Beatles Song Of The Week

This week we’d like to shine the spotlight on Ringo once more.  Unless you have a copy of the “It Don’t Come Easy” single you may not have heard this B-side.  But it showcases many of the things that we all love about Ringo Starr; the honesty, the self-effacing humor and the charm.  Behind the jokey lyrics, though, it offers a very frank account of Ringo’s state of mind and relationship with the other three Beatles in the months after the break-up.  It is called “Early 1970” and it was released in 1971.

Paul is depicted on his farm with his new wife.  But Ringo is uncertain whether or not Paul wants to come and see him when he’s in town -a reference to Paul’s “outsider” status with the other Beatles.   John is presented as a reliable friend (with references to John and Yoko’s bed-ins, Primal Scream therapy and John’s song “Hold On” from the Plastic Ono Band LP in which John says “Cookie!” in a Cookie Monster voice).  And George is the most reliable of the three as he is “always in town.”  But the somewhat sad twist at the end is that Ringo admits he is not enough of a musician on his own and misses his friends.

Despite the lighthearted nature of the song it is the most honest and heartfelt musical statement the any of The Beatles gave about their feelings after the break-up.  John was dismissive and occasionally very bitter (“God” and “How do You Sleep”).  George was eager to get away (“Wah Wah”).  Even Paul wrote a song or two about being glad to be away from the toxic atmosphere (“Man We Was Lonely”).   But Ringo is the only one to actually say he just missed his friends.

Lives on a farm, got plenty of charm, beep, beep.
He’s got no cows but he’s sure got a whole lotta sheep.
And brand new wife and a family,
And when he comes to town,
I wonder if he’ll play with me.

Laying in bed, watching tv, cookie!
With his mama by his side, she’s japanese.
They scream and they cried, now they’re free,
And when he comes to town,
I know he’s gonna play with me.

He’s a long-haired, cross-legged guitar picker, um-um.
With his long-legged lady in the garden picking daisies for his soup.
A forty acre house he doesn’t see,
‘Cause he’s always in town
Playing for you with me.

I play guitar, a – d – e.
I don’t play bass ’cause that’s too hard for me.
I play the piano if it’s in c.
And when I go to town I wanna see all three,
And when I go to town I wanna see all three,
And when I go to town I wanna see all three.

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