When The Beatles broke up many worried what Ringo would do. After all, despite being a world class Rock drummer, who possessed a charming personality and a lovable persona, he wasn't much of a singer and only just starting as a songwriter. Given Ringo's performances in the films "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" as well as "Candy," perhaps acting was Ringo's calling. His initial recordings certainly confirmed that notion. Ringo's debut solo album, a collection of standards called "Sentimental Journey," was pleasant enough but provided little hope for the future. The Country oriented follow-up "Beaucoup Of Blues," recorded with some of Nashville's best musicians, also failed to make much of an impression. But Ringo was in luck. He still had the goodwill of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
During The Beatles waning months Ringo was the only one without a significant axe to grind and he often served as an intermediary between The Beatle factions - usually (but not always) Paul versus John and George. Not that his efforts were all that successful (Paul threatened to "get" Ringo at one point) he was still well regarded by the other three. Lennon and McCartney (separately) wrote songs for Ringo, as did Harrison who also served as guitarist/producer. In addition, top flight producer Richard Perry was also enlisted. Ringo's album "Goodnight Vienna," ('74) had contributions by the other three Beatles (again separately) and Elton John. These combined efforts produced was a relatively long list of agreeable pop singles and one classic, the Ringo composed (Harrison produced), "It Don't Come Easy."
By the early '80s, no longer receiving as much help as he had (and having pushed his vocal talents to the limit), Ringo's recording career stalled. He continued to get some acting roles in lesser projects. It was on one of those films, the forgettable "Caveman" that Ringo met second wife Barbara Bach (who'd earlier been a James Bond siren). Both careers had seen better days. Having gone from his excellent work in "A Hard Day's Night" to his acceptable efforts in "Magic Christian," Ringo became the conductor's voice (a job he shared with comedian George Carlin - Ringo does it better) for two seasons ('84 -'86) on the "Thomas The Tank Engine Train" children's series.
In the '90s, Ringo launched Ringo's All-Starr Band, which toured extensively.
Ringo's 15th solo album, "Liverpool 8" was issued in '08. He co-wrote all the tracks and co-produced with Mark Hudson and Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart.
"Y Not" landed two years later. It was the first time Ringo produced an album. After not being heavily involved in the production of Beatles' records and having top-flight producers guide his solo work, Ringo felt now was the time to take the helm.
McCartney played on the set's lead single "Walk With You" which was co-written by Ringo and Van Dyke Parks (best known for his work with the Beach Boys). Also contributing their talents were Joe Walsh (Ringo's brother-in-law), Dave Stewart (again) and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' keyboardist Benmont Tench.
Aside from being one of Rock's greatest drummers, Ringo is also one of the most likable people in the music business. He approaches songs with an affable charm. It's something his ex-Beatle bandmates, as great as they were, never mastered. If Ringo had sung "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da it surely wouldn't be the grimace inducing song that it is.
Ringo's best song is "It Don't Come Easy." If you want more, "Blast From Your Past" delivers the hits and there are a good number of them. But ultimately, Ringo is a singles act. Another argument for "Blast From Your Past."
"Liverpool 8" is Ringo back in the '70s. Which is good. Accessible songs are presented in an engaging and friendly manner. Ringo is not a serious artist (and knows it) but he is a nice guy to have around. The Jeff Lynne styled production and songs that often reference "love" add to the nostalgic feeling. Then there's "Give It A Try" where Ringo does the Merseybeats and the ode to the late Harry Nielsen, "Harry's Song." But the premier track is easily "If It's Love That You Want."
Ringo has always been able to attract high quality supporting talent. "Y Not" features Walsh's stinging guitar. It's not as barbed as his Eagles work but it has bite. Of course, McCartney's contributions on "Walk With You" and bass on "Peace Dream" (a sentimental journey) can't be missed. Ringo is typically hopeful and optimistic on "Time" and "Everybody Wins." "The Other Side Of Liverpool" talks about youthful struggles and getting by with help from his mates. That track and "Who's Your Daddy" are really the only songs with a hard edge. On the latter, Ringo manages to hold his own with the British Soul/R&B singer Joss Stone (no small feat). The pair co-wrote the song. "Can't Do It Wrong" plays to Ringo's strengths as he strolls through this piano led Blues number.