The ’70s were the golden age of the double A-side single, a curious little thing where a record company would release a single and promote both sides to radio, all in an effort to get listeners to trade up to the full album since, hey, two good songs on this 45, so why not? But for every “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” where both sides got equal acclaim, there were dozens more where one side was just a liiiittle better and got much more airplay. That’s the case with today’s entry, Ringo Starr’s double A-side single, “No No Song/Snookeroo.”
Plucked from Ringo’s fourth album, Goodnight Vienna, both songs were strong as Ringo tunes go, but it was “No No Song,” with its “no, no, no, I don’t *sniff* no mo‘” refrain that won the hearts of radio programmers and most of the public. Oldies radio stations still play it often — in fact, I heard it last week on Sirius Classic Vinyl. But I prefer the flip side, “Snookeroo” (download), an Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition that sounds just like, well, a John/Taupin song. Elton even plays piano on the rocking track, which sounds like it could have been plucked right off Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, released that same year.
While “No No Song” is one of those typical Ringo songs (by that I don’t mean it was written by Ringo, just that it was a country-flavored number bordering on novelty, like “Octopus’s Garden” or “Oh, My My”), but “Snookeroo’s” rollicking tale of a pool hall cad born the eve of Halloween has a “Crocodile Rock” feel that lifts it above the normal Ringo fare. Some radio stations did play the two in a row at the time, but most chose to spotlight “No No Song,” leaving poor “Snookeroo” lost in the ’70s.
Tangentally related observation: My favorite Stuttering John (former celebrity interviewer for the Howard Stern Show) moment was when he asked Ringo what he “(did) with the money” (What money? “The money your mother gave you for singing lessons”) and if it was difficult writing “It Don’t Come Easy.”
“Snookeroo” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart in 1975 as part of a double A-side with “No No Song.”
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