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, though at the time Carrie Fisher was 22 years old (born 1956).
In 2017, the song was connected to the Roy Moore controversy when Breitbart editor Joel Pollak, during an interview on CNN, said: "You know, in 1973, Ringo Starr hit No. 1 on the billboard charts with the song 'You're 16, You're Beautiful and You're Mine,'" Pollak said. "(Starr) was 30-something at the time, singing about a 16-year-old. You want to take away Ringo Starr's achievement?"
An instrumental version of the song was used in the film "some Kind of Wonderful", (1987), where the older generation was dancing to the tune, until a group of motorcyclists arrive interrupting the reception with their own younger generation tune.