Friday, June 29, 2012

The Ladders

During the course of 1972, Ringo had become fast friends with Harry Nilsson and his producer, Richard Perry. When Ringo decided it was time to record his first solo LP of pop/rock material, he turned to Perry, whose past efforts with artists ranging from Fats Domino to Tiny Tim were much admired by Ringo.

On February 28th, Ringo and Maureen flew to the US, where he and Harry were co-presenters at the Grammy Awards in Nashville on March 3rd:

Foruitously, The Concert For Bangla Desh won the Grammy for Album of the Year that night, and Ringo was happy to accept on behalf of George and the other participants:

Two days later, he and Harry flew on to Los Angeles to begin work at Sunset Sound Studios on what would become the Ringo LP. During their stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel on March 10th, both Ringo and Richard Perry taped radio spots for an anti-drug campaign.

The industrious team, abetted by Klaus Voormann, Nicky Hopkins, and Jim Keltner, completed the backing for eight songs in just under two weeks. George dropped by to land a hand on his composition "Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond)" and his co-write with Ringo, "Photograph".

But is was the events of March 13th that would make jaws drop at Sunset Sound and find the music world abuzz for weeks thereafter. John had been uncharacteristically quiet for several months while Yoko recorded and promoted her own album, Approximately Infinite Universe. They had arrived in Los Angeles in early February, ostensibly for Apple business (such as the Red/Blue albums, and to discuss Allen Klein's management contract, which was set to expire at the end of March), but John must have itching to play some rock and roll.

Naturally, he socialized with Ringo (they took their wives and Richard Perry to see Last Tango In Paris one evening) and was impressed by what he heard at the sessions, particularly George's numbers. So on the night of the 13th, he offered up a song he had been working on since 1970, "I'm The Greatest", which seemed perfect for the occasion.

With Billy Preston sitting in on organ, it was January 1969 all over again; John played piano and sang a guide vocal, while Ringo drummed, George played guitar, and Klaus filled in on bass:

Although Paul hadn't been present, and John flew back to New York the next day, rumors began to emanate from Los Angeles that all four Beatles were secretly recording a reunion album there. The craziness would only ratchet up a notch when Paul added his contribution to the album back in London the following month.


  1. Great pic of John and Klaus! And great clip of Ringo and Harry!

  2. Mr. Winn, I have to say I think I've lost it now for sure....last night, I actually was DREAMING about this blog!!!! I can't tell you much about it other than I was on it, looking at the screen, and was excited about that was posted (not too far from reality!) (in fact, EXACTLY like reality!!)

    So, congratulations, your hard work has penetrated the subconscious!!!! The world has turned so is so tedious.....but the blog keeps me/us going! The Patron Saint of Beatlepeople, that's what you are!

    And so, I have two esoteric questions for you (or anyone else who cares to answer):

    1.) Just saw a great documentary about Joe Meek that is on You Tube. Does anyone know if Brian ever approached Joe Meek to get the group signed/recorded?? (i'm sure he didn't, and I never heard of it, but watching the documentary, it would seem Meek would have been a logical person to approach....and I know at least George Harrison (the guitarist, not the Liverpool Echo columnist!) was aware of him in one of the interviews you've posted, from '64.

    2.) I know that In His Own Write includes stuff John wrote when he was younger. Does anyone know which pieces were from pre-fame days? I think on "Hear The Beatles Tell All", he mentions "No Flies On Frank" is older, though I could be wrong about that.

    Lastly: I would have loved to have heard the post-movie conversation of Ringo, Maureen and Richard Perry, after seeing Last Tango!!!!

    Dinsdalep Forever!!!!!

  3. I was under the impression that the majority of the stuff that appeared in "In His Own Write" was actually material that first appeared in Bill Harry's "Merseybeat", except for maybe a few new pieces. I could be wrong, though. I've never read all the Merseybeats.