On July 7, 2015 Ringo Starr became the first Beatle to reach the milestone of having a 75th birthday. He will not be the last as Paul McCartney will hit 75 on June 18, 2017. Sadly, John Lennon would have reached 75 this coming October 9, 2015.
If he were alive, George Harrison, who was born at home, would be able to celebrate two 75th birthdays – he was reportedly born in his family home on February 24, 1943 at 11:50 PM, but his birth was registered with the City of Liverpool as February 25, 1943, which is his official birthday. In later years George began to embrace February 24th as his birthday.
Being the first Beatle to hit 75 is just one of the many firsts for Ringo. His song “Photograph”, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of November 24, 1973, represents the first time that two ex-Beatles collaborated to release a song. “Photograph” was co-written by Ringo and George Harrison on a luxury yacht in the South of France in 1971. It was an international hit, also reaching number one on the charts in Canada and Australia. With all the countless worldwide number one hits credited to Lennon/McCartney, it was refreshing to Beatles fans at the time that a Starr/Harrison composition topped the charts.
On Ringo’s two previous hit singles, “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Back Off Boogaloo”, it was reported that these were also Starr/Harrison collaborations though Harrison went uncredited; Harrison also produced these two singles. George provided Ringo with help on the melodies of these two songs.
The original recording was done during the recording of George’s Living in the Material World album, but the official recording was done in Los Angeles as part of the wildly successful 1973 album Ringo, which also yielded the number one single “You’re Sixteen” and the top ten hit “Oh My My”.
Recorded in March 1973 at Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, it was produced by Richard Perry who incorporated a Phil Spectator-type “Wall of Sound” with multiple drums and acoustic guitars. Famed pianist Nicky Hopkins handled piano chores, Klaus Voormann played bass, Bobby Keys played saxophone, Jim Keltner was the main drummer, Lon Van Eaton and brother Derreck Van Eaton on percussion, Vini Poncia on acoustic guitar, and George Harrison on acoustic guitar and providing harmony vocals.
On January 26, 2014 at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Beatles received the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and surviving Beatles Ringo and Paul represented the band. Ringo sang “Photograph” at the event.
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