Early 1970 by Ringo Starr: Great B-Sides

Ringo Starr had the most to lose from The Beatles‘ breakup. John Lennon had already launched a solo career with ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘Cold Turkey’. George Harrison had a stockpile of songs that would form the basis of All Things Must Pass. McCartney commenced work on his solo album McCartney, on which he played every instrument.

Ringo Starr was well aware of his limitations, explaining them on the fourth verse of his 1970 b-side ‘Early 1970′. “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.” He dabbled in acting and in furniture design, as this Blue Peter clip shows:


After a pair of light-hearted 1970 albums – the pre-rock standards of Sentimental Journey and the country of Beaucoups of Blues – Starr enjoyed success as a solo artist in the early 1970s. With a little help from his former bandmates, Starr enjoyed four consecutive top ten singles in the UK – ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, ‘Back Off Boogaloo’, ‘You’re Sixteen’, and ‘Photograph’.

The b-side of ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ was a modest song in the country vein of The Beatles song ‘Don’t Pass Me By’, notable for expressing Starr’s thoughts about The Beatles breakup. Each of the four verses are dedicated to a former Beatles – McCartney with his sheep, Lennon laying in bed, and Harrison’s wife picking daisies for his soup. The fourth verse explains Starr’s own limitations as a musician, and expresses how he wants to see them soon. Most telling is the line that ends each verse – Starr knows that Lennon will play music with him, but is less sure of McCartney. Harrison plays guitar on ‘Early 1970’, with Klaus Voormann on bass and an unknown pianist.

It didn’t make it onto a studio album, but ‘Early 1970’ was appended to later reissues of the 1973 album Ringo. It was also included on the 1975 Starr compilation Blast From The Past.

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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  1. The A and B side make a fantastic single. Other than Instant Karma I think this was the first really great Beatles solo single. Though I’m not really sure If it came before or after My Sweet Lord. But I like it better anyway. Those first two solo albums he did aren’t really bad at all if you’re in the mood for that kind of music. I think the music on them is nice and he does a lot of good songs.

      • I just meant the A-side song Instant Karma, which also had a crummy Yoko Ono B-side. I forgot about Cold Turkey. I think that might have even come out in 69, But it’s not really a favorite of mine. I found out that the Ringo single was actually recorded before My Sweet Lord but it came out after. It didn’t come out until April 71 and My Sweet Lord came out November 70. But they all had a great year in 71. I’m not really a fan of the Imagine album but the single is great. And of course George had All Things Must Pass and the other fantastic hit What Is Life. And Paul had Ram and his big single. They all had great songs that year.

        • I’ve never actually heard a Yoko song so I don’t want to write her off. I’ve seen people make up Beatles albums from the solo material in 1970 and 1971 – seems fun.

          • That does sound like fun. That would be a good idea for be my next list.
            You must have heard the Double Fantasy album, right? And if you have, that’s all the Yoko Ono you’ll ever need to know. Believe me. And probably all you could ever bear.

          • Never heard it – I have a compilation (Lennon Legend) which has 4 of the 7 Lennon songs, never felt the need to hear the others.

          • Well, consider yourself lucky if you’ve never heard her. That’s all I can say. lmao

  2. When I was 12 or so I would listen to this song and really think there was a chance they might get back together. This was a good single… I like how open and honest he was…I’ve never heard the other Beatles comment on it.
    The best solo Beatles single to me was My Sweet Lord with the B side Isn’t It A Pity (which I like better)… and I liked McCartney’s Juinor’s Farm and Sally G as the B side.

    • Yeah me too. I love Junior’s Farm. It’s one of his best ones but when you mention it to people they don’t even remember it half the time. Maybe because it wasn’t an album track but just a single. But it was a double-sided hit. My sweet Lord is only my second favorite George Harrison cuz I think What is Life is 10 times better. And I think it’s Phil Spector’s all-time greatest record. I always thought his Beatles productions are really better than his girl group stuff that he’s so famous for. And John Lennon’s and George Harrison’s stuff was never as good once Phil Spector wasn’t around anymore, even though they both had several that I like after that. You know what I think is George’s second greatest one? Dark Horse. That’s a great song and a great record. I listen to it all the time.

      • Yes What Is Life is great and yes I like it better than My Sweet Lord…I really like Isn’t It A Pity and I cannot believe John rejected that one for the Beatles.
        I live in Nashville so Sally G means a lot to me and I wish Paul would have done more rockers like Juinor’s Farm.
        I like the song Dark Horse…it is a good album.

      • I like Junior’s Farm and What Is Life a lot – would both make my top ten solo Beatles songs, even though I don’t know that much of their catalogues.

    • Starr seemed like he wanted to be friends with them all. I haven’t heard all the singles – Wings bside Daytime Nightime Suffering is great, but not paired with one of his best asides.

      • Yes I read an interview of him in 1976…Ringo wanted to reunite. I like Daytime Nightime Suffering and The Mess…but Sally G remains my sentimental favorite…because he mixed 70s country with Beatle sensibility.

          • He hasn’t played it live…I expected it both times when I saw him…but I guess he retired it.

        • Isn’t that what Junior’s Farm is? Some country music place in Nashville where they recorded it or something like that? Or some place that they stayed at or something? That’s what I heard.

          • Yes it’s in Lebanon Tennessee and that is around 30-45 minutes from Nashville. He rented it from Curly Putman Jr…he wrote The Green Green Grass of Home.
            Interesting thing about that and Sally G is on the record it says…”recorded in England” but it was recorded here…problem is Paul didn’t have work visa…I just found that out a few weeks ago.
            That farm is pretty cool….I’ve been by it a few times.

        • I never heard of Curly Jr. before but I love Green Green Grass of Home. I’ve only been to Nashville once like just passing through for a couple hours. And I want to go back again because I fell in love with the Parthenon. I thought it was awesome. I just kept walking around it taking pictures for hours.

          • I first saw Parthenon in 4th grade on a field trip. It was really special that first time. I live around 35-40 minutes north of Nashville. I always describe Nashville as a large small town. It has that feel about it.

          • Yes, Nashville looks very nice from what I saw of it. I did see the Grand Ole Opry House but they were doing some kind of construction and you couldn’t get too close to it. And the Parthenon just blew my mind. It’s just the size of it. And to think that 2,000 years ago they built the one at the Acropolis without any modern construction equipment. It’s amazing to me. I like anything historic really. Historical sites, historic buildings, historic anything, but especially buildings. I hope I get to see the real Parthenon some day in Greece. That’s my dream to go there, and also Rome.

          • Yeah, its an exact replica of the real Parthenon. The exact same measurements . and dimensions and size. Its humongous. I think it was built in the 1800s for Nashville’s Centennial year.

    • Yeah, I think Early 1970 is good musically, but it’s really exceptional for what Ringo is conveying.

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Graham Fyfe has been writing this website since his late teens. Now in his forties, he's been obsessively listening to albums for years. He works as a web editor and plays the piano.

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