In all the appreciation of the immediate post-Beatles careers of John, Paul and George, it’s too easy to overlook the huge success that Ringo Starr enjoyed in the first few years after the group’s demise. The years between 1971 and 1975 brought him seven US top ten singles, two of them No. 1s and a platinum-selling US No. 2 album. On 15 November 1974, he kept his run of success going with the release of Goodnight Vienna.
Borrowing the title of a 1932 British musical movie (and a phrase that came to mean “I’m out of here” in northern English vernacular), Ringo recorded the album in Los Angeles in the summer of 1974 with producer Richard Perry. He released it a few days after the appearance of its first single ‘Only You,’ another example of Ringo’s fondness for covering the pop tunes of his youth. Following his US chart-topping success with ‘You’re Sixteen,’ the new version of the Buck Ram song made famous by the Platters was another winner.
Ringo’s ‘Only You’ was quite a reunion of Beatles alumni, with John Lennon on acoustic guitar, Billy Preston on electric piano, and Harry Nilsson on backing vocals. It reached No. 6 in the US and No. 28 back in the UK.
‘Goodnight Vienna’ was a star-studded affair all round, with Elton John and Robbie Robertson both playing on Elton and Bernie Taupin’s composition ‘Snookeroo’ (released as a double A-side on the next single, the No. 3 US hit ‘No No Song’). Other guests on the album included Gary Wright, Klaus Voorman, Jim Keltner, Rolling Stones alumni Bobby Keys and Nicky Hopkins and many more. The album was a top ten success in many European countries including France, Denmark and Austria, and reached No. 8 in the States, turning gold. It also made a silver certification in Ringo’s home country.
Goodnight Vienna can be bought here.
Follow the official Ringo Starr Best Of playlist.