Ringo Starr – Sentimental Journey (1970)

FrontCover1Sir Richard Starkey(born 7 July 1940), known professionally as Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who achieved international fame as the drummer for the Beatles. Starr occasionally sang lead vocals with the group, usually for one song on each album, including “Yellow Submarine” and “With a Little Help from My Friends”. He also wrote and sang the Beatles songs “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden”, and is credited as a co-writer of four others.

Starr was afflicted by life-threatening illnesses during childhood, with periods of prolonged hospitalisation. He briefly held a position with British Rail before securing an apprenticeship as a machinist at a Liverpool school equipment manufacturer. Soon afterwards, Starr became interested in the UK skiffle craze and developed a fervent admiration for the genre. In 1957, he co-founded his first band, the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, which earned several prestigious local bookings before the fad succumbed to American rock and roll around early 1958. When the Beatles formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. After achieving moderate success in the UK and Hamburg, he quit the Hurricanes when he was asked to join the Beatles in August 1962, replacing Pete Best.

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In addition to the Beatles’ films, Starr has acted in numerous others. After the band’s break-up in 1970, he released several successful singles including the US top-ten hit “It Don’t Come Easy”, and number ones “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen”. His most successful UK single was “Back Off Boogaloo”, which peaked at number two. He achieved commercial and critical success with his 1973 album Ringo, which was a top-ten release in both the UK and the US. Starr has featured in numerous documentaries, hosted television shows, narrated the first two series of the children’s television program Thomas & Friends and portrayed “Mr. Conductor” during the first season of the PBS children’s television series Shining Time Station. Since 1989, he has toured with thirteen variations of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.

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Starr’s playing style, which emphasised feel over technical virtuosity, influenced many drummers to reconsider their playing from a compositional perspective. He also influenced various modern drumming techniques, such as the matched grip, tuning the drums lower, and using muffling devices on tonal rings. In his opinion, his finest recorded performance was on the Beatles’ “Rain”. In 1999, he was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. In 2011, Rolling Stone readers named him the fifth-greatest drummer of all time. He was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a Beatle in 1988 and as a solo artist in 2015, and appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2018 New Year Honours for services to music. In 2020, he was cited as the wealthiest drummer in the world, with a net worth of $350 million.

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Sentimental Journey is the debut solo album by English rock musician Ringo Starr. It was released by Apple Records in March 1970 as the Beatles were breaking up. The album is a collection of pre-rock ‘n’ roll standards that Starr recalled from his childhood in Liverpool. As a departure from the experimental quality that had characterised solo LPs by George Harrison and John Lennon since 1968, it was the first studio album by an individual Beatle to embrace a popular music form.

Starr began recording Sentimental Journey in London in October 1969, in response to Lennon’s private announcement that he was leaving the Beatles. He recruited George Martin to produce the sessions and used different musical arrangers for each song.

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Starr made a promotional film for the song “Sentimental Journey”, in which he performed with an orchestra and dancers at the Talk of the Town nightclub. The cover of the album shows Starr in front of a pub in the Dingle area of Liverpool, where he grew up.

The album’s impact was compromised by Paul McCartney’s refusal to delay the release of his solo debut, McCartney, and by McCartney then initiating the group’s break-up. Despite receiving mixed reviews from music critics and confusing Beatles fans through its choice of music, Sentimental Journey charted inside the top ten in the United Kingdom and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Top LPs chart in the United States. The album was a forerunner to standards collections by artists such as Harry Nilsson and Linda Ronstadt, and to the vogue from the late 1990s onwards for rock artists such as Bryan Ferry, Rod Stewart and Boz Scaggs to embrace big band music.

The Embrass Pub, Liverpool:
Embress Pub Livrpool

Despite his limited songwriting experience, Ringo Starr was encouraged to make a solo album by his Beatles bandmates. His mother Elsie Starkey and stepfather Harry Graves also supported the idea when Starr visited them at their Liverpool home. His mother said that Starr had a good singing voice. He first considered making a country music album, but then decided to record a collection of old standards that would reflect his mother’s favourite songs. The tapes from the Beatles’ January 1969 Get Back film project captured Starr expressing a wish to make an album of standards.

Starr committed to the project in order to keep active following John Lennon’s unpublicised decision in September 1969 to leave the Beatles, signalling that the group were effectively no more. Starr described his mindset at the time: “I sat in the garden for a while wondering what the hell to do with my life … It was quite a dramatic period for me – or traumatic, actually.” He asked Beatles producer George Martin to produce the album. Starr compiled a list of the songs he wished to record, and Martin and Beatles aide Neil Aspinall contacted the musical arrangers.

Frontcover from Argentinia:
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The material Starr selected included works from the big band era and songs well known through recordings by Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Fats Waller and Matt Munro. Starr explained their appeal in a 1990 interview: “I was brought up with all those songs, you know, my family used to sing those songs, my mother and my dad, my aunties and uncles. They were the first musical influences on me.” He decided to have each song arranged by a different musician – ranging from his London associates Martin, Paul McCartney, Klaus Voormann and Maurice Gibb, to American arrangers and producers such as Richard Perry, Quincy Jones and Elmer Bernstein. He thought the variety would add an element of interest to the project. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his first solo album:

Cut as the Beatles were disintegrating and released shortly before the group’s final album, Let It Be, Ringo Starr’s debut solo album was a collection of pre-rock standards dating from the 1920s to the ’50s, sung over orchestral tracks arranged by everyone from fellow Beatle Paul McCartney and Bee Gee Maurice Gibb to jazz veterans Quincy Jones and Oliver Nelson. Starr brought a good-natured, nearly humorous tone to his vocals, perhaps because he wasn’t trying to compete with the classic pop stylists most identified with these songs, but only to express his nostalgic affection for the material. Coming more than a decade before the fad for standards albums by rock-era pop stars like Linda Ronstadt, the album was taken not as a career move, but as a highly eccentric and expensive novelty of a kind only Beatles could afford to indulge. In retrospect, it remains harmlessly charming, if unexceptional. (Originally released in the U.K. on March 27, 1970, as Parlophone 7101 and in the U.S. on April 24, 1970, as Apple 3365, Sentimental Journey was reissued in the U.S. on August 29, 1995, as Captiol 98615.) (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Ringo Starr (vocals, drums)
+
unknown Big Band

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Tracklist:
01. Sentimental Journey (Brown/Green/Homer) 3.28
02. Night and Day (Porter) 2.27
03. Whispering Grass (D.Fisher/F.Fisher) 2.39
04. Bye Bye Blackbird (Dixon/Henderson) 2.13
05. I’m A Fool To Care (Daffan) 2.40
06. Stardust (Carmichael/Parish) 3.26
07. Blue Turning Grey Over You (Razaf/Waller) 3.20
08. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (Fain/Webster) 3.07
09. Dream (André/Mercer/Schwandt) 2.43
10. You Always Hurt The One You Love (D.Fisher/Roberts) 2.20
11. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? (Wiseman) 2.45
12. Let The Rest Of The World Go By (Ball/Brennan) 2.55

01: Arranged by Richard Perry. Originally recorded by Les Brown Band in 1945, with Doris Day on vocals, and became her first number one in America.
02: Arranged by Chico O’Farrill. Originally from the 1932 musical, “The Gay Divorcee” and sung by Fred Astaire and Claire Luce.
03: Arranged by Ron Goodwin.Originally recorded by the Ink Spots in 1940.
04: Arranged by Maurice Gibb. Written in 1927 for vaudeville star George Price.
05: Arranged by Klaus Voorman. Written in 1948, became a hit in 1954 for Les Paul and Mary Ford.
06: Arranged by Paul McCartney. Hoagy Carmichael wrote the tune in 1927, with the words added in 1929. Ringo was probably familiar with the 1957 hit version by Billy Ward and the Dominoes.
07: Arranged by Oliver Nelson.Originally recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1930.
08: Arranged by Quincy Jones. An Oscar winning song from 1955, and a chart hit for the Four Aces.
09: Arranged by George Martin. Written in 1945, a hit for the Pied Pipers.
10: Arranged by Johnny Dankworth. A hit in 1944 for the Mills Brothers.
11: Arranged by Elmer Bernstein. Originally recorded in 1946 by Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage.
12: Arranged by Les Reed. The oldest song on this release, dating from 1919, and originally by George J. Trinkaus and his band. But Ringo and his family would probably have been more familiar with the 1944 Dick Haymes version.

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I was lost for a while. That’s well-documented … And I just thought of all those songs that I was brought up with, all the parties we’d had in Liverpool at our house and all the neighbours’ houses … So I called George Martin and said, “Why don’t we take a sentimental journey? (Ringo Starr, 2001)

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