Photograph by Ringo Starr (Apple, 1973)

John, Paul & George breathed a sigh of relief and voiced their praise when Ringo’s It Don’t Come Easy hit the Top 10 in early 1971. His success put the other 3 guys at ease about their solo careers. Not because they thought Ringo sucked, but because he was as seasoned a songwriter as the other 3. Plus they knew he would need help, since he only play the drums, where the other 3 played any number of instruments.

So when Ringo was recording his follow-up album to Beaucoup of Blues, he enlisted the help of all three Beatles who worked separately on a different tracks. (All 4 do not appear together on any track on the album) George’s influence seemed to shine through the most, especially on Ringo’s 1st #1 hit, Photograph. It’s almost as if George asked Ringo to sing lead on a cut from one of his albums. Ringo concentrated on singing and shared drum duty with Jim Keltner. And although, he shares co-writing credit on this tune, he acknowledges that George was just being nice and that maybe he suggested a few things, but this was pretty much a George Harrison track. Just as you can feel Paul’s’ goofiness via a kazoo solo on You’re Sixteen, George’s 12 string & vocals are stamped on Photograph.

That’s why it’s my favorite Ringo 45. Photograph was the closest we were ever gonna get to a Beatles collaboration. And if you disqualify All Those Years Ago, the John Lennon elegy written by George and featuring the 3 remaining members, it’s the only quality one we would hear.
It’s very different than any others in the Richard Starkey catalogue. He seemed to either favor covers or silly sounding songs and that can really only take you so far.

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