Dad's Favorite Albums: Ringo Starr's RINGO [1973]

We all have many people in our lives to be thankful for this week of giving thanks. I am extremely thankful for everyone in my life while only a little less thankful for all the ones that have come and gone, leaving their mark on me whether I realize it or not. Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday but I appreciate the traditions so many others look forward to with relish. Not a fan of turkey, stuffing, yams or the cranberry-whatever-the-heck-that-is. My own father seemed to live for family gatherings and enjoyed his role as family patriarch. This will be our first Holiday Season without Dad but we'll always have the memories and the music. Thanks, Dad.
I've probably mentioned it a few times here and there, but some of my earliest memories are of me tagging along on quests with my Dad. Quests for books, quests for music, and quests for car parts. Today's album is one of those quest memories. The year 1973 found the entire country including my own recently returned from Vietnam father engulfed in a comforting wave of nostalgia for the 1950s and 1960s, a generation's proverbial "good old days".
As I remember it, Dad heard a contemporary cover of one his favorite jukebox songs from the Sixties on the radio one weekend and we spent the next weekend tracking down that song. At one stop, he managed to find out it was Ringo Starr who sang the new version of "You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful (And You're Mine)" and it was from his newest album, simply titled Ringo. But it was sold out the next few places we stopped. (I don't know if he ever asked about the 45 but more than a decade later I bought it for him.)
Our quest ended in success as we listened to the 8-track of Ringo all the way back home on Carswell AFB, Fort Worth, TX. Fortunately for my beleaguered memory, the tape only sacrificed the song "Step Lightly" to the big KA-CHUNK! as the third program switched to the fourth program on the tape so when I later acquired the album on vinyl, my memory was only slightly altered. (Turns out that the song "Six O'Clock" was longer on the tape that it was on the vinyl, too, but I didn't listen to it often enough to know the difference.) If I had to guess, I think this particular quest would have been in the middle of November 1973.
Though I had probably heard the first single "Photograph" before on Top 40 radio, it never made an impression until I heard it over and over on this tape in Dad's Chevelle and around the house. It has a certain romance and charm that only have served to make it more of a favorite as I have grown and matured but the song remains the same. The song deservedly topped the charts in September 1973. "You're Sixteen" was the second single and it stands as a more rockin' version than Burnette's original crooner and strings version, which was included on the American Graffiti soundtrack. Even Paul McCartney's "vocal sax solo" on Ringo's update couldn't keep the song from also topping the Hot 100 which it did in January 1974. The album's third single "Oh My My" was a Top 5 song and remains one of my favorites. When it came time for me to buy my first Ringo Starr album, I naturally bought Ringo followed shortly thereafter by the first Starr compilation, 1975's Blast From Your Past. But when it came time to buy my first Ringo Starr album on compact disc, I reversed the order and bought the compilation first and then Ringo but that was mostly because that was the way they were released, with Blast From Your Past coming out in 1988 and Ringo following with three bonus tracks in 1991.
Dad never did buy another Ringo Starr album as far as I can tell. Nor did he ever pick up any Paul McCartney solo or Wings albums. When he came back from 'Nam early in the Summer of 1973, he did have the double 8-track All Things Must Pass by George Harrison and both double 8-tracks for The Beatles 1962-1965 and 1966-1970 collections. A couple of years later, he picked up Lennon's Rock 'N' Roll on 8-track. Full disclosure, I did pick up all the Beatles albums on vinyl several times over and taped several for him including Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Let It Be, Rock 'n' Roll Music and 20 Greatest Hits. When the Beatles CDs were first released in 1987, I again obliged the old man with dubs of the studio albums mentioned above (his favorites) as well as my own recreations of the Red and Blue compilations. When 1 was released in 2000, I sent him a copy and probably would have done the same this year with the release of 1+ though when I asked him, he had no interest in the 2009 CD remasters despite my constant raving about how good they sounded. Dad was a self-described "big Beatles fan" and happened to be one of the 73 million watching the night they appeared on Ed Sullivan. Mom was watching that night, too, about 12 blocks away from Dad. A year later, the two would begin dating and one hot Summer night down by the Brazos River, I was conceived, the product of a real life " '65 Love Affair"

No comments:

Post a Comment