You are currently viewing The Beatles solo album Ringo Starr was always proud of: “It’s a beautiful record”

The Beatles solo album Ringo Starr was always proud of: “It’s a beautiful record”

No artist is exempt from having pieces of garbage spread throughout their catalogue. You can fill your offices with yes men all you want, but every artist is going to have that one record that’s not going to have as much love as the heavy hitters that got their feet in the door. While Ringo Starr readily admitted that he would rather not revisit much of his session work, he still had warm feelings regarding his work on John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band.

Considering The Beatles had just broken up, there didn’t seem to be any bad blood between Lennon and Starr. If anything, Starr was the peacekeeper towards the end of the band’s run and tried to keep everyone in check, so having him there to add levity to every situation is probably the reason why they managed to remain somewhat cordial towards the end.

When Starr showed up to play with Lennon, he was a far more fragile version of the singer who had started the band. Lennon had been through intense therapy and was just discovering himself as a writer again, meaning he would have to rely on some of his fellow musicians to help him do the heavy lifting.

While Starr liked the idea of working on the record, he recalled that most of his job was doing as minimal work as possible, telling Classic Albums, “My role in regards to this album was a timekeeper. I mean, there’s the occasional lift in the track, but it was all about just laying it down.”

And somehow, that metronomic feel actually works pretty well. Outside of the occasional lively track like ‘I Found Out’, Starr plays as if he’s trying to illustrate everything that Lennon is saying. In a song like ‘God’, those chaotic drum fills as Lennon renounces every part of himself tend to feel like a weight being lifted off his shoulders every time he plays.

While the other Beatles had already released their solo material by the time Lennon got around to making Plastic Ono Band, it still holds up as one of the greatest albums that any of the former Beatles ever made. There are certainly some rough edges to it, but if you look at where rock and roll went after it, there’s a clear line from this to the sounds of grunge and alternative decades later.

Although the rest of the band were still involved in bad business deals, Starr still felt proud to have made something honouring his former bandmate, saying, “I’d like to not be interviewed about a lot of records, but this I don’t mind because it’s a beautiful record, and he was a beautiful man, and I feel privileged to feel that he was my friend.”

More than anything, Lennon’s first proper solo album of pop-centric material may be one of the most human albums ever made. Other Beatles records may have let you know about John Lennon as a songwriter, but if you want to know about who he was as a person, this is the first place you should go.

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