All posts tagged: Ringo Starr



Objectivity be damned; this is The Beatles we’re talking about.  The single, most important cultural entity to happen in my lifetime; merely a rock and roll band who re-shaped traditions – musically and on a grander, far deeper social scale.  But not to quickly digress, they also made the most memorable and beloved music in modern history.  Two of them are now dead and they continue to live on as new, younger generations are finding them/finding out about them and how crucial they were and are, most importantly, musically. So here’s another repacking with a neat addition.  The stripped down and wildly successful 1 collection (originally released in 2000) has now been remastered and reissued with a restored DVD/Bluray set of the band’s promo films – some actually shot when the Fabs were a going entity – to create 1+.  The pictures are sharper than before; the sound is dynamic and, of course, the music is just as thrilling now as it was then. From the CD edition, you get all the singles that reached …

This Thomas Land is at Drayton Manor Theme Park in the U.K., and it's coming to America next year, whether we want it to or not.

Thomas Land is coming! You’ve been warned

Yes, there were times as a toddler when my son Tim, now 12, would have fits in the supermarket, or demand to be carried for hours on end, or point at things and grunt and expect immediate service, like some rich mute person making demands of his butler. (Actually he still kind of does that last one, but I don’t hop to it like I used to. At least not as fast.) But one thing I still thank him for was his taste in children’s television. My daughter went through a Barney phase that I’m convinced left pockets of saccharine in my brain that exist there to this day — that show was a prime example of what happens when you let PhDs design a television show. (Spoiler alert: Nothing good.) But Timmy had good taste right from the start, almost immediately developing an affinity for Sesame Street and, even more so, the Henson Co.-produced “Bear in the Blue House.” Getting to watch those shows almost made it worth being his butler. Here’s a whole episode …


10 Movies About…Cavemen (To Prepare You for ‘The Croods’)

Dreamworks’ CGI caveman spectacular The Croods comes out on Friday. It’s the first big animated movie of the year, but it’s hardly the first time a bunch of modern(ized) stone-age characters have hit the big screen. Here are 10 more of the best caveman movies in (pre)history. Caveman (1981) Ringo Starr in the role he was born to play: that of a monosyllabic caveman. Co-written and directed by Carl Gottlieb (he wrote The Jerk and played Iron Balls McGinty), it’s a pretty funny story of a misfit caveman who must defeat a relatively powerful caveman to get the girl. The cavegirl is played by Barbara Bach, who Ringo landed in real life, too. The History of the World Part I (1981) Only the first segment “The Dawn of Men” from Mel Brooks’ exhaustive documentation of civilization applies, but we do get to learn much, such as that cavemen had gay marriage, art critics who hated cave paintings, and that music consisted of dropping rocks on feet and enjoying the screams. One Million Years B.C. (1966) …

The back cover of Let It Be fittingly shows the darker side of its sun-drenched front cover photos.

The #1 Albums: The Beatles’ “Let It Be”

“I’ll finish you all now! You’ll pay!” So said Paul McCartney to Ringo Starr when Ringo tried to convince Paul to hold his solo album release so it wouldn’t conflict with the release of Let It Be. In a court affidavit describing the incident, Ringo said Paul “told me to put my coat on and get out” of his house. At Ringo’s urging, John and George relented, and Let It Be was shelved for a couple of weeks. And with a head start, McCartney reached #1 on the Billboard 200 before Let It Be dethroned it, on June 13, 1970. Let It Be held the top spot for four weeks, the shortest run of any Beatles album to hit #1 except for Anthology 2 in 1996. Although Let It Be was recorded before Abbey Road, it has the feeling of an album patched together out of bits and pieces, the sort of thing bands release as a stopgap or a last gasp. In early 1969, when the band’s squabbles were at their hottest, it looked as …

Beyond being a detail from the cover of "McCartney," we're not sure what this is, either.

The #1 Albums: “McCartney”

It must be great to be Paul McCartney. All that fame, all that money. And it must be terrible, too, because you have to compete with Paul McCartney, and a reputation that will last until the end of time. It’s been that way from the beginning. In 1970, at the precise moment the Beatles were making public their inevitable split, Paul released a solo album, McCartney, which was instantly compared to his previous work, and found wanting. John Lennon and George Harrison didn’t like it. Many critics didn’t care for it, either. Too ragged, too full of half-baked ideas, lacking the hook-laden sound everyone expected from a Beatle. Almost 43 years later, it’s easy to hear what they were talking about. But you can also hear it as a declaration of independence—here’s what interests me, Paul is saying, here’s what’s important to me now. Let John and Phil Spector do whatever grandiose thing they’re doing to Let It Be—I’m unplugging over here. Three tracks on the album stand out: “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which got a …


The Boy: Remembering Songwriter Robert Sherman

It’s not fair that it sometimes takes a death to rouse us from our collective unconsciousness and pay respect to someone who deserves it. Before the news cycle started spinning today, many may have not known or forgotten the name of Robert B. Sherman, the New York City-born songwriter who, with younger brother Richard, wrote countless songs for film, television and other entertainment.But we know their songs. Had the Sherman brothers retired after their song score for Walt Disney’s classic Mary Poppins (1964) won a pair of Oscars, they’d deserve a place in 20th century music history. They did not, of course – in a career that lasted half a century, the Shermans wrote prolifically for Disney films, including The Parent Trap (1961), The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970) and The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh (1977); several major children’s film soundtracks including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and Tom Sawyer (1973), and a host of unforgettable tunes still heard throughout the attractions at Disney parks worldwide, from the uplifting “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” in the Carousel of Progress …


Greatest Un-Hits: Paul McCartney’s “Young Boy” (1997)

The Beatles are kind of always in the not-distant background, as they are the goddamn Beatles. But every five years or so, there’s a major resurgence in Beatles interest, popularity, and nostalgia. It generally revolves around a new reissue (the 1 collection), reworking (Let It Be…Naked), documentary (George Harrison: Living in the Material World), or tangential player (the brief popularity of Julian Lennon). But the biggest Beatles surge in recent memory has to be ABC’s Beatles Anthology documentary series, and the accompanying set of three double-disc Anthology albums of rare Beatles cuts, demos, and early stuff. All three albums hit #1. The documentary topped the ratings. The thing was parodied on The Dana Carvey Show. 

But the most exciting thing about this Beatles rehash, unlike all the other Beatles rehashes, was that it actually contained real, actual, new Beatles music. Using very (very) rough unfinished John Lennon solo demos, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and the other one, Robert something, convened and recorded full instrumental and backing vocal tracks …

So Who is Harry Nilsson, Anyway?

Fewer people are asking that question these days thanks to the 2006 documentary which, against all odds, John Scheinfeld spent several years assembling and which seemed to take even longer before it finally started playing- first at film festivals, then via a most-welcome DVD release last year. Most of the hardcore Nilsson fans watched the DVD months ago, but if you’ve been holding out, has made it available for streaming online, for a limited time only. Now’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about, if you haven’t already. Harry Nilsson was a lot of things- genius singer-songwriter, Beatle friend, businessman, charismatic hell-raiser of legendary proportions, activist, loving family man- and this documentary manages to touch on all of the varied aspects of the man’s life and legacy. Through interview segments with a host of his surviving friends, collaborators and acquaintances- Richard Perry, Van Dyke Parks, Eric Idle, Jimmy Webb, Terry Gilliam, May Pang, Micky Dolenz, Yoko Ono, widow Una to name but a few- Scheinfeld paints a portrait of a man …

Here’s Something Else!: Presenting The Beatles, At Long Last … In Concert!

The Beatles, just as their creativity went supernova, quit the road in 1966 — frustrated over the inability of that period’s sound systems to amplify the increasingly complex work spinning around on your turntables and in their heads. Even after their breakup, the Beatles’ individual members spent the bulk of the following decades building their own solo careers, not looking back. Next came the untimely twin deaths of John Lennon in 1980, after more than five years out of the spotlight, and then the similarly reclusive George Harrison in late 2001. That all combines to make a Beatles concert setlist difficult to compile, and necessarily subjective. It doesn’t include as much from Lennon as we’d hoped. He rarely performed live, even more rarely performed Beatles tunes and, of course, met an untimely end before the oldies money-fests of today. (All due respect, Ringo.) But it’s not impossible.