George Harrison Forgot That Ringo Starr Played on Two-Thirds of ‘All Things Must Pass’
George Harrison and Ringo Starr had a special relationship. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney were writing most of the band’s songs, they left George and Ringo in the background. They wrote their own songs together and helped each other. Their collaboration only strengthened after The Beatles.
However, they worked together so much that George forgot that Ringo played on about two-thirds of his solo debut, All Things Must Pass.
George Harrison helped Ringo Starr write songs
In an interview with Rolling Stone radio (per the Daily Mail) in 2020, Ringo admitted that he “didn’t have the talent” to finish the songs on his debut solo album Sentimental Journey. So, he often turned to George for help.
“I used to always go to George to help me end the song,” Ringo explained. “I didn’t have the talent to end a song. With ‘Back Off Boogaloo,’ I went to George and he helped me finish it.”
The tune reached No. 9 on the U.S. charts. By the time The Beatles ended, Ringo and George had already established a successful songwriting partnership of their own. George had helped Ringo write “Octopus’s Garden” off Abbey Road. After “Back Off Boogaloo,” George and Ringo would collaborate many more times.
They worked on the soundtrack for 1968’s Wonderwall. Then, George helped Ringo on Sentimental Journey in 1970, and Ringo provided drums on George’s album, All Things Must Pass.
Later, Ringo helped George with The Concert for Bangladesh, Living in the Material World, Dark Horse, Somewhere in England, Cloud Nine, Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal, and Extra Texture (Read All About It).
Meanwhile, George helped Ringo on Ringo, Ringo’s Rotogravure, Stop and Smell the Roses, and Vertical Man. However, after all they had done together, George completely forgot how much Ringo had helped him on All Things Must Pass.
George forgot how much Ringo helped him on ‘All Things Must Pass’
While George was writing his 1980 memoir, I Me Mine, he forgot how much Ringo had contributed to All Things Must Pass. George and Ringo had worked together so much since they left The Beatles that he couldn’t remember.
Ringo shared the story with the Los Angeles Times when George’s family reissued I Me Mine in 2017.
“I have a story for you,” Ringo said. “When he originally was doing the book, he called me up and said, ‘Ringo, did you play on ‘All Things Must Pass’?’ And I said, ‘I don’t remember.’ People were on a lot of medication in those days.
“So he checked and called me back and said, ‘You were on about two-thirds of it!’ Then he wrote that in the book — that I didn’t remember whether I’d played on that album — but he didn’t say he forgot too!”
Two-thirds might be an over-exaggeration. Ringo contributed drums and tambourine on All Things Must Pass. According to Beatles Bible, he added drums to “Wah-Wah,” “Isn’t It A Pity,” “Beware Of Darkness,” “All Things Must Pass,” and “I Dig Love.” He added tambourine on “My Sweet Lord” and “If Not For You.”
However, the reissue of I Me Mine also showcases a never-before-seen tune that George’s wife, Olivia, found called “Hey Ringo.” When Olivia showed him the song, it moved Ringo to tears.
George always knew what he’d get when he asked his ex-bandmate to appear on his albums
“You couldn’t make an ex-Beatle record without having Ringo, could you?” George said. “It’s like a built-in thing. If I play a song to Ringo, I don’t need to say to him, ‘You know, I want it to go like this.’ I just play it, and he joins in. Maybe you could tell him, ‘Stop there’ or ‘Can you do a little fill there?’
“But other than that, he’s got a great feel. Ringo, he’s like-I sort of don’t practice much on the guitar. I just pick it up and play it when I need to and he’s the same. He never practices, he’s a very naughty boy. But he just gets his sticks and he just does it, and it sounds just like Ringo.”
George and Ringo had each other’s backs. Maybe that’s why George forgot how much Ringo played on All Things Must Pass. It was always a given that Ringo would help out, doing what he does best. It’s also touching to hear that George had faith in the drummer. Fans do too.