When Ringo Starr’s single got some help from an old Beatles friend


In the early 1970s, when the Beatles were on the verge of separation, Ringo Starr visited the home of Paul McCartney at the request of his three comrades at Apple headquarters. Would Paul delay the release of his first solo album until the arrival of Never mind album and film?

In short, Paul’s answer to Ringo was: “No”. But it didn’t stop there. In addition to his categorical rejection of Ringo’s request, Paul threw Ringo out of his property and threatened to “finish” him. Needless to say, Ringo and Paul wouldn’t have tea and cup records together anytime soon.

However, Ringo has maintained strong relationships with John Lennon and George Harrison. During John’s solo debut in 1970, you will find Ringo in the drummer’s seat. That same year, you found Ringo playing on tracks for George’s three-disc blockbuster, Everything must pass.

When it came time for Ringo to test the waters with his own solo work, George was more than ready to help. And the song he produced and helped Ringo write in 1970 became a hit for the former Beatles drummer the following year.

George Harrison produced and co-wrote Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy”

George Harrison on guitar and Ringo Starr on drums at the 1971 Bangladesh concert | Thomas Monaster / NY Daily News via Getty Images

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In March 70, music fans got a first glimpse of Ringo’s solo work on Sentimental Journey, a pop standards album that has sold fairly well. Later that year, audiences heard their first post-Beatles work with the single “Lots of Blues” recorded in Nashville (and the album of the same name).

This version did not set the cards on fire. (The album peaked at number 65 on the Billboard 200 in the late 1970s.) But Ringo easily overcame this effort with his next single, “It Don’t Come Easy”. With George Harrison as an uncredited producer and co-writer, the song launched Ringo’s solo career.

I thought the single didn’t go on the air until April 1971, the recording started Sentimental Journey sessions of the previous year. It was then that George helped Ringo write and organize the song. According to the opening notes, it looks like a track that could have appeared on Everything must pass.

The identity of the guitarist (George) needed no investigation and the old friend Klaus Voormann played bass with Stephen Stills for a piano part. He had the makings of a hit after the first 30 seconds, and George’s guitar solo pushed him over the top.

‘It Don’t Come Easy’ ranks 4th on both sides of the Atlantic

Ringo Starr and George Harrison in 1967
Ringo Starr and George Harrison pose at the session “All you need is love”. | Cummings / Redferns Archives

It is difficult to listen to “It Don’t Come Easy” and to downplay the influence of George Harrison. His stamp is present on all aspects of the track, but he also made sure to bring out the best in Ringo. Music fans around the world agreed and Ringo scored his biggest success to date.

“It Don’t Come Easy” reached first place in Canada and peaked in fourth place in the United States and the United Kingdom. At the same time, it has had the same kind of success in Europe, Africa and Australia. In short, Ringo arrived as a solo artist with this track. And he continued his momentum with “Back Off Boogaloo” (also co-written with George) the following year.

So why didn’t George take credit for songwriting? There is compelling theory that George wanted to give his boyfriend’s solo career a boost, so he actually gave it to him. In the late 1990s, a few years before George’s death, Ringo presented a performance of “It Don’t Come Easy”, revealing that he had written it with his old friend Beatle.

RELATED: When Ringo Starr 1st felt like an equal member of the Beatles


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