for "Never Without You".[nb 4][21] The bonus tracks were "OK Ray", "I'm Home" and "Blink",[21] all of which were recorded for a movie.[3]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[22]
The Essential Rock Discography 6/10[23]
PopMatters (favourable)[24]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[25]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[26]

AOL Radio rated "Never Without You" at number 5 on their top 10 Starr songs list.[27]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Eye to Eye" (Richard Starkey/Mark Hudson/Steve Dudas/Dean Grakal) – 3:19
  2. "Missouri Loves Company" (Starkey/Hudson/Dudas/Grakal) – 3:33
  3. "Instant Amnesia" (Starkey/Hudson/Dudas/Grakal) – 5:12
  4. "Memphis in Your Mind" (Starkey/Hudson/Gary Burr/Dudas/Grakal) – 3:13
  5. "Never Without You" (Starkey/Hudson/Gary Nicholson) – 5:24
  6. "Imagine Me There" (Starkey/Hudson/Burr) – 3:55
  7. "I Think Therefore I Rock and Roll" (Starkey/Hudson/Grakal/Paul Santo) – 3:25
  8. "Trippin' on My Own Tears" (Starkey/Hudson/Burr/Grakal) – 3:31
  9. "Write One for Me" (Starkey/Hudson/Burr) – 3:14
  10. "What Love Wants to Be" (Starkey/Hudson/Burr) – 3:03
  11. "Love First, Ask Questions Later" (Starkey/Hudson/Burr/Grakal) – 4:45
  12. "Elizabeth Reigns" (Starkey/Hudson/Burr/Dudas/Grakal) – 3:57
  13. "English Garden" (Starkey/Hudson/Burr/Dudas/Grakal) – 3:17
    • Concludes with a verse from the Wings song "Let 'Em In"
    • Includes a hidden track entitled "I Really Love Her" (Starkey/Hudson)

Deluxe edition additions[edit]

  1. "Blink" (Starkey/Hudson/Dudas/Grakal) – 2:52
  2. "OK Ray" (Starkey/Hudson/Dudas/Hart/Foote) – 3:02
  3. "I'm Home" (Starkey/Hudson/Dudas) – 3:23
Extra CD

Ringo Rama Radio Hour Interview – approx 59 min

Extra DVD

Ringo Rama Limited Edition DVD – approx 70 min

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per booklet.[28]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2003) Position
US Billboard 200[29] 113
US Billboard Top Independent Albums[30] 6

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Starr had previously dabbled in the country genre with the Beatles' cover of "Act Naturally" on Help! (1965), a song originally recorded by Buck Owens,[10] and the Beaucoups of Blues album (1970).[4]
  2. ^ US Koch 038,411-0[17]
  3. ^ US Koch KOC CD 8429[3]
  4. ^ US Koch KOC-CD-9533
Citations
  1. ^ a b c Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 246. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  2. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 232. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 284. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  4. ^ a b c Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 287. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  5. ^ a b c Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 286. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  6. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 247. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  7. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 223. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  8. ^ a b c d Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 253. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  9. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 174. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Bessman, Jim (12 April 2003). "Words & Music". Billboard 115 (15): 30. 
  11. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 220. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  12. ^ a b c d Righi, Len (29 July 2003). "Ringo Starr rises to his own defense". The Morning Call (Allentown, PA). Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 370. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  14. ^ a b Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 195. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  15. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 219. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  16. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 169. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  17. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 283. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  18. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 186. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  19. ^ Bronson, Fred (12 April 2003). "Chart Beat". Billboard 115 (15): 72. 
  20. ^ a b c Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 170. ISBN 9780753508435. 
  21. ^ a b "KOCH Entertainment to Re-release Ringo Starr's Critically Acclaimed 'Ringo Rama' Album as a Deluxe 3-Disc Set". PR Newswire. 21 October 2003. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Ringo Rama at AllMusic
  23. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 1028. ISBN 978-184195-827-9. 
  24. ^ Williams, Adam (15 July 2003). "Ringo Starr: Ringo Rama". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 29 July 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  25. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (8 April 2003). "Ringo Starr: Ringo Rama : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 23 September 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  26. ^ Brackett, Nathan, with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside. p. 777. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  27. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (1 April 2010). "10 Best Ringo Starr Songs". AOL Radio Blog. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  28. ^ Ringo Rama (Booklet). Ringo Starr. Koch, Koch Entertainment LP. 2003. 038 411-0, 038 412-2, 038 413-9. 
  29. ^ "Ringo Starr - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Ringo Starr - Chart history (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 27, 2013.