The Beatles: Ringo Needs Some Money
|The Beatles: Ringo Needs Some Money
|Studio album by The Beatles
|10 December 1966
|6–9 November 1966
|Rock, pop, psychedelic rock
|The Beatles discography
|Ringo Needs Some Money
|Sgt. Lt. Pepper's Only Lonely Hearts Club Bandana
“Ar ay, I just need the cash. C'mon, I could sure use a little help from me friends... anybody?”
“We'll help you Ringo!!! C'mon! we can form a band together!!”
The Beatles: Ringo Needs Some Money (released in the United States under the title A Collection of Beatles Moldies) was a Beatles relief album created with the sole intention of helping destitute bandmate Ringo Starr recover from his (self-imposed) debilitating economic recession. Unbeknownst to most, it was also, tragically, the final album recorded by Paul McCartney before his sudden death, at the age of 24, in a car accident.
This account is taken from Ringo's autobiography, A Born Lever-puller:
In the mid-1960s, Ringo Starr was broke. Years of frivolous spending had come to its logical conclusion, as Ringo spent all his remaining money on a giant anthropomorphic train set. Even Pete Best had more money than Ringo (but, admittedly, no train set). Then, when things looked their darkest, in came a rescue for Ringo's money problems. The rest of the Beatles agreed to do another band album with Ringo provided he would leave their front yards.
Most of the songs on this album are previously unrecorded early Beatles songs, but some songs like McCartney's "I'll Never Go to Japan Again" and Harrison's "My Rich Clapton" were written just for this album. Even John Lennon, then blindly in love with Yoko Ono, contributed to the album with "The Ballad of Richard Starkey". This song was written during one fateful week when John Lennon felt like writing songs about people and calling them ballads. Starr was reported as wanting to put "The Ballad of Paul McCartney" on the album, but McCartney refused since most of the song's lyrical content focused on calling him a pussy.
Despite the hardship, the band seemed to be knitting itself back together again from the calamity that was Revolver. Unfortunately, cruel fate would intervene.
On 9 November, the night of the Beatles' official wrap-up on recording, Starr attempted to again convince McCartney to sing the mocking song written for him by John. Paul, angered by this, rushed out of the studio in a huff and got into his Austin-Powers. Ringo, having teetered at the edge all those years, finally snapped and pulled a gun on McCartney. The startled Beatle attempted to get away, but Ringo was hell-bent. He fired off two rounds at Paul, sending the Beatle's car sidewinding into a utility pole. The utility pole, obviously not enjoying being smashed into, crumpled onto the vehicle.
McCartney, now disoriented and suffering from a skull fracture and a couple of broken ribs, managed to pull himself out of the car, but did not see the banana lorry as it ran him down, fatally wounding him. Ringo, now totally incensed that he didn't get a shot in at Paul, aimed at the desperately crawling Beatle, but John tackled him as he fired. The shot, narrowly missing McCartney, instead hit a gas main, blowing the beaten Beatle, along with his car and the banana lorry, to Kingdom Come.
The other Beatles, standing in shock as noxious fumes consumed the body of their bandmate, knew that something had to be done. Quietly calling their manager, Brian Epstein, they summoned him to the studio and told him what had happened. Epstein, knowing the press would have a field day with this, decided to dump McCartney's ashes in a cornfield south of Leeds. This being accomplished, the band decided to innocuously find a suitable replacement for the now-late Paul.
A look-a-like contest was held to find a new McCartney. The winner assumed the life and place of the original Paul; in the public eye, in the band, in his family. Who this man was before remains unknown to this day, though there are several theories, each unlikelier than the next. The label, using devious Communist tricks, destroyed all records of the man's original identity, removing him from photos and killing anyone who might be able to shed light on his identity. There are four things that are known about this man:
- He was a great misanthrope. This made letting the record label kill everyone who knew him a lot easier.
- He was flagrantly anti-Communist, which brought him immediately into conflict with Lennon.
- Curiously, he had both Paul's voice and his talent, which has led to theories about the existence of an evil twin.
- He uses Paul's identity to this very day; writing ever shittier songs, harassing carnivores and shilling for investment firms singing about how it was Yesterday.
Michael Jackson of The Jackson 5 had initially auditioned to become the new McCartney. Because the '60s were so prejudiced against blacks, Jackson was immediately rejected and was refused to be allowed to ride Tragical History Tour bus (though he would later build a theme park in his backyard as an act of revenge). A furious Jackson immediately went off to get a racial-change operation. The new, white Jackson auditioned for the role again and had been accepted as the new McCartney by the other Beatles, until he later got a phone call from a jealous Ringo who said that he could "shove his nose up his arse", because he envied Jackson's sexy new disaster of a nose believing it looked better than his. Jackson's operation would inspire the Beatles' title for their 1968 album, The White Album; the song "Whiter Skelter" was dedicated to Jackson.
The matter settled, the reconfigured band decided to focus their energy on finishing the album, Paul's final legacy. Consequently, they also decided to halt work on two of their other projects: the partial concept album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (perhaps based on the new Beatle's former life) and the failed joint TV pilot-feature album Tragical Mystery Tour. After being finished and properly mixed, Ringo Needs Some Money finally hit the shelves.
Reception and controversy
Ringo Needs Some Money was initially a failure, overwhelmingly the worst in the whole Beatles history. It failed to chart in the US or Great Britain. Experts weren't expecting it to chart in Japan, due to McCartney's song "I'll Never Go to Japan Again". Because of this, some clever producer dropped that track from the Japanese release. Then, after an intense month of much hyping and advertisement, the album failed to crack the Japanese Top 200. In fact the only country that the album charted in the first month of its release was Poland.
Some critics praised The Beatles for their extravagant experimenting with electric equipment in Ringo Needs Some Money. Paul McCartney and George Harrison collaborated for the entirely silent two-second song "Insert Title Song Here". For "Gotta Gotta Gotta Gotta Gotta", John took a bass guitar and struck the A-minor 7-chord repeatedly while repeating the word "gotta" for six minutes. In reworking the track, producer George Martin layered a sixty-person choir, the West Point marching band, and the entire staff at Abbey Road onto the track playing and singing along with Lennon, creating a rather grandiose effect. As such, film critic Roger Ebert declared the song to be his favorite track on the album. Another song that really stood out was "LSD", which was a funk/pop rough mix of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds". People complained initially because they claimed that all four of the Beatles could be heard mumbling along incoherently under guest singer Billy Preston's lead vocals, probably due to having taken LSD just as the song began to be recorded. However, a closer study of the song confirmed that it was actually Yoko Ono singing.
The government of the United States, respecting the people's freedom of expression and freedom and speech, banned John Lennon's song "Ringo's Being Spied On" from being played on radio or television stations. This only made more people want to listen to it, and as a result, Ringo Needs Some Money immediately shot to number 1 and stayed there for more than twelve weeks until it was knocked off by the latest Rutles album, All You Need Is Cash.
Paul wrote a song entitled "Nixon" to sarcastically thank the government for being so paranoid after all. Unfortunately for Ringo, as "Ringo's Being Spied On" was credited to Lennon, most of the money from the numerous singles went to John and his girlfriend Yoko Ono, who immediately blew all the money on an all-black painting with a little white stripe in the lower left. Yoko claimed that it expressed being alone, but at the same time, feeling surrounded. She then felt rather silly after it was revealed that the white stripe turned out to be old stale gum.
Ringo used his part of the money to buy himself a vacation home in Monte Carlo and spent an entire summer with his family swimming, relaxing by the beach, and frolicking merrily in their yellow submarine. The U.S. government received reports of his whereabouts and commandeered his house, claiming that it was a storage site for Soviet nuclear weapons. Ringo, now dispossessed, was imprisoned for a month as many American authorities thought he was linked to Leonid Brezhnev. The house was later found to be nothing but an old apartment building; Ringo and his family were flown back to England, and were forced to take up residence at a motel.
The 2009 remastered edition of Ringo Needs Some Money included a second CD, which contains a tremendously long medley of unreleased songs from the recording sessions of the original album.