Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Ringo Starr 7: Ringo The 4th

The regal title was supposed to be punny—this was Ringo’s fourth album of modern material, suggesting that Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups Of Blues (and of course, Blast From Your Past) didn’t count. But Ringo The 4th was actually a departure, as he eschewed the all-star (read: ex-Beatle or related) help and let producer Arif Mardin run the proceedings. There are still tons of top-line session players, though he did play the drums, augmented by Steve Gadd. He even co-wrote six of the songs with buddy Vini Poncia. But it was 1977, and that’s how we got a disco album.

“Drowning In The Sea Of Love”, a six-year-old hit for Joe Simon, gets the Philly soul approach, with the backing vocalists mixed as high as Ringo. They also dominate “Tango All Night”, which was actually released as a single in Argentina; when he intones “I-yi-yi,” you’ll be inclined to agree with the sentiment. “Wings” is one of the originals, and while it kinda rocks, we wonder whether Paul McCartney’s band had any influence on the title. His mopey delivery is just too much for “Gave It All Up”, a litany of life’s disappointments that somehow still has a happy ending. The line about sitting “with a couple of beers” is unfortunately believable, and the coda sports a motif stolen from a Bee Gees song from the year before. “Out On The Streets” manages to pick up the pace, but it’s still faceless, up until the very odd closing rap.

He gives his all for “Can She Do It Like She Dances”, but it’s still embarrassing to endure. While “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley” has nothing on Robert Palmer’s version, it actually fits Ringo okay, again, until he starts extemporizing over the fade. “It’s No Secret” is an inoffensive slice of yacht rock, and “Gypsies In Flight” is an even slower variation on the same melody. Finally, “Simple Love Song” wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t sound so much like “Philadelphia Freedom”.

Truly, if Ringo was his best album, Ringo The 4th is barely 25% as good, or as successful. His cachet was sinking fast, and the label didn’t pick up his option. And to think only three years before he was the hottest ex-Beatle on the charts.

Ringo Starr Ringo The 4th (1977)—2


  1. Great review of a fun album. Thank you for adding me to your Great Reviewers list wardo

  2. Another stellar review