Ringo Starr's version was released as a single in the US,[nb 1] on 3 December 1973, and in the UK,[nb 2] on 8 February 1974. In January 1974, the song, taken from the album Ringo, hit number one. The latter performance reunited Ringo Starr with his former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney. McCartney is credited on the liner notes of the album Ringo as having played the solo on a kazoo. But reviewer Michael Verity has quoted the song's producer, Richard Perry, as revealing it wasn't actually a kazoo. “In fact, the solo on ‘You’re Sixteen,’ which sounds like a kazoo or something, was Paul singing very spontaneously as we played that track back, so he’s singing the solo on that.” In any case, Starr's version remains one of the few #1 singles to feature a 'kazoo-sound' solo. Harry Nilsson sang backing vocals on Starr's version. Nicky Hopkins is heard playing the piano, including his going up and down the scale in the instrumental fade of the song. Also, the Ringo Starr version was in 6/8 time, compared to the original, which was in 2/4 time. In addition, in Ringo's version, the melody and the chords were different, in the Bridge Section, which led to a minor key, while the original version used all major keys.
The 1978 video of Starr's version features Carrie Fisher as Starr's love interest.